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Dukes cut or down to isis lock on the sheepwash channel.


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Both routes lovely and full of interest, if its a return trip then Sheepwash heading South and Dukes cut on the return. Can sometimes be tricky turning in to Isis lock (heading North) in longer boats. If its a one way trip then Dukes cut might just win as its a unique bit of the Thames.

 

..............Dave

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If you like a great view (of Oxford) from afar, then Duke's gets my vote. The first 150 yards is a bit drear, but gets better as you approach the River proper.

'Tover way is a bit gloomy  and a bit of a juggle as you exit the canal and at the other end of the Sheepwash channel.

Many other folks would disagree.

If you have time pop upstream and overnight by open fields.

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We usually come up the sheepwash from the Thames onto the Oxford at Isis lock , but this year came up through Dukes cut . Nice views of Oxford  ( over our shoulder ) disappointed by the ramshackled , barely floating assortment of 20 or so boats in and around Dukes cut, would make passing another boat difficult.  Bunny

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Its a 1 way trip. Is this area of the thames fast flowing......or is it no different to canal....we are a dlow boat at 3mph tops.....due to a small prm 120 box. Ptopper bricking it to be honest as it 30 miles to reading...i have fast flowing river in my head but im hoping for a gentle barely flowing meander and enjoy it..... 

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The flow of the Thames is in your favour. We came off the Thames a few days ago, and were against the 'tide' and it's was flowing but quite slow. I would, in your case, go off at Dukes Cut. Pay for licence at first Lock. We arrived on the Thames late afternoon last year and turned right, and found a nice quiet remote spot and spent the night. Paid the licence at the first Lock.Turned around and 'set off'. Enjoy the Thames.

we are at Thrupp and heading north, look out for us and wave accordingly. Can you remind me of a boat name and colour and I will look out for you also. (And wave accordingly).

 

Martyn & Margaret.

Edited by Nightwatch
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At the moment the thames will be benign .  It comes up quite slowly as the catchment is big. Just bear in mind stopping distance with the river behind. Lock cuts are long mainly and you feel like you are crawling.The ‘fastest ‘ bit is normaly through oxford as its narrower.

reading with fresh on is far worse.

remember you should moor into the current if you are even slightly worried. So going downstream turn round if mooring in stream.

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6 minutes ago, Nightwatch said:

Can you remind me of a boat name and colour...

Can't recall the name but I believe it's the blue and white one with the... er... highlighted rivets...

 

Edited by WotEver
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Just a balancing view for Sheepwash.  An interesting stretch of canal, a few decent places to moor (try and stay away from the railway, it is V. Noisy) . Good pubs easily accessible. College Boats for water/pumpout/chandlery.

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Boat is called rosaline. Blue an cream tim tyler boat. So turn into the flow to moor up? Thanks so much all for the heads up. I take it space is not an issue then. Any recommendations on moorings overnight? We aim to do the thames and reading onto the kennet in 2 days.

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I know of many people who have done the trip in two days, personally, I think it's a hard slog. But each to their own. I don't think you'll have any problem mooring once you're on your way. Difficult to suggest somewhere when we're not there. Just ask a lockie in the evening of your 'sleepover'. 

Remember on the Thames you need to tie off fore and aft and switch the engine off.

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At this moment in time the River Thames looks to be very sedate:

 

http://riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk/

 

Make sure you have good fore end and stern end mooring lines as it is a requirement to hold the boat against the lock wall going both up stream and down stream - and some locks are quite big (all are wide), but surprisingly when we came up from Reading to Dukes Cut in early May I was allowed to keep the engine running in every lock :captain:

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1 hour ago, Matt&Jo said:

Its a 1 way trip. Is this area of the thames fast flowing......or is it no different to canal....we are a dlow boat at 3mph tops.....due to a small prm 120 box. Ptopper bricking it to be honest as it 30 miles to reading...i have fast flowing river in my head but im hoping for a gentle barely flowing meander and enjoy it..... 

 

The Thames does flow and rivers can be much more challenging than canals. Keep a close eye on the Thames conditions and don't go if there is significant flow. Although many people say going downstream is easy I believe the opposite is true. Going downstream you will need to stop the boat on the flow in a couple of places which can be tricky if you are under-powered. The most likely difficult bit will be the run down to Osney lock which will be your first lock if you go the Sheepwash route. I suggest you moor on the canal and walk down and watch a couple of boats go through to get the feel of it. I assume you are going up the K&A so the Kennet through Reading is likely to be the fastest flowing water you encounter, this will be upstream so might be a bit slow but a whole lot easier to control the boat.

 

................Dave

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11 hours ago, Matt&Jo said:

Its a 1 way trip. Is this area of the thames fast flowing......or is it no different to canal....we are a dlow boat at 3mph tops.....due to a small prm 120 box. Ptopper bricking it to be honest as it 30 miles to reading...i have fast flowing river in my head but im hoping for a gentle barely flowing meander and enjoy it..... 

