Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to the ditches.

It’s a bit of a shock to be back on the narrow, shallow canals after a month on the Thames, but it’s also somewhat reassuring to be able to do our own locks, not to have to worry too much about finding a mooring at the end of a day’s cruise, and to have to concentrate when passing under bridges.

After a quiet night on the East St. moorings, we set off at around half-nine, under the low Osney Bridge, with a couple of miles to go to Godstow Lock.

Osney Bridge, low headroom bars passage further upstream to those large cruisers.IMG_1204
I’ve searched in vain for information about the Oxford Local Board, but the Coat of Arms on the left is that of the University of Oxford, the other is a simplified version of the City of Oxford’s. This will also be familiar to motorists of a certain age…
The Morris factory was at Cowley, south-east of the city.

Passing the Sheepwash Channel.

We decided to go back onto the Oxford via Dukes Cut again, it’s quicker than having to crawl past all the moored boats along the canal above Sheepwash.

Out in the open past the beautiful Port Meadow.IMG_1207

I don’t think I seen an egret before…

Godstow Lock and weir.IMG_1212
It looks fine weather, and it was, but it was also pretty cool in the breeze.

Above Godstow Lock the channel starts to wind in a series of tight S bends until it reaches King’s Lock. I suppose it was a bit of a toss-up which channel was made navigable, there’s the other to the east which runs past Lower Wolvercote and provided power and water for Wolvercote Mill. It leaves just above King’s, and returns just below Godstow. Part of this backwater is used to reach Duke’s Cut and the Oxford Canal.

Winding our way to King’s Lock, following NB TreIMG_1216

King’s Lock, no push buttons on this one.IMG_1219

We turned right almost immediately above the lock onto the Wolvercote backwater.

That’ll be us then…

We could have done without meeting this pair on the narrow bit of the backwater…IMG_1223

A left turn takes us onto the artificial channel, Dukes Cut, down to Dukes Cut Lock, also known, rather prosaically, as “44B”

Lock 44B

Just a six inch drop takes the channel down onto the Oxford canal, where a right turn heads back to the city, and a left heads north and straight into Dukes Lock.

Into Dukes LockIMG_1227
This, Kidlington Green and Roundham locks interrupt the 3 miles or so to Thrupp. For some reason I didn’t take any more pictures till we got there.

The sky was getting darker as we neared Thrupp, we thought we might just make it but the heavens opened as we passed The Jolly Boatman. Luckily there was loads of space, so it didn’t take long to get tied up.

Looking out from the back steps.

We’d have managed to get here dry if we hadn’t stopped to pick up some logs near Kidlington…

…and some blackberries near Roundham.

The wood is on the roof, the blackberries went into a very nice crumble. Yum.

Locks 6, miles 8

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