Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Autumn Cruise - Day 18

Yesterday evening, Nick the editor of Canal Boat came to visit us at Lechlade as it's on his way home.  He had a look at Briar Rose, and then we went to the Riverside Inn for a drink.  Nick had to go home, but we stayed for dinner, and the food was excellent.  We had a look round Lechlade (in the dark); it's a very pretty village, although the busy road detracts from the appeal somewhat.

This morning we were retracing our steps of yesterday, so there was a real feeling of heading for home. There was a misty feel to the air as we left at just after 8am.

It was too early for a lock keeper to be on duty, so we worked through St John's Lock by ourselves.  At the next lock, Buscott, the lock keeper arrived as we were in the lock, and opened the bottom gates for us.  At the next few locks, they were either open waiting for us, or boats were just coming out.

It's difficult to explain just how bendy this part of the river is.  There are u-bends and s-bends, and in a narrowboat it's quite hard work.  I've struggled to capture the bends in a photo, but in this one we're at the apex of a bend: we've come from the left and will soon be facing the opposite direction to the right.

When we got to Grafton Lock, the self service sign was showing, but the lock keeper was there.  He worked us through, but said he was just about to set off for Rushey Lock, a couple of locks downstream.  At Radcot Lock, they're rebuilding the weir.

Just below the lock, and young man in a small boat was checking various nets; I'm not sure what he was catching.  Just around the corner was his four wheel drive and trailer, where he'd obviously launched his boat.  The cows in the field were taking a great interest - one had even got into the trailer!

The lock keeper we'd seen earlier was at Rushey Lock.  He was very chatty, which gave me a chance to get a decent photo of this lock's topiary.

We had lunch on the move, although we were making much better progress than yesterday.  While there are occasional wooded sections, this is an area which is quite flat with big skies.

At one point, I spotted a kingfisher sitting on a branch and he stayed there while I took his photo.

Along this whole section we could see planes on their way into RAF Brize Norton.  They included Tristars and Hercules.

We stopped for diesel at Oxford Cruisers (a little dearer than the last time we filled up, but they allow any declaration), and then filled the water tank above Eynsham Lock, where we also got rid of the rubbish.  Once down the lock, we carried on for a mile or so, looking for somewhere to moor.  We found a spot in a field of sheep, with a fantastic view of the Wytham Great Wood.  We're not sure exactly where we are, but we can see the spire of Cassington church behind us.

The clouds has vanished and the temperature has shot up - apparently the next couple of days will be very warm.  In another surprising success, we stuck the satellite dish on the roof, and got a great signal straight away; normally, we spend half an hour trying the find the satellite.

25 miles, 9 locks.  (300 miles, 167 locks)

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