Time to move on from Oxford

We had found ourselves moored below Medley bridge for almost a week, thoroughly enjoying being tucked away peacefully, yet close enough to enjoy the best of Oxford’s lively atmosphere. We had even been lucky enough to realise that a pair of kingfishers had a nest right opposite us.

A kingfisher treat

We suspect the young had hatched, but they stay in the nest for 3 to 4 weeks, it would have been pushing our luck to stay on the off chance of seeing the brood emerge. We were also running low on water so needed to move on. It was only as we were pulling away that we saw the nice post we had tied to actually had a notice on it…. 2 days only

A very well camouflaged sign

Ah well, we will show them the photo to prove our ignorance if anyone pursues us for a mooring fee. We actually feel quite strongly about respecting mooring restrictions, otherwise it would be hypocritical for us to complain about the continual moorers who belligerently believe it’s their right to moor wherever they want for as long as they want. Being continual cruisers we haven’t set out to do any of the recognised cruising rings promoted by the hire companies, however we set off to do the Oxford ring.

Screen shot from AC canal planner

We left the river at Sheepwash channel,

Sheepwash channel

Where the Rewley Road swing bridge is being restored as a scheduled ancient monument. I’m very glad it will remain open, as it takes 2 men to operate it, allowing passage into Oxford,

Rewley road swing bridge

Through Isis lock

Isis Lock

which is effectively the end of navigation on the canal for most boats as the short branch that continues only has a 35 foot winding hole.

Looking down past the residential moorings towards the terminus of the Oxford canal

So we cruised north up the Oxford canal

Past some houses with lovely gardens

And returned to the river via Dukes Cut

Entering Dukes Cut

before continuing our journey downstream past Medley bridge and onward.

Its approximately 8 miles and a 4 hour journey, but the environment agency that looks after the river has some frustrating rules about the water points, only using a rigid 7m hose with no fittings, in theory to prevent contamination and back flow, however as we have a 20m flexible hose with brass fittings we are going to have to make some compromises. And so this time we opted to return to the canal to fill our tank. But it wasn’t just a maintenance cruise, we did also see some lovely canal, and some very nice homes.

We made the mistake of cruising past all the rowing clubs on Saturday morning.

It was very busy, although if the bridge grafiti is to be believed not everyone is taking the strain.

“Perfectly Legal” -someones got a sense of humour,

We’ve enjoyed Oxford far more than we expected. Its been fun to explore and theres still plenty left for the next time.