We left Abingdon at 10 am and headed up to the lock, straight in but we had to wait for a cruiser which meant we were almost up against the top gate. We had planned to take water above the lock but there were two very large cruisers breasted up and they had only just started filling the near side one so we pushed on. The river was much slacker now and we easily made 3.5 mph with the engine just pootling along. Above the lock in the weir stream was the boat we saw on the visitor moorings on our way down several weeks ago. We met 5 rowing boats coming down the river towards us, the first was a nice wooden one which I failed to get a photo of, but here are the others. Later we met two Swiss boats, but they were more interested in the location of the nearest pub.
One of the largest locks that we have passed through is Sandford Lock. this is 170ft long and 21’ 9” wide, but the cruiser that was following us, passed us in the lock and moored directly in front of us. One of the things about this lock is that it is a bottom filler and the water comes up through the floor of the lock to fill it, not through holes in the top gates like most of them. This means you don’t get pulled back and forth with the water flow. You can see the water coming up and the cruiser in front of us.
Passing the Oxford By Pass the Oxford council seam to have sorted out rubbish collection along the towing path, mind you it didn’t look to stable on the uneven ground. I don’t know the significance of this statue of a bulls head at Iffley Lock but the head sticking out of the wall just caught my eye and someone polishes the ring in his nose
There is talk of restoring the old Isis railway swing bridge, when this was in use you had to contact BR (British Rail) to have it swung open so you could pass through. I do wonder if its actually beyond restoration as a lot of the structure has gone.
The trains now pass on a slightly higher bridge in the background, I still need to remove the exhaust to get under but I don’t have to wait for Rail track. We were almost back onto the Oxford canal, just Isis lock to pass through and British waterways kindly installed a landing stage below the lock, the only problem is that it sticks out 11 feet and if you are moored along it any boats coming down the lock cant get out, like today. So we had to hold at the end of the platform to give them room to exit the lock and turn right towards the Thames, something not taken into account in the design.
Once on the Oxford Canal we had a good run meeting boats at most locks, or they were already empty for us. In Thrupp we passed a boat with a rather smart tiller pin, I have never seen one like it before. We continued on through the lift bridge and moored for the night near Shipton Church at the end of the long term moorings.