Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Glimmer of hope…..

We’re now back down to “Stream Decreasing” on the reach we’re on and the following one below Pinkhill Lock. (What we know as pounds on the canals are called reaches on the river). Another dryish day should see the reach from Eynsham to Kings Lock in the same condition, and that will be our signal to toddle off. Maybe tomorrow then….

It’s not a bad spot here for walking, upstream it’s the Thames Path along the river back to Northmoor, but the path diverts around the extensive caravan parks going downstream, and doesn’t rejoin the river till Pinkhill Lock.

Derelict wind-pump.SAM_1574 Wind pump

The nearest shop is around 2½ miles away at Appleton, but it wasn’t too bad on Saturday morning so Meg and I had a walk over for bread and a paper.

Northmoor Lock is quite shallow, only 4 feet at normal water levels, but this morning there was barely a foot difference between the top and the bottom.

Northmoor Lock in high waterSAM_1556 Northmoor Lock The bottom gates are open for anyone daft enough to be heading upstream. The landing is well under water so there’s no-where for crews to disembark.
Although the lock-keepers will offer advice and urge boaters not to move in these conditions, they cannot enforce a closure as there is a statutory right of navigation on the river. But it would be wise to listen closely to anything they say….

There was a lot of water heading downstream….SAM_1558 Northmoor Lock
…. but thankfully it wasn’t as high as it’s been.SAM_1557 Northmoor Lock

Many of the weirs alongside the locks have been modernised with automatic radial gates to control the flow. But the march of progress has not yet reached Northmoor, it still has traditional rymers and paddles. To adjust the river flow wooden posts are dropped in against the weir sill, and paddles then inserted against them to hold back the water. This is done by hand. The Environment Agency is currently is the process of replacing all 5 remaining traditional weirs with radial gates. Rushey Lock weir is being rebuilt at the moment.

Across Northmoor Weir, only a few paddles and rymers in use.SAM_1559 Northmoor Lock

Paddles waiting to go back in when the water drops a bit.SAM_1560 Northmoor Lock

There’s a campsite on the south side of the river, with these chalet-style camping huts to let.

LogpodsSAM_1567 Logpods
SAM_1566 Logpods

Sleeping around four people, these huts save you taking the tent on your "camping" holiday, and save having to get the thing dry again when you get home! Logpods!

The campsite was busy on our way upstream but at the moment it’s completely empty.

There’s a metalled single-track lane that leads from the lock to the village of Appleton.

Heading towards the villageSAM_1565 Lane to the village

Appleton is a delightful village with thatched cottages and a 12th C church. It seems to be thriving, judging by the website. I should have spent more time exploring, but the weather was turning “inclement”.
The Village Store was due to close in 2000 much to the dismay of the residents. So they did something about it and the successful Community Shop is the result. Staffed by volunteers it provides a vital service to the village and surrounding district.

Appleton Community ShopSAM_1562 Appleton Stores and PO

The church is dedicated to St. Laurence.SAM_1563 St. Laurence, Appleton
I guess the old guy must have had a bike; there are several St.Laurences or St. Lawrences in this area of Oxfordshire.

In fact St. Lawrence of Rome was martyred in AD258 by the Roman Emperor Valarian. He was one of the Deacons of ancient Rome under Pope St. Sixtus II, who was put to death just 3 days earlier. Lawrence’s death was reputedly horrific, roasted slowly to death on a griddle.

Walking back across the water meadows alongside the river.SAM_1570 Water Meadows
“C’mon, Dad, it’s breakfast time!”

George and Carol had Sunday lunch at The Ferryman, and were happy with the meal, but we’ve not been in.
We got an email from a local chap, Bernie, who offered us a lift to the shops if we were stuck here and in need of supplies. What a fine gesture! I replied that we were OK for now, but if they fancied coming over for a brew they would be very welcome. They’re in the process of buying a narrowboat, and are in “information absorbing mode” at the moment, so jumped at the chance of a chat.
The Rockers joined us and we had a very pleasant hour or so. Good luck with the purchase, Bernie and Val. We’ll see you on the way back up the Oxford, all being well.

It’s a fine but breezy day today after a drop of rain last night. Looking good…

Locks 0, miles 0. But a fair bit of walking.

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