Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Off we go again…

The wind was a bit lighter today, the forecast was a bit more optimistic and I was feeling a little less fragile. So we set off, on the last bit of the Oxford Canal to the River Thames.

Supper guests last evening
Away from Thrupp
Blogger Spotting.
And the unmistakable Bones.
We chose to run all the way down past Oxford to have a look, rather than taking the shortcut through Dukes Cut.

Passing the entrance to Dukes.
As it was, the “Dreaming Spires” aren’t visible from the canal, but there are some impressive new apartments along the waterway….
Castle Mill Boatyard was much in the news last year. BW didn’t renew the lease, and evicted moorers there so the land could be redeveloped. Then planning permission was declined, so the site stands vacant.

Castle Mill Boatyard, Jericho. St Barnabas' Church behind.
That’s probably the background to this strident protest.
The canal runs on another ½ mile or so to it’s terminus (which used to be a basin till it was filled in for a car park), but we took a right fork into Isis Lock.

Isis Lock

I told Mags to make the most of it… we’ll not be seeing another narrow lock till late autumn.

Bye, Bye BW canals…..
Hello River Thames
Funny, we thought it’d be bigger…

Arr, that’s more like it.
A couple of miles upstream (note upstream not uphill!) we arrived at Godstow Lock and encountered the first of our Thames Lock-keepers. Seemed friendly enough, but insisted on relieving us of £106 for a 15 day visitor permit!

Godstow Lock. The natives seem friendly…
Leaving Godstow, a short way along is Kings Lock, then we passed the other end of Dukes Cut.

Thames end of Dukes Cut
If we’d used this we’d have saved 4 locks and 6 miles. But missed out on seeing the back gardens of Oxford.
And we’d also probably have stayed dry. The clouds had been building steadily, driven by the brisk wind, and the first of a couple of particularly heavy showers hit us soon after Kings.

We tried unsuccessfully to pull in on the bankside, so pushed on, mooring just below Eynsham Lock.

Moored at Eynsham
It’s been a long day, the wind making steering hard work at times, but it’s good to be on the river. Today’s 5 miles have been pretty, and it’s supposed to get better the further up we go. Looking forward to it.

Locks 6, miles 12

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