Sunday, 9 June 2013

Heading for Reading

Having now seen the Upper Thames at last and really enjoyed our time there, we are now South of Abingdon and heading for Reading where we aim to join the Kennet and Avon Canal.

Thursday we moored below the Farmoor Reservoirs which are huge and we walked round the smaller one which was still a good two and a half miles.  There were sailing boats and sailboards on the larger reservoir and birdhides on the smaller one.
Sailboards on Farmoor Reservoir
On Friday we finally came back to the end of the Duke's Cut where we had started on the Thames just over a week before.  From King's Lock near here the City of Oxford gets ever closer and we moored in the centre just below the very low Osney Bridge which keeps the larger boats off the upper River.
Coming to King's Lock - note the new solar panel added last winter

Godstow Bridge - also pretty low

Large wide open river below Godstow Lock

We spent a day in Oxford and even went to the cinema to see "The Great Gatsby".  We wouldn't highly recommend the film but it did make a change to do something different.  We also visited the Ashmolean Museum which we would recommend and the stuffed aubergines in the restaurant there were pretty good too.  Here are a couple of unusual pictures of Oxford:
The Folly

The Bridge over the river to the South of the City is called Folly Bridge.  We reckon this building which stands next to the Bridge on an island in the river probably gave its name to the bridge.  It has curious statues and battlements all over it.
Anthony Gormley statue

Last year in Liverpool we visited the Anthony Gormley statues on the beach at Crosby.  Called 'Another Place' this consists of a good many representations of a naked Gormley made of iron standing in the sea.  Here is another one up on top of a building in Broad Street in Oxford.

We left Oxford on Saturday afternoon and had a pleasant afternoon cruise to Abingdon where we used some excellent moorings above the lock.  Being Saturday afternoon the river below Oxford was full of boats:
Rowers littering the river below Oxford

And a Steamer coming up behind us

Our way lay past the lovely Sandford Lock, the deepest upstream of Teddington, with the pub beside the lock.
King's Arms and Sandford Lock
This morning we had a good look round Abingdon.  The old Market Hall was restored last year and is now an interesting museum.  You can pay a small sum also to go out on the roof for excellent views of the town and the surrounding countryside.
View from Market Hall

Here you can see the bridge over the river on the left and the huge forbidding town Gaol in the middle.  This is now being converted into apartments!  In the distance is Didcot Power Station which has now been decommissioned and is due to be demolished.

View from Market Hall

And here is the view of the old Abbey Gateway with St Nicholas Church to its left.  The Abbey built in the 7th century was where the tall trees are now.
St Helen's Church

St Helen's Church is a most unusual one.  The church has five aisles and is wider than it is long.  The Victorians  tried with some success to make the different aisles built at different times look like a coherent building.  The church also has some impressive 13th century paintings.

This afternoon we have headed downstream and just above Day's Lock we found a Leo sized hole between trees to moor for the night.  We aim to walk over to Dorchester this evening.  Dorchester was at one time the capital of Wessex and later of Mercia, but is now a small village.  In the next few days we will be continuing downstream to Reading to pick up the Kennet and Avon Canal to head West.

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