Sunday, 12 May 2013

Wallingford to Abingdon - Sunday 12th May 2013

We had a lovely view of Wallingford from the boat at night with St. Peter’s Spire and the Boathouse pub light up.
a wallingford at night
We were woken early by Phoenix and as it was a nice sunny day with no wind we decided to make an early start for Abingdon. After breakfast however a cool wind picked up and this seemed to be against us all the way. We reached Benson Lock just before 9.00am and a small cruiser was already trying to operate the lock but did not seem to be having any luck opening the gates. Fortunately the Lock keeper came on duty and sorted out the problem.
A little further on we spotted this Cormorant drying his wings in the sun. We were tormented by lots of Red Kites who would swoop low over the boat and even land in adjacent trees. However as soon as I got the camera out they would soar off out of range as though they were playing with us.
b Cormorant drying wings
Not a great selection of boats this morning, there were the usual crop of narrow boats and cruisers but we did see this Dutch Barge and one cruiser flying the Skull and Cross Bones.
C Boats compend
We soon reached the mouth of the River Thame which joins the Thames just south of Dorchester.
d River Thame
After leaving Day’s Lock the river takes a long sweep around to the west and it seems that you will never reach Didcot Power Station.
e Didcot power Station
We then passed under the delightful Clifton Hampden Bridge. Nicholson’s guide shows a mooring area just up river from the bridge but it is just the rough bank and a notice proclaims that mooring is £4 per night.
f Clifton Bridge
The flood levels are usually marked on the Lock cottages and here you can see how high up the wall the 1894 and the 1947 levels were. The high waters must have been quite daunting for the river residents.
h Water levels at Lock cottage
About half a mile before Abingdon the Swift Ditch enters the river. This ditch cuts off the sweeping bend of the river through Abingdon and the Lock and presumably is why it is so named.
g Swift Ditch
We moored up on the Abbey Meadows side of the river next to the mini golf course just in time for lunch. As the afternoon was a little damp we had a  relaxing time reading and crafting. Later it dried up and I took Phoenix for a walk around the historical town; more later.

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