Pivoting Up The Thames. 11th July

Rushey Lock Meadows to Lechlade Cow Field

Oh blimey, how did that happen? We both slept in, not done that in ages. This of course meant we were later than planned in leaving this morning. With rain forecast for the afternoon we hoped we’d not get a soaking.

That’s how much further

The chair that had gone for a swim yesterday had been left in the cratch overnight. It was nice and humid in there this morning, the chair was moved to stand in the shower, I didn’t want it in the wardrobe for a while (where it usually lives) until it is most definitely dry.

Yesterday afternoon we’d been joined by another boat, they pushed off a good quarter of an hour before us, would we catch them up to be able to share locks? Todays cruise had to make up for not moving yesterday and would consist of many twist and turns as the Thames wiggles it’s way upstream.

A breakfast stop

A group sat on the bank, their three boats pulled ashore by Old Man’s Footbridge. The smell of breakfast wafted onto the river. We waved, but they were all too busy tucking into their bacon and eggs.

Radcote Lock

The Self Service sign was out at Radcote, but there was someone about at the lock. As I walked up a Lock Keeper opened up the sluices to empty the lock, he then said he’d see us at the next lock.

Towards Radcote Bridge is a nice looking campsite, motorhomes were parked up amongst the trees and geese preened themselves on the bank. Moorings, then the tents and shepherd huts. The tents looking plump like meringue kisses fresh out of a piping bag. Through the little arch which looks like someone missed the road above.

Opening the top gates with the long pole

Sure enough the Lock Keeper was at Grafton Lock, he emptied the chamber for us and then pushed the gates open. As we rose numerous birds busied themselves over our heads. House Martins. There are thirty nests around three sides of the lock cottage, around sixty birds and they were preparing for their third brood of the year. The Lock Keeper said they were very good tenants, they wake at 7:30am and go to bed at 8:30pm. He was obviously very proud of them.

We pulled in to top up the water tank, the last water point before Lechlade. A load of washing had been on. Tilly’s pooh box had a clean, she was obviously crossed legged so it got an extra rinse after an emergency wee! Then I had a shower. The water tank was full to the brim and everything that required water done.


Lunch was eaten on the move. Not many big houses sit alongside the upper River Thames, but those that do are obviously rather nice, it is the Thames after all!

There’s a mooring in there somewhere!

The moorings at Kelmscott were empty, not surprising as the house is only open Thursday to Sunday. Signs hide amongst the undergrowth suggesting more moorings. We used one of these when we visited the house four years ago, it required a safety rope to be able to clamber up and down the bank from one of the handy mooring signs.

More wiggles, was it an M or a W? A line of trees came into sight time after time after time.

Turquoise and orange

Buscot Lock was also manned. Here flower troughs make up the display of flowers. I spotted that we’d picked up a hitchhicker. A caterpillar? As we pivoted round more wiggles I tried looking it up. Not a caterpillar, possibly a Sawfly Larvae, hope it wasn’t after my wild strawberry plants.

Mick worked the tiller hard getting us round the bends. Oleanna seeming to sit still whilst the world pivoted round us. Then St John’s Lock the last lock on the navigable Thames. Here we paused, emptied the yellow water tank and disposed of rubbish before heading for the lock. Just as I was about to close the bottom gates a boat came into view, we waited to share, they could close the offside.

The matchstick markers on the paddles

Now to find a mooring, a downhill boat had said there was plenty of space. True but would any of it be deep enough for us? By now the wind had picked up. We tried pulling into one space, far too shallow. Another was reversed back to, rubble filled it’s depth. Forwards. On the slight bend it seemed to be deep enough. Mick tried bringing us in, the wind having other ideas.

Now, where to moor?

Our locking partners headed on further towards Ha’Penny Bridge. Pulling in to the bank they were pushed away. They headed on to wind and then try again.

Oleanna was reversed. we’d take a run up at mooring this time. A couple walking their dog offered to take ropes for us, which was very much appreciated. With them clinging on to Oleanna we eventually managed to get spikes into the ground and be tied up. The couple then headed off to help our locking partners moor up too.

Thank you for holding ropes

Tilly was given the ground rules, but we knew she’d not be enamoured with our mooring, no friendly cover or trees within scurrying distance. Then the heavens opened. It was even less popular!

During a drier moment there was a knock on our roof. Time to pay our mooring fees. This chap lives on a widebeam moored on the field, he collects the fees for the local farmer. They are the only boat to be allowed an electric fence around them to help keep the cows away. These cows are known for chewing ropes, licking paint and playing with pram and cratch covers! Thankfully the farmer has moved them to another field for a few weeks as the grazing here needs to recover, so we won’t have any problems with them during our stay.

£5 a night or £25 for a week, we paid the later.

4 locks, 9.3 miles, 1 lock shared, 2 gates, 1 clean pooh box, 1 empty wee tank, 1 full water tank, 2 horse fly bites, 7 nights, £25, 0 cows.