Saturday, 1 June 2013

One man, one woman, on a boat

We're really enjoying the Upper Thames above Oxford which we joined via the Duke's Cut.  On Thursday morning we got the anchor out of its normal store in the front locker and found a way of storing it on the back deck:
Anchor ready for service on the river
Having dropped down Duke's Lock we made the turn right onto the Duke's Cut and into Duke's Cut Lock - the first lock going uphill for ages:
Turn right under the bridge to join the Duke's Cut

Sign on joining the weir stream of the Thames behind King's Lock

Having been on narrow canals for so long the wide open waters of the Thames were a delight, with views of the surrounding countryside but with the additional problems of navigating on moving water - upstream so far so more engine revs and fun navigating tight bends with a long boat.
Swinford Toll Bridge

Watchful Dog on a passing boat

Approaching Pinkhill Lock

On Friday we decided to spend the morning on our folding bikes touring some of the little villages around us.  The villages in the Upper Thames Valley are mostly some distance from the river so it made sense to take to the bikes.  Our favourite village was Stanton Harcourt.

Thatched cottages at Stanton Harcourt

Collection of Towers

More pretty cottages and a sleeping Brompton!

The left tower with the pointed roof is attached to the Manor House which looks rather French, the one almost hidden behind the gable with the chimney is 'Pope's Tower' named after Alexander Pope and the right hand one is the church.  What a collection of towers in a very small village.

One of the pleasures of the river are the delightful bridges:
Newbridge - misnamed as it is the second oldest on the river

Tadpole Bridge

Radcot Old Bridge - the oldest on the river dating to the 13th century

Ian has not been idle during this period either.  The thing about a narrow boat is that there is a never ending stream of DIY jobs that need doing.  Here is a picture Helen took of Ian painting the stern having removed the fenders.  With the river flowing past quite quickly it can be quite dizzy making leaning over the side to do the painting.
Painting the bright blue on the stern and even on the rudder
And here to finish with are some pictures of the wildlife:
Cows in the River Windrush - the strange one on the left is in fact two cows

Greylag geese and goslings

A host of golden buttercups

We are moored tonight at Radcot in a lovely spot by the bridge with easy access to the Swan for an evening drink by the river.  Tomorrow we have visitors so that we will share the final day up the Thames to Lechlade and then finish with a meal in the town when we get there.  Next week we will be heading downstream to Oxford and then carrying on down the Thames towards Reading to join the Kennet and Avon Canal to head westwards again.  We hope the sunny weather continues.

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