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Matthew Rodliffe

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  1. I'm guessing if you've got a large party on a boat, one or two people could get up early to get moving and the rest can just lie in bed til they feel like getting up?
  2. Are the red boards pretty common then? Do they tend to be out for long periods or usually just an hour or two while the currents are at their worst? Haha that sounds reasonably reassuring! Yes indeed I was going to speak to them as well
  3. I emailed a narrowboat firm in Oxford (city) today whose website mainly talks about the Oxford Canal - they told me they are happy for their boats to go on the Thames but "you would need to buy an additional license and it's subject to weather conditions". But going by what @OldGoat and others have said, we would have to be pretty unlucky for that to be a problem in May? Nevertheless the thought of arranging a trip, paying over 3 grand to hire a couple boats and then finding we're not allowed to go on the river makes me a bit uneasy. Would I be worrying too much? Thanks for all the replies to this by the way, invaluable to have some expert advice and people's points of view ?
  4. Yes that's the area I was thinking of really - the stretch from Oxford to Reading or down to Henley, probably not much above Oxford. And yes the Nene looks interesting: https://dove.cccbr.org.uk/googleMap.php?lat=52.48181&lon=-0.46747 A bit further for us to travel (from Cornwall) but worth considering by the looks of it. Thanks.
  5. Ah, I'd read somewhere that locks operate between 9am and 6pm or something like that, didn't realise there was a self-service option. Or is that not for novices? It might be a how-long-is-a-piece-of-string question, but as a rough guide how long does it usually take to negotiate a lock?
  6. Another question - I recall someone saying "whatever you do, avoid peak holiday season on the canals" I don't know what they were counting as peak season but our trip would probably have to be spring half-term week - end of May - what would the Thames be like then traffic wise? I notice hire rates are a fair bit higher than say a couple weeks previously but I don't know if we'd have much option. Would the locks etc be significantly busier? (Going back to my point about having to stick to a schedule).
  7. Yes, indeed, there are plenty of options - from memory the South Oxford Canal and the Kennet & Avon are popular for ringing tours. But we as a team have rung at some of the towers near the latter on normal car-based trips (not that that really matters but its always nice to go somewhere new) and looking at waterway maps and "Dove" (the directory of towers with rings of bells), this bit of the Thames is fairly abundant, as much as any English waterway from what I can see. Hopefully this link will work - the Dove map around that area https://dove.cccbr.org.uk/googleMap.php?lat=51.46857&lon=-0.98104 Yes there are quite a few in Oxford too - if that link works you can scroll the map around.
  8. Many thanks indeed for the replies... sounding promising so far. The group in question is a team of bellringers; part of the reason I'm looking at this particular stretch is that there's a good number of ringable towers that look like they're within easy walking distance of the bank. We'd probably be 20 or more in number so I'm guessing would need 2 or 3 boats, I don't know how practical that is? There is a boat hire firm at Caversham whose website I've come across; I was thinking one possibility would be to go from there upstream as far as say Benson, then back downstream to say Henley, and back to Caversham (obviously the distances I've mentioned are just thoughts - I don't even know how many days we'd go for yet and I haven't properly worked out cruising times etc.) The other consideration would be keeping to an itinerary - on ringing trips you book a tower for say 45 mins and usually a local ringer turns up to let you in - obviously we wouldn't want to fall behind and keep people waiting. Clearly we'd allow ample time to get between towers but is there the possibility of major hold-ups on locks or because of river conditions? (This is something I can discuss with other ringers who've done boating trips but from threads I've seen on fb groups etc most of them seem to have been on canals - I don't know whether there's any major differences). As regards cruisers vs narrowboats @mrsmelly that is something I'd thought about - are the former very much more spacious/comfortable then? I'm thinking some of our gang might want the space/comfort of the former and others might want the traditional/heritage feel of the latter. Maybe we could go for one of each!
  9. Hello, I have never been on a canal/river holiday but have always been interested in doing so. Recently I have been looking into the possibility of a group of us doing one possibly next spring/early summer and, for reasons I won't bore you with now, have been wondering about somewhere on the stretch of the Thames between say Oxford and Henley. I notice there's a couple narrowboat/cruiser hire bases along that stretch, but it doesn't seem to be one of the really popular areas (compared with, say, the Oxford Canal) from what I've seen online etc. Is there a reason for this? Is it less picturesque than some of the canals, or more difficult for novices, or unreliable because of flow/current etc? Thanks in advance Matthew
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