Last night's mooring was fantastic; you'd never have known that the A40 was just a couple of fields away, and we were only a few miles from Oxford. We had a swan which lurked outside the side hatch until it was dark; birds flocked overhead; the river was alive with little fish; what looked suspiciously like bats swooped over the water; there was a great sunset.
This morning was misty as we set off at about 8.15, but the sun soon burned it off.
We soon reached the junction of Duke's Cut, which links the Thames with the Oxford Canal. It was much longer than we remembered, but the end result was the same: Duke's Cut Lock, which is located underneath a railway bridge, and comes as a bit of a shock after the wide open spaces of the Thames.
Duke's Cut Lock takes you down a foot or two onto the Oxford Canal, and as we're going north we were immediately into Duke's Lock, which goes up.
We've thoroughly enjoyed our week on the Thames, more, I think, than we'd expected. But it was nice to be back on the canals, even if the Oxford did feel narrow and shallow. Briar Rose was certainly missing the depth of water under the base plate.
Thrupp looked as lovely as ever. Adrian went ahead to open the lift bridge, which is powered these days, while I took the boat through and did a turn onto the service point, watch by a group of people who looked as though they were Jehovah's Witnesses. Once moored, we filled with water and started a wash load.
Once the tank was full we set off again, passing Shipton on Cherwell Church and heading into Shipton Weir Lock, which is shallow but diamond shaped, to send more volume of water down the canal. The section beyond the lock is actually the River Cherwell.
We stopped for lunch by the former quarry above Pigeon's Lock. We'd felt that the morning's journey had been slow going; this afternoon was even slower: the pound above Northbrook Lock was at least a foot down, so when a boat came round the corner, we both ended up aground. Lower Heyford was packed as usual; it would be nice if Oxfordshire Narrowboats could hire out some of their boats, to clear the way a little.
The weather was absolutely beautiful with not a cloud in the sky, the Oxfordshire countryside looked great, and bridges and locks came at regular intervals.
The final lock of the day was Somerton Deep Lock, at 12ft one of the deepest on the system. It has a lovely cottage alongside, although the Alsation dog wasn't very friendly. We moored up just along the canal; it was 5.30, making this one of the latest finishes of the trip.
18 miles, 12 locks. (318 miles, 179 locks)