A rather better day today. The wind has dropped to a shadow of it’s former self, and we’ve not had a drop of rain. In fact we’ve had a fair amount of sunshine. It’s a beautiful evening as I write this, the side hatch is open and the local swan has just given me his opinion of the stale bread I put out for him….
No need to be rude…
After a night listening to the roar of the weir below Eynsham Lock (it didn’t get any louder so the water hasn’t come up) we were away at 10:00 today.
Oxford Cruisers. Now I know where all those Anglo-Welsh hire boats have come from.
Although it’s quiet according to the lockies, there were a few boats going up in front of us. The river winds tortuously in places, but it all adds to the interest and the ache in the shoulders. But at least we’re not having to push gates and wind paddles. That is the responsibility of the lock keepers, but they do appreciate a hand occasionally.
The locks themselves are a delight, well looked after gardens, and the structures are well maintained. A pity the lock keepers don’t wear the traditional blazer and peaked cap any more.
Approaching Northmoor Lock
There’s lots of wildlife around, waterfowl abounding.
Great Crested Grebe. Now you see me…..
Now you don’t!
We pulled over for lunch, and for Meg to stretch her legs. (euphemism for a pee.) Normally she’s off and on again at every lock we get to, but regulations are a bit stricter here on the river.
Man to dog chat
As well as 2 riverside pubs, The Rose Revived and The Maybush, there’s a canoe centre at Newbridge. We picked up a party of schoolkids, who decided that racing a narrowboat was good fun.
A prod with the boathook discouraged them from getting too close. Only joking – or am I…?
After Shifford Lock we intended to pull over for the night. There were a couple of likely spots on the left bank, but these proved too shallow. And there’s a nature reserve on the opposite side, with a threatening no mooring policy!
A bit over the top…
So we finished up covering the very bendy 4 miles to Rushey Lock, and pulled in on the bank just above the lock. A lovely, quiet spot, although it’s a bit shallow for the stern (the deepest bit). Just around the corner is the Birks' beautiful narrowboat Nobby. Ian used to write for Canal Boat Magazine, but I've not seen anything under his byline for a bit.
Every so often a Hercules goes over. Only 4 miles to the north west is RAF Brize Norton, the main jumping off point for our forces in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, sadly, the return destination for those that we lose in these pointless conflicts.
I’ve had my PDA out on the back today, with the GPS on. The only map we’ve got of the river is rather small scale and 30 years old, and it’s not very good for telling you where you are. With the GPS it’s a doddle. And it’s also told me that 1000 rpm going upstream gives us 4.6 mph over the ground. As this section is limited to 5 mph, we’ll have to ease back a bit going downstream. 1000 revs is comfortable, fairly quiet and the engine and gearbox are unstressed. It’s giving the battery bank a good charge, as well!
Locks 5, miles 14½