Saturday, 25 May 2013

Farewell to Oxford

Yesterday we took a stroll by the river, down past the college boathouses. This weekend is the Oxford Summer Eights Regatta so there was lots of activity on the river. I didn't envy the crews, the wind was cutting across the bend not far downstream from the boathouses and causing all kinds of problems. It was very cold considering it is nearly the end of May. Yet again I got totally drenched, I hope this summer is not going to be another one where the 'drowned rat look' is to be seen everywhere.

Today, when we had to move on, the weather improved. We thought about mooring a bit further out and walking back in but decided against it and headed back to Kidlington. An incident packed journey meant that it took us nearly twice as long as it should have.

As we were leaving our moorings there was a boat exiting Isis Lock, about 150 yards from where we were. That boater obviously didn't believe in slowing down past moored boats as he rapidly caught up with me and at one point actually partially overtook Merlin, this at a point where there are boats moored on both sides of the canal. My language was not very ladylike and I pulled over as soon as possible to let him past. A little later in our journey I felt a catch on the propeller but before I could knock the engine into neutral the engine had stalled, awkward enough anywhere but just going through a lift bridge with a long line of moored boats both before and after the bridge, it couldn't have been worse. We managed to get Morgana through the bridge hole and breasted up to a moored boat while Ray cleared the prop.

On our way again, surely nothing else could go wrong, apart from my key getting stuck in the lock at one lift bridge which took much wiggling and jiggling to free it. With only a couple more miles to Kidlington I was looking forward to mooring up and relaxing with a cuppa. Then, as we approached a bridge less than a mile from our destination, a boater came towards us on the towpath waving for me to stop. There were two boats adrift one either side of the bridge. The one on the approach to the bridge was still moored by its bow line but had drifted diagonally across the canal. The one beyond the bridge was one of the open unpowered boats which the Trust use for carrying supplies when they are working on the canals. Two boaters managed to get aboard the Trust boat and pole it to the bank but were struggling to get it close enough to be able to moor it securely. Ray got aboard the other boat and managed to re-moor it securely. We made our way slowly through the bridge and used a bit of deliberate wash from the prop to push the workboat closer to the bank.

After all that we eventually got to the mooring spot above Roundham Lock where we stopped on our way south. It's such a relaxing life on the canals!!

Today's journey 4.8 miles, 4 locks and 3 lift bridges.

This year we have travelled 194.2 miles, 196 locks, 5 swing bridges, 10 lift bridges and 2 tunnels

In 2012 we travelled 876.9 miles, 675 locks,  55 swing bridges, 23 lift bridges and 31 tunnels

In 2011 we travelled 461.4 miles, 444 locks, 3 swing bridges, 34 lift bridges and 15 tunnels

During 2010 we travelled 740.3 miles, 642 locks, 53 swing bridges, 4 lift bridges and 25 tunnels

Since Ray retired we have travelled 2272.8 miles, 1957 locks, 116 swing bridges, 71 lift bridges and 73 tunnels

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