Friday, July 25, 2014

So far, so good.

Everything is going to plan at the moment…. I hope I’m not tempting fate!
We arrived at Abingdon at around 11:30, mooring above the lock, and I toddled off into town to drop the two dead alternators off at a local motor factor. All being well they’ll be on their way to the repairer this afternoon. On the way back I stopped off at Waitrose for a few bits, then returned across the Abbey Gardens and Abbey Meadow, busy with people on a fine afternoon.
The supplier of the new alternator has sent it today, overnight delivery to Abingdon Boat Centre, where it’s expected. All looking good.

The past couple of days we’ve been visited by these fascinating little beasts, turning up in all sorts of odd places…

IMG_0587Amazing things, those back legs enable them to jump phenomenal distances, up to 20 times their own length. This guy (although I think it’s a female, the spike at the back is for egg-laying) could jump maybe a yard, in human terms that’s 120 feet! A bit to go, Greg Rutherford! And you get a running start to reach your PB of 28 feet!

Leaving our mooring above Sandford LockIMG_0589

We shared the lock with a quad scull and it’s support boat, they’re heading for London, taking three days, for charity.IMG_0590
In sculls each rower has two oars, in sweeps they make do with one each. The little guy at the front has the best job…

They left us standing as soon as we’d cleared the lock, but we were taking it steady, maximising the time we’d be running at 1000 revs to get the most battery charge off the one alternator.

On the reach above Abingdon LockIMG_0593

Salter’s boats were considerably faster than us today!IMG_0600

A beautiful Dutch Tjalk, still rigged for sailing with lee-boards and mast.IMG_0594

Swift Ditch is a backwater of the river, cutting across the loop which heads close to the town. It was the original navigable channel, with a lock at the upstream end being built around 1624.

Swift Ditch, upstream end
By the late 18th century merchants in the town had realised that they were missing an opportunity, so the current Abingdon Lock was built and the longer but more potentially profitable loop opened up to boats. The Swift Ditch fell derelict, the old lock is now a weir.

Abingdon Lock is a busy spot, and today was no exception.

Bustle at Abingdon LockIMG_0603
We didn’t get involved, dropping handily on a mooring behind the cruiser on the left.

These two cuties came for lunch…

Ahh, sweet!IMG_0606

So long as nothing goes wrong we’ll be on the move again on Sunday, after fitting the new alternator tomorrow afternoon. I’ll pick up the (hopefully) fully repaired units when we head back upstream in a couple of weeks time.

Locks 1, miles 4½

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