Wolvercote

Yesterday we travelled ten miles and four Locks, before arriving at Abingdon. On route, we couldn’t initially work out what was missing from the landscape, then it dawned. The cooling towers at Didcot Power Station were missing, we had photographed them a few months ago, but since then, they have been raised to the ground.

This view no longer exists

A google search informed us, that they were demolished a week or so ago, and that when the explosives went off, it cut the power to the local area for a while. The approach to Abingdon is very picturesque and includes one building with what appears to be a substantial number of chimneys.

Approach to Abingdon

The mooring was tight in Abingdon, it is a popular stopping place, especially for the large cruisers. We spotted a gap to the front of a familiar boat, nb Castellan. We shoehorned ourselves into the gap, then went for lunch. Back at the boat the sky clouded over, and we realised that we’d had the best of the weather, during our morning cruise.

This morning we departed Abingdon just after 9am, it was going to be a hot day. We were aiming for a mooring at Oxford, just below Osney Bridge. As we ascended in the Lock, the Lock keeper told us there was one space left. Unfortunately in the time it took to open the top gates, another boat travelling downstream stole the spot. Being unable to stop here, also meant we would not be entering the Oxford Canal via the Sheepwash Channel, as the mooring on the Canal is very limited. We carried on upstream, passing Port Meadow to starboard, then navigated through Godstow Lock. Just above the Lock, we found a spot to moor and secured the boat. We had been told that the Trout Inn, a favoured haunt of John Thaw is located close by. We wandered off with four legs to find it, and then had lunch there.

Mooring at Wolvercote

The Godstow Lock keeper informed us that there may be a charge at this site, but that she didn’t think anyone had been along collecting fees for some time. We did find the remains of a sign, which probably gave information on the mooring regulations, but sadly not much of the sign remains, so we are in the dark as to whether we have to pay or not. I suspect if money is due, someone will be along soon to tap on the boat.

Mooring information sign, missing its information.

We only plan staying here one night, then it is back onto the Oxford Canal, via the Duke’s Cut.

Totals Thursday 22/8. 10 Miles 4 Locks

Friday 23/8. 10 Miles 5 Locks

Running total 505 Miles 530 Locks 15 Tunnels

Goring

Well yesterday we certainly did many more miles than we intended. We set off from Abingdon in warm sunshine, but now accompanied by a cool breeze. Compared to the heat of the previous day, it was perfect. After passing through the first Lock of the day at Culham, we had Didcot power station in view for a mile or two.

Didcot Power Station

Approaching the sweeping bend in the river, between Burcot and Dorchester, we began to look for a mooring. We found a possible spot against a farmers field, however it was a little shallow. Rather than persevere we continued on. This was a mistake. Our next opportunity to moor up was in Shillingford, at the front of the Shillingford Bridge Hotel. There were plenty of cruisers already there, but between them what looked like a sixty foot gap. As we manoeuvred towards it there was a shout from the bank, ‘these are all reserved for the Upper Thames Cruising Club Sunday lunch’. Rather than argue the point we carried on. So far on the Thames we have avoided rowers, swimmers and canoeists, now it was sailors.

Dinghy dodgems

Each mooring we passed, was occupied by cruisers out for the weekend. When we reached Cleeve Lock, our fourth of the day, we stopped for water. This also provided half an hour respite for a late lunch, while the tank filled. Once below Cleeve Lock, there is only a few hundred yards of river before reaching Goring. The Lock was manned, but when we asked the Lock keeper if there were any spaces on the mooring below, the answer wasn’t promising. Fortunately we were lucky, there was just one narrowboat length space available, so we grabbed it.

Moored at Goring
Dwarfed by the cruisers

After securing the boat, we wandered into Goring seeking refreshments. We found them in the Miller of Mansfield, a pub and restaurant. The food was excellent.

Today I took a walk up to the Lock, and paid the Lock keeper five pounds for an extra night here in Goring. After 19 miles the previous day we needed a rest.

Goring Lock

We are only a couple of days away from the Kennet and Avon Canal now, and how far we will get, will be dependant on the Canal and River Trust fixing the pumps at Caen Hill. Whether they will or not in time for us, is anyone’s guess.

Totals 19 Miles 5 Locks

Running total 278 Miles 301 Locks 9 Tunnels

Abingdon

It’s far too hot for a long post today, so here it is in brief. Four Locks all electric, the first of which the crew operated. The next reach is where we found the rowers, hundreds of them.

In training for the University Boat Race
Boat Houses for the Individual Colleges

We had set off early this morning as we suspected Abingdon would be busy, it was. Just through the Lock we took one of the last spaces available. It was only 11.45 am.

Mooring at Abingdon below the Lock

It was already too hot for four legs, so he stayed with the boat and we found a pub for lunch.

Pub on the island, Abingdon

Back at the boat we found some large trees to sit under whilst watching the boat traffic passing our mooring.

A Party Boat complete with live band

Some of it as in the photo above was quite large. Our boat is dwarfed by it and hidden from view by the park bench.

Totals 8 Miles 4 Locks

Running total 259 Miles 296 Locks 9 Tunnels