Thursday, 30 July 2015

Last of the Thames

After dinner last night I went for a walk west along the south side of the Thames to Godstow and then back down the opposite bank walking across Port Meadow.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  There are two photos of Abingdon left off yesterday’s post.  We were closing up Waiouru and about to go to bed when Jan glanced out the porthole and exclaimed “Whata nice scene!”  I then spent several minutes fiddling with the camera settings attempting to get a reasonable photo. It was a little easier the following morning.

abingdon steeple

leaving abingdon smal

I’ve previously mentioned Port Meadow on the western outskirts of Oxford.  Some 300 acres of open grazing land given to the Freemen of Oxford by Alfred the Great for helping him to defend his kingdom from the Danes.

port meadow

port meadow 2

At the far end of the route were the ruins of Godstow Nunnery which I have also previously mentioned.  This time I was able to enter the enclosed area.

godstow nunneryruins

There isn’t much left apart from the exterior walls.

There is an old SSBB (single storey, single width, Bailey Bridge which provides pedestrian access across a branch of the Thames just below Medley Footbridge.


I built a number of these during my military career.  I wonder when it was last crack tested?

This morning a quick trip was made to Aldi for the weekly magazines and then we headed upstream to Duke’s Cut.  There were a large number of rowers on the river adjacent to Port Meadow which had us weaving and dodging for part of the route.  It’s Wednesday and I wondered where they found the time to row.  Jan then mentioned it was school holidays.

lady rowers

King’s Lock was the last we will do on the Thames.  There was a boat already waiting below the lock.  A couple from South Africa who remembered us from a previous meeting.  I was wondering why I didn’t remember them (perhaps age?) and then they mentioned they had repainted the boat since our last meeting.

king's lock sml

A portion of Duke’s Cut is a bit of a squeeze in places.  There are a number of boats here that are unlicensed and almost look abandoned.

crusties in dukes cut

We were following NB Merryweather II and discovered there was no lock landing at Duke’s Cut Lock.  The crew on Merryweather II managed to get off their boat at the bow whilst we loitered behind.


Whilst they were working down the lock I noticed why there was no lock landing.  It appears the last continuous moorer is moored on the lock landing.  Actually the boat has been there so long the landing is overgrown.

duke's lock landing

As luck would have it a boat wanted to come up the lock.  Jan mentioned the problem with the boats above the lock and was told the ownership of the cut was unclear and neither EA or CRT wanted to do anything about the boats.

duke's cut map

Affected area shown on the map above.

The last time we cruised on skinny canals was 2014.  The first thing we have noticed is how close the bottom of the canal is to the top.  It’s very slow cruising on the South Oxford.  But the narrow locks fill much faster.

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