Wednesday 19th April and we were up early for our planned trip to Lechlade. It was another lovely sunny day, and on the way stopped for water and sanitary necessities. We met another boat going downstream who totally put us off mooring in Lechlade, as they had removed their front cratch cover because cattle grazing in the field next to the moorings had apparently totally wrecked it. Anyway we decided we would see for ourselves when there.
Our Nicholsons book showed that we could turn after the bridge at Inglesham so we ventured forth. Bad mistake. We had great trouble turning due to overhanging branches and sandbanks. How we never lost anything off the roof (including Izzy I’ll never know). Also managed to get temporarily grounded! We did give the gongoozlers a treat though I expect.
So we reversed back to what looked like a winding hole and managed to turn eventually. We found a mooring without cattle but it was too shallow to get in comfortably. As we had had a very long day and were getting teasy by this point, we decided to carry on back to Kelmscott where we knew there were 48 hour moorings. We were very disappointed at missing visiting Lechlade. Needless to say we finished the day with a few glasses of red.
We had missed an opportunity to visit Kelmscott manor (country home of William Morris). It is only open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays which fell outside the time we were there. Privately run with admission charge. So we went for a walk around the village on Thursday.
It had rained for the first time since we left Napton on the Thursday morning, but it soon passed over and we had another sunny afternoon. We stayed 2 nights here as very tired after our mammoth day previously. In the evening we heard a bit of a commotion on our roof, only to find Mr and Mrs Mallard preening themselves on our solar panels! Friday and we headed back to the moorings before Rushey lock. It was easy to get on and off the boat without using crampons. Although my back has been okay, Charlie’s has now started troubling him. Probably all the scrabbling about on river banks. A few pictures follow of our travels along the river.
Above is the 13th century Radcot bridge, the oldest on the River Thames.
Back at Rushey lock we decided to stay the weekend as it was forecast fair. Lovely sunny weekend with lots of aeroplane activity.
Monday and we were off again. This morning started with Charlie falling over on the bankside after catching his foot in a fender rope whilst preparing the boat for moving. It took the wind out of his sails, and now he has a sore chest as well as back. We ended up after Northmoor Lock, and before Bablock Hythe on another rough mooring; sharing this time with sheep.
Izzy wasn’t interested in the sheep, but was very interested in their pooh! So far on this trip I have seen my first swallows, many swans nesting, herons, terns, a mummy duck with 16 ducklings, and heard 2 cuckoo’s.
Another day of accidents when Charlie fell backwards on the stern after the rope slipped off the bollard in the lock. I’m getting very panicky about all these accidents; never had so many in one short trip. Luckily the only thing broken was his tea mug. The camera went flying but has survived. We moored at Swinford free moorings expecting to have to pay £5 for an extra night (24hr free). There were signs along this bank on the way up, but now (only 10 days later), they have all been blacked out! After we had moored we were chatting to a couple walking their dog, who it transpired owned the land and leased it to the local angling club. The reason the signs had been put up stating charges, was that a few boaters had been leaving their boats there for long periods of time; the anglers couldn’t get along the bank due to the boats; the boats were being moved on reluctantly, and someone has taken umbrage to this and defaced all the signs. They told us we would be ok to moor for a couple of days and not worry about the charge. Just as well as you can no longer read the contact details.
Yesterday afternoon we had some rain and thunder, and it was turning colder. The forecast had been for an arctic blast! A bit of a shock after all the sun we have been having. Today we walked into Eynsham, as Izzy needed her annual leptospirosis vaccination, and I had arranged it with the local vet there. Eynsham is another lovely Cotswold town with the buildings made in the characteristic stone of the area.
Izzy was very brave having her injection, so I can tick that off the list now. It has been bitterly cold today although bright. Just as we are about to use our last bag of coal (thinking we may be ok now). The walk to and from Eynsham takes you over the Swinford Toll bridge built in 1777 and still taking tolls today. It is very busy with traffic. 5p per car, with the maximum being 10p for each axle of a lorry. There are a few shops here including a co-op, butchers, bakers and ironmongers. I topped up with a bit of fresh fruit, and we are now ready for the off again tomorrow; heading this time for the Middle Thames. We are both hoping the moorings will be better as neither of us has particularly enjoyed this trip. 40 miles to Reading.