Moreton Bend to Radcot Meadow
First boat past was an Anglo Welsh hire boat almost up on the plane, a twelve year old at the helm, Dad on his phone. The engine changed tone once they’d passed us, maybe Dad had slowed the youngster, but it was short lived and the tone of the engine shot back up soon afterwards.
We were on our way before 9 and soon passing through New Bridge, the name suggests steel, concrete, suspension over the river, but instead you get pointed arches made from creamy Cotswold stone. New Bridge is in fact the second oldest bridge on the Thames dating back to the 13th Century, parts of it have Grade 1 listing, others Grade 2*.
Sue had mentioned that we’d be seeing NB Festina Lente and NB Mary H soon on their return from Lechlade. Festina Lente had passed us before we pushed off, but Mary H was moored on the meadows by the bridge. We waved and said hello as we passed.
The river now starts to get that bit more twisty turny a little reminiscent of Savick Brook leading to the Lancaster Canal. There it is narrower, only one boats width but at least you know nobody will be coming the other way, here you have no idea when you will have to slam on the breaks. At one slightly wider bend there was a narrowboat moored on the outside, all of a sudden a canoe with Mum and two kids shot out from behind the vegetation. Reverse quickly engaged as she did her best to speed past our bow and out of harms way.
Two out of the three locks today were on self service and by the time I’d set the lock in our favour we’d been joined by a cruiser. The locks are now that bit shorter than further down stream, the chap didn’t think we’d both fit so waved another shorter cruiser past to join us, he then came up to help.
Positioning of the cruiser was carefully done, they fitted but needed to be that bit further into the lock so that they didn’t rise underneath the walkway on the lock gates. Then we turned the wheels, plumes of water sprouting out from the gates. We took our time so as not to fill Oleannas’ well deck with water.
We paused above to fill our half empty water tank. This took all of five minutes with great pressure and the big hose and we could be on our way again.
Four more twisty turny miles to Rushey Lock where the following cruiser caught us up again and waved a shorter boat in with us.
Here garden gnomes stood watching from a safe distance.
Two more miles to Radcot Lock a canoe joining us in the lock here. A volunteer huffed and pufffed in a grump at the heat of the day. He did his best not to do too much, good job I’d got off to lend a hand.
Now we wanted a mooring. With opportunities along a field we tried the first suitable looking space, too shallow, then the next I got off, but no chance of getting Oleanna to sit near the bank without a list. Ahead there looked to be no room, plus a lot of dogs, so we tried reversing, me walking along the field with rope in hand, taking the boat for a walk. A narrowboat pulled out ahead so we decided to try where they’d come out from. Bingo, it was deep enough and all the dogs had been with that boat.
By now the sun was high above us, we had no shade so we hid inside for the afternoon. Tilly soon decided that inside was a better place to be, lying on the floor as close to the base plate as possible. Then she moved to the rear deck where there was a cooling breeze.
Early evening it started to cool down. Our chairs came out and so did the barbecue. Tilly started to find things of interest in clumps of grass , on boat roofs (That is not your boat Mrs!) and along the banks of the river. The temperature now dropping meant she could have a looney run around in the field without getting heat exhaustion.
By the time we’d finished our food the sun was well on it’s way behind the horizon and the temperature dropping, we retired back inside, the test match highlights more like lowlights today.
3 locks, 2 self service, 9.88 miles, 3rd time lucky again thanks to the Hippie Boat, 2 hot for cats, 2 hours of welsh mud, 4 cobs corn, 4 veg kebabs, 4 marinated turkey steaks, 1 friend, 2 glasses crabbies, 2 glasses of wine,1 setting sun.