Well, after 10 days, we left Oxford this morning at 9 o’clock and, delightfully, our friend Debbie joined us for the first part of the voyage (like a pilot taking a ship out of harbour!!)
This is James and Debbie reversing ‘Chance’ into Isis Lock to get out onto the River Thames. We had to reverse through the lock as we were facing the wrong way and there was nowhere to wind!
Although the yellow (stream decreasing) boards were showing, the river was still flowing quite fast and out first major obstacle was Osney Bridge. Famous for being very low, the bridge was a bit of a pinch point in the river and we shot through at an “exciting” rate!
‘Chance’ sharing Iffley Lock with two other boats leaving Oxford.
One of the joys of the River Thames is that most riverside property owners are “well healed” – and some curious and/or expensive things can occasionally be seen. What a great place to sit and be alone!
Debbie and Doug (the famous comedy duo!) enjoying the fresh air. We were lucky again today as the weather was dry and mild.
We temporarily moored in Abingdon to say good bye to Debbie so that she could get the bus back to Oxford. The river here was particularly fierce: firstly we had fun entering Abingdon Lock sideways! and, secondly, the speed of the water going through Abingdon Bridge was reminiscent of a log flume at Alton Towers. James had to help with a Dutch Barge which had got itself wedged onto a tree stump as it was coming upstream through the bridge. It was half an hour before it was finally freed and the bridge was safe for other river traffic.
The pretty St Helen’s Wharf at Abingdon. You can see by the surface of the river how fast it was flowing at this point.
Out of Abingdon and we were into clear, open water with the flows only slightly more than normal.
Back to big flows – leaving Day’s Lock the weir is producing a heavy current as we enter the main flow again.
Calmer waters as we approach Shillingford and the riverside properties are becoming more and more impressive.
We moored up around 4 o’clock this evening at a wonderful position just short of Shillingford Bridge.
We’ve had a great day. Some “exciting” moments (especially trying to moor up, going with the flow, when you approach the bank at a speed more applicable to a jet ski!) and also some interesting moments. We had a great time with Debbie for the first half of our day and we hope she had a good time too.