Sunday, July 27, 2014

It’s all about the timing…

Knowing that it was bound to get busy at Abingdon Lock sooner rather than later, we were on the water point at 08:45, and among the first group of boats down when the lockie came on duty at 9.

Leaving Abingdon LockIMG_0629
It was starting to get busy below the lock…

Through Abingdon



The two boats with whom we’d shared the lock pulled in for shopping, so we were on our own as we left the town behind and headed out onto Culham Reach.

The Wilts and Berks Canal joined the river at the south end of the town, and was a 52 mile canal that linked the Thames with the Kennet and Avon at Semington, near Melksham. Built in 1810 and abandoned in 1914, much of the line has been lost, filled in and built upon, though a lot of the rural stretches still survive.

River Ock under the iron bridge.
Wharves ran along the river from here to the canal junction.

Site of the canal junctionIMG_0636

There will be a second, replacing the earlier, now unusable, junction, if the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust achieves it’s aim of restoring the link. The Jubilee Junction is near the end of Culham Reach, and at the moment just goes a couple of hundred yards to a winding hole. Named White Horse Cut, it is planned to intersect the original line of the canal to the west of Abingdon.

Culham ReachIMG_0638

Culham Cut avoids a river loop to Sutton Courtenay, and has Culham Lock at it’s eastern end.

Culham Lock


Then there’s a long easterly reach before a northern loop takes the river past Clifton Hampden and Burcot. There’s a weir that takes the river around past Long Wittenham, Clifton Cut takes the navigable channel through Clifton Lock and to Clifton Hampden Bridge.

Start of Clifton CutIMG_0643

Clifton Lock was on DIY, boater operation, but was easy because a party of Scandinavians were waiting below with their hire boat so they did all the button pushing for me.

Leaving Clifton Lock

Clifton HampdenIMG_0647

We’re definitely in the “stockbroker belt” now. Big houses, boathouses, summerhouses and long, well manicured lawns line the river banks.IMG_0650


Geese operate apartheid, you know. Large flocks of Greylag Geese keep clear of their transatlantic cousins…


The early start paid off when we reached Days Lock. The always-popular moorings on the Dorchester side of the river above the lock were only sparsely occupied, and we managed to pull onto a bit of bank very familiar to Sue and Vic…IMG_0658 
Noon and we’ve already had a good day. There’ve been a lot of boats up and down this afternoon, looking for moorings, and here we are feeling smug!

Sue, Thanks for the comment, I didn’t pick it up till we got here, so missed the spot you described. Good job this bit was empty!
Hi Tom. We run off two alternators, both linked through a Sterling A-B controller. This means that both banks can be maintained through one alternator, but it puts quite a bit of strain on it, and the one that was working was the oldest, having clocked up nearly 8000 hours. It’ll go back into storage as a standby when (if) I get the others back repaired.

Locks 3, miles 8

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