Fluid Category 5. 9th October

Abingdon Bridge to Jericho, Oxford Canal

A slow start this morning so that we could join the Geraghty zoom. Subjects today acorns, anti-virals and loft insulation.

Goodbye Abingdon

Another sunny day meant the river was busy. A canoe stopped a wide beam from pulling out across the way, they were wanting to wind so waited patiently then waved us on before they started their manoeuvre.

A tall affair

Abingdon Lock was set for us and we rose up with plenty of people watching, then pulled along onto the water point. It seems that some of the water points are being changed, the other day at Cleeve Lock I’d noticed the new short hose already attached to the tap, here the water point is long and tall with a yellow surround to it.

Backflow protection

The pressure wasn’t too great and the hose just managed to reach our water filler on the off side of the bow. Water seems to be pumped up high to a small tank and then it flows through the hose to your boat. This is all to do with not wanting to have river water flowing back into the water mains, which is understandable with the amount of sewage that is allowed into the rivers. But it all takes time. We were patient and made use of the big skips to dispose of our rubbish and recycling. Talking of which, if you are a boater, have you filled in the C&RT survey regarding services and distances between them? It’s anonymous so no reason not to have your say in what C&RT will see as the national standard for services. Survey Link

The next river reach goes on and on. Not as bad as when Mick did it a few years ago with an overheating engine with a large amount of fresh coming the other way. The sunk boat is still mid channel, then numerous rowing boats and plenty of cruisers out for a Sunday pootle.

Sandford being emptied

There was a blue board at Sandford Lock, but someone had set it to empty. I walked up with the boat hook and opened the gate. The Lock Keeper arrived, he’d been just about to go for lunch as we arrived, could he help with ropes? We got ourselves sorted and then waited for a cruiser to join us. They had no idea! A rope from the bow was put round a bollard as their boat continued into the lock. The rope was moved along, then again and again. The Lock Keeper went to help, pulling them back in the lock and making sure they had two ropes round the bollards. This lock fills from the sides as well as from the end, so you need to keep hold of your rope.

Just about full

We led the way, coming across numerous rowers all at bends which made positioning ourselves very awkward! I don’t think we’ve ever come into Oxford on a sunny Sunday in term time before. I think we’ll do our best to avoid it in future!


Iffley Lock, the Lavender Lock was on Self Service, it always feels like we’ve arrived in Oxford when we go through here . I headed up to see what needed doing. A small day boat was just entering the lock above to be followed by an eight, the lock just wide enough for them. A chap asked if I could open the gates for them so they could get back on board, of course I could. But this all took time as they hadn’t got a rope round a bollard, the boat tipping from side to side as people got on and off.

All that Lavender

Then a Lock Keeper appeared and requested that they put a rope around a bollard and then actually hold on to it! A request came from the boat, could he help with the rope. ‘No, I’ve got covid’ he then retreated to the other side of his garden.

Our turn next with the cruiser. We let them leave first as they’d be quicker than us, all we both had to do was negotiate our way around the waiting rowing boats and those also heading towards the lock.

Someone with a different style has been decorating the walls under bridges. An Arthurian subject, with knights on horse back jousting and a unicorn.

Trip boat 1 out of the way

Towards Folly Bridge there was a log jam. The cruiser we’d been sharing with had pulled over to the side, two eights were sat waiting for a big trip boat to wind and head down stream. The eights then had to wind themselves, another trip boat was about to back away from it’s moorings, but we got in first only to meet four canoes coming under the arch of the bridge. Hopefully now the river would calm down.

Canoes next

No! The cruiser suddenly appeared having come round the island of the bridge the other way. They headed off and we soon passed them trying to moor. Hopefully NOW the river would be quieter.

Demolition works

Osney Lock had a boat coming in from above. A lady closed the gates behind the boat the chap held onto his centre line. I suggested that I could work the bottom gates and sluice allowing the lady to get on board. She was happy with this and just carried on walking away from the lock, I suspect a helpful passerby rather than crew.

Here we were on our own, no Lock Keeper. A fella walked past and informed us that the Lockie here also had covid. There was space on East Street, maybe because the old Power Station is being demolished opposite.

On upstream under the bridge to Sheepwash Channel where we turned right. The old railway swing bridge that last year was shrouded in covers has been restored, sleepers and track, the workings all shiny black and yellow. Not that there is anywhere for it to connect to as houses stand where the line once used to be.


Isis Lock. Time to dig out the windlass again. This lock means Panto, Autumn leaves, Inspector Morse watching, Christmas shopping, fish and waiting for the River Cherwell to come out of flood. It’s nice to be back.

Going up

We pulled into the first space. Tilly was given 2.5 hours, Yeh yeh, I know where I am! It’s that isthmus outside! You always tie this one up! Still no new complex opposite. Time to put a Sunday roast on and have a catch up with my brother.

5 locks, 1 narrow one, 9.58 miles, 1 right, 1 left, 2 many boats, 1 tall waterpoint, 2 poorly Lockies, 2 boats with no idea, 1 near miss, 2.5 hours, 1 roast chicken, 1 sore throat!