Monday, January 17, 2011

Back to where we came from - well not quite

Blocked off entrance to Jericho Boatyard
After turning around we spent the night on the 48H moorings just north of Jericho Footbridge. The ones opposite the old Jericho Boatyard were full still and College Cruisers crowd the moorings too.

Once again we ticked over for quite a while. We were not "ticked off" though, in the sense of us being fed up by this! We both enjoy looking at other narrowboats - a habit picked up when we were thinking about our own build.

St Edwards Lift Bridge (238) is left up - it leads directly to school playing fields so presumably this prevents "escapees" from school disappearing along the towpath! However there is obviously school activity with a bit of a jungle gym by a large unofficial paddling pool caused by floods.

Wolvercote Lock has bywashes both sides of the lock jaws which meant I needed to put the throttle down and go for it! Once upon a time I would not have been confident to do this, but now I let John do most of the hard work (i.e. locks) I have learned to trust my judgement!

The we came to THAT lift bridge, 233 under the A40  - John struggled to open it on the way down and on the way back it was almost impossible. Even his weight (and I am not allowed to say what it is) was not enough to move it more than a couple of feet. Hanging on the chain he eventually managed to get it down so he could put his arms on the beam and put his full weight on it. Then it was a case of sitting on the balance beam to keep it open - I had to get through quickly!

Now I expect you are wondering why I did not get off and help. I would have had to get off on the off side and clamber over barbed wire and recently planted trees. The boat would have had to be tied by the bows to the bridge as there are no mooring rings on the off side, nor are there on the near side, by the way.

Close up of lift bridge and approach
It must be a nightmare for single handers. It is apparently difficult even in the summer when the wooden bed has a chance to dry out. John thought he had injured himself, fortunately he recovered the next day. A formal complaint has been lodged with British Waterways - on health and safety grounds, and we await the response.

The rest of our cruise passed with out any more problems, unless you count getting absolutely soaked in what the weather men call "a heavy shower". We were in Roundham Lock, what a welcome to the Thrupp area!

So here we are, moored just beyond Gunpowder Wharf, pins in and 6" of water to jump over to get to the bank! Now we hear that the River Cherwell is in flood so it looks as if we shall be here for a few days - at least we will be in good company again!

Jericho Footbridge to Gunpowder Wharf, Thrupp
3 hours 50 minutes, 5.75 miles, 4 locks

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