We have finally left the busyness of the Thames River and entered the more serene and very narrow Oxford Canal.
Soon after setting off from Abingdon on Saturday, the heavens opened up and we undertook the journey to just below Oxford in very rainy conditions.In between locks Bron was trying to get the washing done (resulting in the Celtic Maid Chinese Laundry going into full operation – again!) and Bob remained stoically wet at the stern. It is rare for us to even consider cruising in inclement weather but we had a plan (I know – very unusual!) and wanted to feel we were progressing it.
Our usual mooring below Oxford kindly awaited us enabling a relaxing and dry night before a short hop into Oxford to replenish supplies on Sunday. We had been past the Oxford moorings a couple of times and ascertained that they were in close proximity to shopping so a trip on Sunday afternoon and another Monday morning had us well supplied to commence our assault on the Oxford Canal on Monday.
What a culture shock going from a river full of all kinds of boats, very wide in parts and with the luxury of lock keepers operating the locks for us, and moving almost immediately (certainly after the Duke’s Cut) to a canal that in places is only wide enough for one narrowboat and certainly only space for one through the lock gates!!! In fact we quite literally bumped into our first lock as there was no warning and nowhere to tie up and prepare it. Bron sought the assistance of a Canal and River Trust employee who was working on the lock gate and we were soon through and on our way.
I can’t say that we could relax exactly, as this canal requires full concentration. Celtic Maid has another few scratches on her now and we will have to make the opportunity to undertake some cosmetic touch ups soon!!!!
We headed a few miles up the canal to Thrupp where the word had it that seven day moorings were to be had. Alas, not for us. Despite Bron scouting ahead along the towpath and running (yes – running) back to the boat with the news of a spot, when we arrived we found it a little too small – a bit like trying to squeeze into a size 5 shoe when your foot is a 6, only difference that 20 tons of metal won’t give at all!!!!
After another jog a further km up the canal we came to a 14 day mooring – on a corner – that suited our needs for resting place for a couple of days. Despite being in close proximity to lots of other boats there appear to be few people around, enabling us to have a much needed lay in today.
Who would have thought that life on the water could be so tiring!!??