Meandering amonst the meadows

We weren’t quite sure what to expect from the Thames. On the Trent, mooring was more or less restricted to the floating pontoons around the locks, and we had to call ahead on our VHS radio to alert lock keepers we were approaching, but not on the Thames.

Approaching Eynsham lock

The Trent’s frequent electric charging posts were a real bonus, just paying for what we needed on our precharged card. But it felt a bit like a motorway, plenty of boats getting from A to B as quickly as possible. The Upper Thames has a very different feel. Its a lot quieter, and people are simply enjoying the river. And the riverside pubs.

The Old Swan at Radcott

We’ve taken to the challenge of wild mooring. Who needs armco or pins when you can tie to a tree.

And poor Eric got stung by the nettles as well

Ok we do, but its been a novelty that we’ve enjoyed. Perhaps its the time of year, mid May, that everything is fresh and green.

So many trees, hard to see where the river flows

Or even yellow

We found ourselves a bit of steep bank that we could get close enough into to be able to get on and off

And a field full of buttercups

We a footpath into the village of Eynsham

Just outside of Eynsham, so whilst I sat in the field with my little electric spinning wheel

Eric sat on the roof of the boat wiring in the last of our solar panals. Needless to say retro fitting panels that require wiring being threaded up, under and behind every conceivable obstruction is not to be recommended and all I can say is no wonder it took him so long to psyche himself up to tackle the job.

No rest for the wicked

Whilst Eric was engrossed in his project, I thought I’d take myself for a walk up that hill, only to discover that its part of the Wytham Woods estate, owned by one of the Oxford Colleges. It is a research site containing ancient woodland that has remained under strict preservation since the 1940s and the general public are not allowed in without special permission. Perhaps next time we are here, I’ll be better prepared and will get that permission in advance.

Beacon Hill and Wytham woods

In the mean time I’ll just happily watch another sunset

The Notorious Narrows and Shallows

The last 4 miles into Llangollen is notoriously known for being narrow and shallow, and full of blind bends and happy hirers. We seriously debated whether to take the boat or catch the bus. Not one to shirk a challenge and so what if we scratched the paintwork, we set off on Firecrest to complete our journey. I say we, I set off on foot to see us safely through the Trevor basin bridge, but I quickly realised I was walking a well trodden and very well maintained footpath. As the stone slope up this bridge shows just how well worn.

I’m not sure what H&S would have to say about this slope

But it was a beautiful walk, so i just carried on.

Looking towards llangollen

I suspect this hotel garden features in many wedding photos,

The Bryn Howell hotel

some lucky to live just off the towpath

Who doesn’t dream of a white picket fence

But the last mile the canal was cut out from the rock face

That’s one worried helmsman

And although the photos don’t show it we could still see jagged edges sticking out. Luckily there is signage informing boaters that it is single way transit for the next couple of hundred metres and advices a crew member to walk ahead. Luckily I did so and was able to call Eric on when I saw the route was clear.

All clear

Thankfully on this journey we had anticipated the majority of boats would set off in the morning leaving a fairly clear run upstream. And it proved a wise plan to wait for rush hour to be over as I only had to phone back to Eric and tell him to wait twice. Not that waiting was a problem when faced with the magnificent scenery around us.

The Dee valley

And our reward was to arrive in llangollen unscathed with a choice of mooring, all with electric shore power and water points. (And I’d more than clocked up 10000 steps on my fitbit)

Probably a good job we had power, cause we weren’t going to get much solar here.