Sunday, 1 September 2013

and now to Oxford for a couple of days ….

Friday 30th August

An excellent start to the day – Dave spotted a kingfisher fishing from the mooring rope of nb Faith moored opposite!  He took a couple of photos before ‘Dusty’ the coal boat came along and it zipped off.

kingfisher at thrupp by dave

We stopped first at the Thrupp services for the usual cassette and rubbish disposal, and had a chat to Maffi ( while we waited for the water tank to fill.  Nice to meet you Maffi!  and also to use facilities which are kept in such a good condition, unlike some we have seen recently.

As I went up to open the lift bridge, a nervous couple approached to see how it worked, not having been this way before.  Not sure why they were so apprehensive – they have come up from the K and A and that seems to have its fair share of scary bridges!  It seemed sensible to let them through, then another boat appeared behind us so we waved them through too.  Maffi found this most amusing - I just hope it’s banking some good karma!

There were 3 manually operated lift bridges on the way to Oxford; you have to unlock them with the BW key then just use the chain for opening and closing.  They are quite heavy to close and lock for a lightweight like me, but the hard bit was unlocking – you follow the instruction to turn the key clockwise one turn, but you actually had to go anti-clockwise on two of them – someone had helpfully engraved this on the first.  Here is one of them – looks like a lovely quiet spot ……

looks like a rural lift bridge

right under the A34.

under the A34

At Duke’s Lock above Duke’s Cut we met a cyclist who was riding one of the cycle routes across the country.  Having done Route 4 (which goes along the K and A) last year, he is now on his way to Holyhead along Route 5 – camping along the way, so he has got good weather for it!  You can just see him in this shot of Duke’s lock;

dukes lock with cyclist

Here is the entrance to Duke’s Cut with the second lock;

to dukes cut

The approach to Oxford was more rural than we expected with some colourful bankside flowers such as this purple loosestrife;

purple loosestrife

We had a brief stop at Aristotle Bridge while Dave cycled down to recce the moorings.  The last spot on the little cut at the end was just being taken, so we moored just past College Cruisers opposite the back of St Barnabas’ church.  Its clock chimed the hours rather pleasantly but the chimes are turned off overnight.  Wish we could say the same about the trains!

st barnabas opposite jericho moorings

We had some lunch and headed off into the city, which we have not visited before.  We headed for the tourist information centre to buy the guide which has a useful map, and then up the Carfax Tower. We had a guess at what we saw, trying to ignore the air-con units on the roofs nearby.  We reckon this is Brasenose with its knobbly pointy bits;

brasenose college from carfax tower

and Christchurch (shame about the clutter on the roofs in the foreground – there’s only so much you can crop);

maybe christchurch from carfax tower

the weathervane atop the tower;

carfax weathervane

and some of the graffiti adorning the lead roof of the tower.  Most of it seemed to be by foreign visitors.

graffiti on carfax tower roof

We followed part of the walking tour in the guide book to look at Christchurch college, a stroll along Christchurch Meadows, a peep through the gates at Brasenose;

brasenose through the gate

past the Radcliffe Camera (shame about the scaffolding, not to mention the missing top of the dome);

radcliffe camera

and back to the boat.  We were very tired after several early mornings and an afternoon’s walking in the hot sun so we went to the Four Candles (as we had enjoyed the Two Ronnies ‘Fork Handles’ sketch and couldn’t be bothered to go any further) for fish and chips and a pint – a cheap and cheerful Wetherspoon’s.

fork handles

6 miles, 4 locks, 4 lift bridges and what felt like 10 miles of walking!

We aim to stay till Monday (got some Morse and Lewis location-spotting to do) then head off down towards Reading.


  1. Dear Debby and Dave, I very much enjoyed reading the interesting account of your visit to Oxford. I hope you don't mind me pointing out that in the view from Carfax Tower the 'knobbly pointy bits' are actually the Bodleian Library (Schools Quadrangle, with the Tower of the Five Orders on the right). Brasenose College would be situated somewhere between your two photos from the top of Carfax Tower. "A peep through the gates at Brasenose" is in fact a view of All Soul's College. When you took that photo, Brasenose was behind you on the other side of the square, You can just catch a glimpse of the gate to Brasenose College on the far left of the Radcliffe Camera photo. Please don't think I'm being pedantic, as I don't want to criticise your fine blog with the lovely photographs. Regards from Adrian.

    1. Hi Adrian, no worries! We only know about Oxford from Morse and Lewis so most of it's guesswork if there are no signs to read. Next time I'll try to snap the colleges I meant to! Sorry this reply is so late - I haven't got used to checking my gmail on a regular basis yet.
      PS do you have a boat?