From Upper to Middle Thames

Thursday 27th April and we woke to a frosty start and we moved from Eynsham on the Upper Thames heading for Abingdon. Passing Oxford we looked out for places along the way to moor, and did see a couple of possible spots, but decided to carry on to Abingdon. The locks on the Middle Thames are mechanised, and easy to operate (full instructions given at each lock). Most are manned but not between 1-2pm over lunchtime.

Unusual craft moored at Oxford

Osney bridge that has a low headroom

luxurious houseboat near Oxford

We travelled 15miles through occasional showers, finally stopping at Abingdon council moorings, which had a 5day limit; this gave us enough time to explore.

moored at Abingdon

Abingdon is an 18th century market town which grew up around the abbey (founded in 695ad); little remains of the abbey today. The bridge  over the river has medieval origins but was rebuilt in 1927.

abbey remains

the old gaol built in 1805-11, now 3 restaurants and apartments.

the old police station

Abbey gate leading to Abbey gardens

County Hall Museum which is recognised as one of the finest town halls in England. Built 1678-82.

writing on the wall of the Broadface public house

view from Abingdon bridge

Breakaway in the distance. view from the weir.

Friday we walked into the town for a look round. A few independent shops still remain, but the town has suffered with the addition of an out of town retail park. Saturday we walked in again as Charlie’s electric shaver decided to stop working, so he purchased a new one. Sunday we moved again to Wallingford.

river views leaving Abingdon

Abingdon from the river

one of the many dutch barge style boats seen along the river

there’s a narrowboat hiding under the camoflauge

Clifton cut

a moo having a drink

house along the riverbank

and another

Didcot power station which we have skirted around since leaving Abingdon

swanky boathouse

arriving at Wallingford

The journey to Wallingford was slightly hampered by the windy weather. Especially at one lock in particular (Days lock), that was in the wide open spaces. A rather large cruiser was ahead of us, and the lockkeeper saw us both into the lock as the wind was pushing us into the side of the lock landing; alot of motoring got us in safely. Even more interesting stopping at the sanitary station after the lock! Wallingford also has town council moorings that are free during the day but £5 a night to stay over. We decided to have 2 nights. A rather nice lady arrives at 08.30am to collect the fees. Wallingford is one of the oldest royal boroughs, receiving it’s charter in 1155. The well preserved Saxon ditches and defences still remain. There are remains of a Norman castle built in 1071. The 17 arch bridge over the river has medieval origins and was rebuilt in 1809. Bank Holiday monday we walked into town where there is a small array of shops (many closed), though I did find a charity shop open and purchased a book.

Wallingford church which has an unusual openwork spire

same view at night

only 5 arches span the river of this 17 arch bridge

lots of widebeam boats on the river; you can just see us sandwiched in the middle of these 2. Don’t we look small?

castle remains

view of church steeple through the castle remains

smile and wave!!

view from the top of the castle mound

There is more to see at Wallingford; a museum and a heritage railway, but we will seek them out if we come back this way. The weather over these past few days has been cloudy and cold. It’s a good job we are moving frequently to keep the batteries topped up. Tuesday moving again to Goring. We shared 2 locks with 3 other narrowboats, but didn’t manage to get a picture of us all squeezed in. Goring is a small exclusive village set in a wooded valley. One of the most important prehistoric fords across the river linking the Icknield Way and the Ridgeway. We had a little look around the village that has a few shops and which also has the home of the late George Michael. Maybe thats why house prices are so high!

this impressive boat passed us on the way to Goring

heading for the lock with 3 narrowboats ahead

Goring on Thames

lovely cottage shrouded in wisteria

George Michaels home that now appears to be a shrine to him

Egyptian goose and gosling

24 hr moorings at Goring so off again today. Cold and windy (just when we run out of coal!!). Silly me thinking we would’t need the fire in May. We do have some wood though that we had collected a few months ago if we get desperate. We have now stopped at Pangbourne so only a short cruise today. Moored on the NT owned Pangbourne meadow. Still only 24hrs so we will be off again tomorrow.We are now only about 6 miles from Reading and the turning for the K&A canal. A little look around Pangbourne and another book purchased in a charity shop. Small array of shops here including butchers, deli and co-op (where I have purchased our favourite olives). Kenneth Grahame lived here, the Scottish author of Wind in the Willows.

Victorian toll bridge at Pangbourne.

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