Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Onto The Thames

We spent a couple of nights at Shipton on Churwell, taking advantage of the fantastic weather while it lasts.

There are some beautiful houses tucked away up the back streets.  This was the back of a very large property, complete with it's own private lake.

The wisteria and honeysuckle smelt lovely

Everywhere we walked there were trees in blossom and wild flowers; buttercups, clover, cow parsley and wild angelica being the most common.

After walking through the village we decided to walk back up the river towards the oddly shaped Shipton Weir Lock.

Despite it being such a gloriously sunny day, there wasn't a soul about and we had the river bank to ourselves. It really is pretty round here.

On Monday we decided we'd spent enough time at Shipton so, after chatting to Maafi while filling up with water at an exceptionally slow tap at the service block, we continued our journey and left the Oxford Canal and went onto the River Thames at Duke's Lock.

Duke's Lock is a disgrace. It's overgrown and not a good welcome to the Thames.

As soon as you come out of the lock there is a stretch of really scruffy boats which are obviously continuous moorers judging by the amount of outdoor furniture they have lying around. There was also a strong smell of cannabis smoke wafting around.

We soon left them behind and moored up for the night beside a meadow filled with buttercups.

It was a lovely peaceful spot and I spent ages at the side hatch watching a flock of black headed gulls swooping over the surface of the water catching insects.There was also a cormorant fishing but he didn't seem to be having much luck.

We were just about to sit down for our dinner at 8pm when this woman swam past.

She floated about while we had a quick chat (very posh accent) and she told us she swims here regularly and that the water wasn't as cold as you'd expect, although when Roger stuck his hand in after she'd gone he decided it was way too cold for anyone normal.

The weather changed today and it's been quite overcast and windy, although it's still warm enough for shorts and T-shirt.  We bought our River Thames license at Eynsham Lock and moored up just above Pinkhill Lock. Once again we're beside a meadow and after lunch we took Chico for a long walk along the Farmoor Conservation walkway and to the village shop at Farmoor.

Being on the Thames is like being on holiday. Not only is it really peaceful but all the locks are manned, so unless we want to travel through one between 1 and 2pm or after 6pm the lock-keeper will do all the work.

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