Just As Long To Walk As Drive. 13th August

Jericho to Thrupp Cruising Club


Up early to beat the hire boats back into College Cruisers. Late yesterday afternoon NB Hannah May had arrived and arranged for a diesel top up this morning. Movement could be heard across the way at 8:20 so we made sure we were ready to push over once they had been filled up. We did a do-ci-do and took on 40 litres, at £1 a litre we didn’t fill the tank, just enough to keep us going until further up the Oxford.

Fish fish fish!

We pushed back over to the towpath just as the first of the holiday makers were arriving back. Next job was to pick up the things missing from our shopping trip yesterday. I headed off to Waitrose which was kind of on route to Aldens Fish Market.

I chose to walk along the Thames, the patched pipe under Osney Bridge not really doing it’s job as loads of water was pouring out into the Thames. Glad it’s not on our water meter! The temporary pipe over the bridge is quite colossal.

Mind your fingers!

At the fish market I was good, I had a look around dreaming of filling the freezer but only bought what I’d come for, a side of salmon. The lobsters would remain safe under their board for a while longer.

Back at Oleanna it was time to push off as we had a rendez vous to make. The moorings had filled up yesterday maybe people only come into Oxford for the weekend. We met a few boats as we headed out of town, either at locks or along narrow sections which necessitated us pulling in and hoping to not end up in the offside vegetation.

Contended snooze

The cruiser with the cats is still along the Agenda 21 moorings, only two felines on the roof today and no sign of the old chap.

Speed bumps have been added to the towpath on several stretches.

Sitting on the beam to hold it open

Now for the bridges. Bridge 234 still wants to be open as soon as you unlock it. I braced myself for Wolvercote Lift Bridge 233. Here the bridge quite often requires an extra pair of hands to get it lifted and out of the way and the bridge landing has an overhang which has scarred many a hire boats cabin side. Well today the problem simply wasn’t there.

The bridge lies in several parts on the offside under the A34. No bridge beams to struggle with pulling them down and then keep the bridge raised whilst your boat goes through. A couple of cyclists appeared on the offside a touch puzzled as to what they were going to do.

Drinkwaters Lift Bridge

A boat was coming down Dukes Lock so we swapped with them and rose up to meet the next lift bridge. Drinkwaters Lift Bridge 231 was about to close for major rebuilding work when last we passed. During the works the approach walls collapsed and had to be rebuilt. It is now operated by windlass from the towpath side. No longer a fight to unlock it with your key of power, just 30 turns to lift and 14 to drop it.

How did that get there?

Our usual stop on the way out of Oxford had a couple of boats moored up. A solitary sunflower stood high in the field alongside the lock. We swapped with a boat as we arrived and another came into view as we left, perfect timing all round.

New wood at Roundham Lock

Next Roundham Lock, where through the last few years the bottom gate beam has been shored up to last that bit longer a section of armco was the last bodge job we’d seen. But today there are new beams at both ends of the lock.


Approaching Thrupp we had to stop quickly as the bow of a boat suddenly came into view past a large bush on the off side. We pulled in, trying to avoid the worst effects of the overhanging brambles on the cabin sides.


The visitor moorings in the village were quite empty, we considered pulling in, but we carried on to the lift bridge. I did the honours, stopping a very new boat from coming through as Mick was in the bridge hole. They then did their best to negotiate the bridge themselves without loosing any paint. A touch more use of power may have assisted them, but give them a few more months and they’ll be a touch more bold with their manoeuvres.

Thrupp water point and Cruising Club

We pulled in at the water point and went to find the lady at Thrupp Canal Cruising Club. Whilst boats are out on summer cruises temporary moorings are available for a small fee, we’d booked one a couple of weeks ago. Sue (?) showed us to our mooring, ever so welcoming and anything they could help with we just had to ask. As soon as we were tied up Tilly was off out to explore, not returning for quite sometime!


Meanwhile on the other side of the River Cherwell, just over a kilometer as the crow flies, the London Leckenbys were pulling up at Willowbrook Farm campsite and setting up their tents for the weekend. Once they’d settled in they then drove round the 9km to join us and walked up to the boat with a rusk sack full of contraband, before returning the car to the site and walking the 1.8km on well marked paths back.

Footpaths across the meadows

When we’d first come up with the idea of trying to find a campsite close to Oxford and the canal, Thrupp came up as a possibility. A newish eco campsite on a working farm that produces halal meat. Then about a week ago Jac noticed the not so fine print ‘Strictly No Alcohol Allowed On Site!’ Not quite the right place to have a relaxing beer in front of your tent, but you have to respect other cultures. So bottles of gin and wine were brought round to ours and we wouldn’t go to the campsite for a bbq, instead both evenings would be spent on Oleanna.


We’d considered going for a little pootle to find a suitable bit of towpath not too far away for the evening, returning before it got too dark, but just off the side of the TCCC moorings was an area with a bbq and picnic bench. This would do us.


Family were set with jobs of chopping. The other week they had made a tabbouleh not realising I wouldn’t be able to eat the buckwheat, today we made one using Quinoa which was very tasty. Veg and haloumi kebabs were skewered, a potato salad made up. The side of salmon required cutting in half to fit on the barbecue, a grating of ginger, pinch of sugar, soy sauce and lemon juice added then a good wrapping of foil.

Tucking in

Our usual barbecue stove was lit along with two disposable ones that had come from London. The salmon cooked quickly so was nudged to the sides for the veg kebabs to cook in the middle meaning the disposable bbq’s were only really just getting going when we’d just about finished eating!

The latest Thrupp yarn bomb

A lovely if a touch blowy evening sat outside. Cheese was enjoyed back onboard after we’d tidied up outside. Then the head torches were brought out to aid the walk back to the campsite, hopefully the London Leckenby’s weren’t too noisy on their return!

4 locks, 6.51 miles, 2 lift bridges, 1 bridge in bits, 40 litres, 1 side salmon, 1 mooring, 1 campsite, 0 alcohol, 1 happy cat, £646 saved, 1 family get together, 1 yummy meal, 2 beers, 2 G&T’s, 2 bottles wine, 5 head torches for 3, 1km, 9km, 1.8km, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.