Yes, we’ve done it, we’ve finally got away from
Wallingford and the fast flowing Thames. We are now a few miles up the Oxford Canal
North of the city of Oxford.
The river is still in spate with red warning boards down most of its length so how have we managed to get away? Last Wednesday a curious rusty tugboat arrived from
and moored on the opposite side of the river.
The following day David went to speak to its skipper, Steve, who
explained he had been called to rescue the boat on its side pictured in our
last post. David enquired whether it
would be possible for the tug boat to tow our two narrow boats back to Oxford and the answer
amazingly was ‘yes’. So later that day
we were towed just over a mile up river to Benson and moored above the lock for
a day because Steve was busy on Thursday.
He returned on Friday morning and towed us all the way to Oxford against the strong
stream with red warnings all the way.
Several lock keepers gave Steve a strong mark of confidence saying he
was the only person who they would trust to do this.
The waves between the boats from the propeller wash of the tug was something worth seeing:
As the day went on our confidence in Steve grew. His skill in pulling the two boats to avoid collisions with trees, boats and to stop us being swept away by weirs was amazing to see. Though we both had our engines going fairly fast, in truth it was Steve and his tug that decided where we were going. The bridge at Clifton Hampden was a real test with shallow water racing through the arch and a strong flowing stream beyond.
Abingdon bridge was similar but nothing prepared us for conditions in the city of
|Rough waters above Oxney Weir|