Today is the summer solstice, and the day began with bright sunshine. We set off nice and early, as we had a fair way to go, and several Locks to navigate. Our first stop was for water at Lower Heyford, close to the Oxfordshire narrowboats base. Once the tank was filled we commenced our cruise south towards Oxford. At a point between the next two Locks, we noticed the towpath had suffered some subsidence, and that water was flowing slightly through the depression towards the adjacent River Cherwell. Whilst not an immediate problem, this could certainly develop into one, so we made a phone call to the Canal and River Trust, to report the issue. Once we reached Baker’s Lock we had to check the water level indicator boards, as the River Cherwell and the Oxford Canal share the same course for the next mile.

Water levels indicator board

As can be seen above, this is a modern 21st century gauge, I wonder if they will last as long as the old fashioned method of coloured boards in the water.

Direction board on River Cherwell

The flow on the river was only slight, but it did make a difference in the speed of the boat over the ground, we seemed to be whizzing along. After a mile we arrived at Shipton Weir Lock where the Cherwell and the Oxford Canal part ways once more.

Shipton Weir Lock

In the photo above the Oxford Canal is through the Lock to the right, and the River Cherwell is to the left. We were now getting close to our intended mooring spot, the only question was, would there be any space. As we entered Thrupp there was a significant number of moored boats. We were delayed for about ten minutes waiting for a boat to reverse and shoehorn themselves into an available spot. We carried on to the sharp right hand turn, and I waited for the crew to operate the electric lift bridge.

Electric lift bridge, Thrupp

Through the bridge we were lucky, there was one spot vacant, and it was just about big enough for us to squeeze into. We secured the boat and then went to the Boat Inn for lunch.

Mooring at Thrupp, were the third boat along

The Boat Inn is a hundred yards ahead of our mooring spot, and was made famous being the focus of an investigation by Inspector Morse, the late John Thaw.

The Boat Inn, our lunch venue

After lunch we had a wander round and found that Thrupp was full. Anyone turning up after 3 pm looking for a mooring, was going to be very disappointed. On the way back to the boat we went via Annie’s tea rooms to select an afternoon cake.

Tomorrow we should reach the Thames.

Totals 9 Miles 6 Locks

Running total 201 Miles 268 Locks 9 Tunnels

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