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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Abingdon to Thrupp.

Thursday 26th June.

Abingdon to Oxford. 8.1 miles and 3 locks.

Thankfully the windy weather of yesterday had somewhat calmed down for us to get underway. We said goodbye to Abingdon and headed under Abingdon Bridge, towards Abingdon Lock with its weir, we joined a hire boat in the lock and followed them to Oxford. There are some lovely views above the lock with wide open spaces. Once under Nuneham Railway Bridge the river passes the entrance to Swift Ditch, it was once the main navigation channel, where there once was one of the earliest pound locks on the Thames, it was built in 1620.
The river is edged by woods of ancient trees. Some have probably stood for hundreds of years. We then saw Nuneham House and Park. The house itself is an 18th-C Palladian mansion by Leadbetter; it looked absolutely splendid surrounded by beautiful grounds and woods.We continued to follow the hire boat and a cruiser joined us to Sandford Lock, which is very pretty. The Lock gardens are well tended by the keeper.It is really picturesque, with the Kings Arms pub alongside the lock if you need a drink LOL. But remember NO drinking and driving.We then had a long run again to Iffley Lock, which once again is a pretty lock. We left the lock behind the hire boat heading for Oxford.The breeze was picking up a bit once again, so although we had thought of going to Thrupp we changed our plans and decided to stop in Oxford instead. We cruised passed the many boat houses belonging to the colleges.Christ Church Meadow lies along the river and is always busy with tourists... We managed to find a mooring before Folly Bridge, where the Salter trip boats operate from, you can also hire punts and rowing boats to cruise the river if you wish, there seemed to be a few takers out on the river in the sunshine. The trip boats were also doing a good business. Having moored up we had lunch and then took a walked into Oxford for a bit of retail therapy. What we found was an Antiques and Crafts market on, so always looking for a bargain we took a stroll around the market. It has to be said that a lot of it was old tat, but we did find a small ribbon dish for 50p, with A Present from Teignmouth on it, now that was a bargain.

Friday 27th June.

Oxford to Thrupp. 9.5 miles, 7 locks and 2 lift bridges
.8.45am we headed off on a sunny morning with a slight breeze. We past the Salter’s boats and The Head of the River Pub before going under Folly Bridge, making for Osney Lock.Osney Lock is a pretty lock with lovely well tended gardens. The Lock Keeper was attached to his mobile phone whilst working the lock. Later we found out that the decision to sell or rent off Lock Cottages has been put on hold for now, which is wonderful news, so maybe he was getting the good news.
Before Osney Bridge there is a lovely stretch or water with terraced houses facing the river, giving it a traditional feel.
We then entered an area of open countryside known as Port Meadow, it is used as a flood plain for Oxford, and today it was being used for cattle and horses.We trundled Hadar to Godstow Lock, where you can see the remains of Godstow Abbey, the lock is really pretty as well, with once again pretty gardens.
The river then winds towards Kings Lock, which is the last Thames Lock before we head onto the Oxford Canal.We waved goodbye to the last of the manned locks and now the hard work would begin again. I have really enjoyed my first time on the Thames and cannot wait to do it again (hint, hint Keith). I love the fact that it is so wide and varied with its scenery and the things that are going on. I want to go back and see each place in more detail, so we will do it again and spend a few months cruising.But for now it was onward along Dukes Cut and the weir stream.It was back to the narrow stretches of water and our first lift bridge before Kidlington Green Lock, where we joined a two boat que to go up the lock. Back on the canal and back to the ques ha ha ha. Happy days.
Sadly the weather took a turn for the worst and the rain began to fall, so my camera needed to go inside. We passed by Kidlington and onto wards Thrupp, but first we had to get through Roundham Lock. Having had problems with the lock back in March with the canal being silted up below the lock, this time we were taking no chances. Keith held Hadar down by the railways bridge whilst the boats in front went up through the lock and other boats came down. When it was our turn to use the lock, Keith took a run through the Roundham Bridge Hole hoping not to get stuck this time, thankfully he made it ok and entered the lock. Having worked the paddles and opened the gate, Hadar exited the lock and we headed into Thrupp hoping to find a mooring at The Jolly Boatman pub, but there was no room at the Inn, so we carried on under Aubreys Lift Bridge and stopped at the BW Sanitary Station to take on water etc. We set off with the view of cruising for a few more hours but found a space big enough for Hadar on a 14 day mooring below Shipton Bridge at Shipton-on-Cherwell, so we will be staying here for a few days, as Keith’s sister is going to pay us a visit. The rain stopped and the sun did its best to poke its head out, but it was never going to be wonderful. We got to put our anchor away in the front locker as it is no longer needed and enjoyed a peaceful evening onboard, before heading to bed. We will see you when we gewt underway again, so enjoy your weekend.

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