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The Waterways Wanderings of Narrowboat “Just Heaven”

Cropredy Marina

The canal was busy today with lots of boats and short queues at some the locks, but otherwise an uneventful trip back to the marina.


Near Belchers Lift Bridge

An interesting day today!

We set off early as the forecast was for another hot day. As we approached Duke’s cut lock we could see a small GRP cruiser in there. It was crewed by two young men (they looked like students). They appeared to be having problems, so we went up to take a look. They had started to descend the lock but their boat was caught up and was listing at quite an angle. The problem was that they had left a fender down, one of the fat blue ones that river boaters seem to love. They appeared to be completely comfused as to what the problem was. So we explained and re-filled the lock in an attempt to get the fender out. It was well and truly jammed, but with a quite a bit of pulling it came free. So we started emptying the lock again. The boat was still stuck.  As the lock only has a fall of about 18″ we were able to pull the boat over at an angle so that the widest part was above the lockside. They eventually got through. I asked which way they were going. “Back into town” was the reply. They didn’t have a windlass with them, so how they were going to manage Wolvercote lock I dont know!

We carried on up through Thrupp etc to moor up under a tree for shade just past Aynho Wharf.

After supper we were out for our usual evening stroll when we meet a man who was concerned as his wife had dropped her phone and couldn’t find it. They were staying in a camper van at “The Pig Place” near Nell’s bridge. We said that we would look out for the phone on our way back to the boat. We retraced our steps along the towpath to the boat keeping an eye out for the phone.  We hadn’t found it by the time we got back to the boat so decided to extend our walk and check a bit further. In the end we walked all the way to Nell’s bridge and into their campsite where we found the phone by the bins.

We were going to take the phone back to the pub where they were having a meal, but started to ring so I answered it. It was the lady’s daughter. She was walking the towpath calling the phone hoping to hear it ring. Soon we met them coming the other way and we reunited the very thankful lady with her phone.


Above Swinford Bridge

A short day today.

We decided to make the most of the day left on our Thames licence  by just chugging along slowly so we would get one more day on the river. Also the temperature was very hot so an early stop would be welcome.

The Thames above Oxford is really beautiful and full of wildlife. We pottered along at only 1-2 mph  enjoying the view, stopping earlyish and sitting out with a glass of wine!


Near Tadpole Bridge

For the last few days we have been at Lechlade with our daughters, son in laws and most of our grandchildren. They were camping at Bridge House campsite. The time was spent chilling out, walking and playing pooh sticks at Inglesham Footbridge.

They all left this afternoon so we set off downstream  for a few hours and then moored up against a farmer’s field a little bit upstream of Tadpole Bridge.



We woke up to a clear, cloudless sky. Even though we had planned a lie in, we were away by 8:15 to take advantage of the lovely sunny weather.



Another slow chug day. We first thought that we would stop short of Lechlade and then finish the journey tomorrow. But we couldn’t find a suitable mooring, so carried on to reach here by about two o’clock.

The cows in the field next to moorings take a delight in eating anthing loose on the boats. They also lick the sides of the boats!


Near Shifford Lock

Only a short, slow chug today. We dont need to get to Lechlade until Friday so have plenty of time. Lots of bird wathing today. We saw several Red Kites, Buzzards, a Kestrel catching a vole, geese (Barnacle, Canada & Greylag) and two Little Egrets. We made a short stop for lunch at Newbridge, then on to moor up above Shifford lock. The Thames above Oxford is very different from further downstream. Much more natural and rural.



Above King’s Lock

We are now on tne Thames. Even though we are heading for Lechlade we started off going downstream. Our usual early start saw us at Osney Lock before 8 o’clock, we also passed through Iffey Lock before the lock keeper was on duty. So is wasnt until Sandfoed that we had to pay our Thames licence. The weather was alternately sunny and rainy most of the day. We stopped at Abingdon for a full English breakfast and a pop to Waitrose, then back upstream. The town council at Abingdon provide some very good, free moorings,
At Iffey lock someone had put this hand made sign

After a bit of looking we managed to find a mooring against a farmer’s field just above King’s lock


Bridge 239a

A longish day today 19 miles and 12 locks in about 9 hours, though it wasn’t onerous. We started out by filling up with diesel and getting a new gas bottle at Aynho Wharf. This used to be “Walker Services”, but they now trade as “Bridge 190″

Quite a few boats about, mostly private until we neared Oxford. We didn’t have to queue at locks though. Sometimes had to wait for one boat, but that was all. It has been very windy, which made steering difficult at times, but the weather’s been not too bad, just a couple of quick, light showers.

As we approached Oxford we met several crews on ‘College Cruisers’ hire boats. None of them seemed to know what they were doing, one group in particular nearly drained the canal!

It’s difficult to find moorings from Wolvercote lock on towards Isis lock, but we found somewhere just before bridge 239A.

On to Thames tomorrow.



Aynho Wharf

We drove up yesterday afternoon arriving about 3:30.

After unloading I replaced the alternator regulator that I scavenged from the old alternator, given to me by Middlewich Narrowboats, with a new one I had bought on ebay. I started the engine and checked the charging voltage, all seemed ok.

This morning started with a quick reverse over to the services for a pumpout, then we were on our way at 8:30. Quite a lot of boats about today. We have met one at almost every lock. At Banbury a quick stop to pop into M&S for a bit of food shopping, then off again.

The weather has been a bit odd, with periods of bright sun, followed by short rain storms. (April showers in July!).

The Red Arrowse entertained  us with two fly pasts this afternoon, unfortunately we weren’t quick enough with camera.

This afternoon was spent watching the Wimbledon mens final on the ipad tethered to Heddi’s phone. Isn’t technology marvellous.

Now moored near Walker Services at Aynho. We need some deisel but they don’t open on Sundays, we’ll call in first thing in the morning.

I’ve been checking the charging voltage during the day, all seems ok with the new regulator.



Just a short cruise down the 5 Claydon locks and the next three to the marina.

We had thought they they would be set for us, but not long after six o’clock a boat came past so we had to turn them all.


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