Monday, July 02, 2012

Winding our way westward.

It was raining when we got up this morning, and still raining when we pulled pins and set off. If we don’t cruise in the rain this week, we won’t be cruising at all!

Leaving our mooring near New BridgeSAM_1206 Near Newbridge

A couple of miles upstream we came to Shifford Lock, at 7’4” the deepest this side of Oxford. Most of them are around 4’, a comfortable height to get on and off the boat.
The Thames is a lowland river, from the head of navigation to the tidal lock at Teddington it only falls 230 feet over 125 miles.

Shifford LockSAM_1211  Shifford Lock
We were a bit worried to see the walkway at the lower landing under 6” of water, but were relieved to see a lock-keeper in attendance. At least I didn’t have to get my feet wet.
He told us that the landing is commonly awash, in fact it’s barely been above water in the last 2 months.

Splendid Shifford Lock House, date stone 1897SAM_1212 Shifford Lock 
From here to the next lock, Rushey, the river winds extravagantly through water meadows and woodland. With a bit of water coming down, care was needed on the sharp, blind bends.

Bendy bits below ShiffordSAM_1218 Windy Bits
The concrete structure is a WWII pillbox, part of the defences using the river as a natural stop-line in the event of a German invasion.

Crossings are few and far between at this end of the river, we’d passed under a small footbridge, recently built to carry the Thames Path, the next was Tadpole Bridge.

Tadpole Bridge, in mellow Cotswold stone.SAM_1221 Tadpole Br This is a relatively recent structure, built in the late 18c. This makes it an amazing 400 years newer than New Bridge a few miles downstream.

Rushey Lock is another mile upstream, and it was just above the lock that we called it quits for the day.

Rushey LockSAM_1222 Rushey Lock

Moored above the lockSAM_1225 Moored above Rushey

We took the pooches for a walk after tea and Mags’ ginger cake, following a footpath north of the lock. It turned into a bit of an expedition ….

Fallen tree to negotiate across the end of a short bridgeSAM_1227 Expedition

Machetes required.SAM_1226 Expedition

I don’t think George is doing Pope impressions, but you never know…

Molly just didn’t want to give up that stick!SAM_1229 Expedition
SAM_1231 Expedition

It’s been a grey, drizzly sort of day, and it looks like we’re in for more of the same tomorrow. Roll on summer. Oh, I forgot. This IS summer!

Locks 2, miles 6


Jill and Graham said...

Tadpole bridge is where my 1st boat blew up and sank, but some great memories, we had moorings downstream of the bridge and lived 2miles away in the village of Bampton.

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Both
That's a story I've GOT to hear when we meet next!

MortimerBones said...

That's a story I want to hear too!