Thursday, 18 June 2009

Nicked Up The Junction

Hawkesbury Junction, also known as Sutton Stop is one of those iconic canal destinations.

Interestingly, it is shaped like the letter "H" (for Hawkesbury) if viewed by a circling seagull.

It has a tight turn through the centre of the "H" and if you screw it up, the drinkers sitting outside the "Greyhound" Pub, give you scores out of ten. I can just imagine them all putting their beers down in perfect unison and each raising a score card with both hands, above their heads, like "Come Dancing".

Sutton Stop is named after the original lock keeper (A certain Mr.Stop).

All joking aside, it forms the junction of the Oxford Canal and the Coventry Canal.

The stop lock shown in the photo above separates the water levels of the two original canal companies, with the Oxford being a few inches higher.

The disused engine house housed the "Earl of Mercia" steam engine that pumped water from a deep well, into the canal, from 1837 until 1913.

This worked opposite a Newcomen steam engine called "Lady Godiva".

This is how the Earl of Mercia and Lady Godiva came to be in the engine shed together (I can feel a Trivial Pursuit question coming on for the next pub quiz).

The best thing about Sutton Stop is that it has it's own police station - possibly the smallest on the canals.

I even saw the "bobby" keeping an eye on the drinkers with their scorecards, keeping an eye on the Valley Cruises boat, Colne Valley, attempting to negotiate the "H" bend.

We moored slightly out of the centre, as we don't mind stretching our legs and it can get a bit boisterous up the junction.

A boater was bemoaning the rise in crime at Hawkesbury the other day, as some bits had been nicked off their moored roof.

If they catch them, maybe they will make them sit on the blue naughty chair in the photo.

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