 

We took our narrowboat down to the Thames last July for our first time on a river after 2 years of ownership. I wouldn't say I was bricking it, as I'd had a number of chats with the lockie at Abingdon first, but I was still a little nervous. However, we loved it so much we intend a repeat trip from the Napton area starting in 2 weeks time.

 

I was not aware that a PRM120 gearbox should be a cause for concern. That's what we have, in a 45 foot boat with riverp Barrus Shire engine, and had no problems at all going both upstream and downstream between Abingdon and Lechlade. In fact the boat seemed to love being on wide deep water (as did I). The river had a very slow flow at the time, as I suspect it has currently although I haven't been down to check this week. 

 

Here's where you can check the conditions at each lock... 

 

http://riverconditions.environment-agency.gov.uk

 

If it shows no stream warnings (as it does right now) you should be fine. If it's red or yellow and increasing (there will also be warning boards up at the affected locks in this case) then stay off or stay tied up. If we get very heavy rain (hopefully now fairly unlikely) it takes several days to get down to Oxford from the tributaries in the Cotswolds so there should be plenty of time to get safe.

 

We did the river section between Dukes Cut and Sheepwash in both directions and eventually left the river at Sheepwash to do the canal section heading out of Oxford. This year I will go down the canal into Oxford, and on to the river via the Sheepwash channel, purely for the same of completeness. Personally I much preferred the river section. Heading downstream, in particular, the Port Meadow section was very interesting. It's nice and wide and open with good views (unlike the canal that's out of sight over the other side of the meadow) but don't be tempted to get close to the meadow as it's very shallow there.

 

We came on to the river in the afternoon at Dukes Cut (don't be put off by talk of boats moored there, you'll be through it in minutes) and then turned right to go upstream to get a feel for the river before deciding how long to buy a licence for the next morning at the first lock we came to. There is a long stretch between Dukes Cut and the first upstream lock at Eynsham/Swinford. By the time we moored for the night by a field with a lovely view of Wytham Woods on the nearby hill I was already loving it. It was wide so turning was no problem next morning and we headed back downstream and bought a 1 week licence at the first lock we came to, just downstream from Dukes Cut. A week later we bought a 2nd week as we were still enjoying the river so much. We only went as far as Oxford East Street that day (watch out for the very low bridge under Botley Road just before East Street Thames Visitor Moorings) before mooring up next to Nightwatch and then meeting Martyn. If any food shopping is needed this is a good place to stop as there is a Waitrose half a mile away up Botley Road (turn left at the bridge) and an Aldi another half mile further on. If you turn right you are only a short walk from Oxford city centre.

 

You may be in a hurry to meet a deadline but if not I would strongly suggest getting a 7 day licence and enjoying the river for a while. The difference in cost is quite small, and in the grand scheme of overall boating costs it is trivial.

 

NOTE. I will probably be going to Aldi in my car on Wednesday morning next week so if you need lots of food, and are at East Street at that time, I could give you a lift. Just PM me. If not, then another good shopping opportunity is to moor anywhere in Abingdon (up to 3 days free) where there is a large Waitrose, plus many other shops, about half a mile away depending where you moor. Most convenient, if you can get a space, is on the right hand side at Abbey Meadow by the newly refurbished, and open again as of last weekend, outdoor swimming pool and the children's play area.

 

Whatever you do, look forward to, rather than fear, your trip down my local river!

 

Sean

 

PS if you do decide to go via Sheepwash rather than Dukes Cut, and fancy an extra pair of hands to help you through your first few river locks, then if I'm available (depending on when you are doing the Oxford to Abingdon stretch) I could get the bus to Oxford and meet you at Isis lock and accompany you as far as Abingdon lock or moorings from where I can walk home. Again, just PM me if you are interested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Nightwatch said:

The flow of the Thames is in your favour. We came off the Thames a few days ago, and were against the 'tide' and it's was flowing but quite slow. I would, in your case, go off at Dukes Cut. Pay for licence at first Lock. We arrived on the Thames late afternoon last year and turned right, and found a nice quiet remote spot and spent the night. Paid the licence at the first Lock.Turned around and 'set off'. Enjoy the Thames.

we are at Thrupp and heading north, look out for us and wave accordingly. Can you remind me of a boat name and colour and I will look out for you also. (And wave accordingly).

 

Martyn & Margaret.

Did we cross paths at some point, we came off on Friday (ending up at thrupp that night) having been up to lechlade and down to abingdon. I was on my own boat (Sark) and was travelling with another boat called Freedom

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We came off the Thames at the lower exit, two night opposite College Cruisers, two nights adjacent to south Kidlington and just had two nights in Thrupp near the newly renamed Highwayman. Off we go today. To.................? who knows, north bound. We don't rush.

 

so, in answer, maybe.

 

 

Edited by Nightwatch
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2 minutes ago, Nightwatch said:

We came off the Thames at the lower exit, two night opposite College Cruisers, two nights adjacent to south Kidlington and just had two nights in Thrupp near the newly renamed Highwayman. Off we go today. To.................? who knows, north bound. We don't rush.

 

so, in answer, maybe.

 

 

If you are in no rush then our paths may cross again as I head south from Napton to Oxford. But only if it takes you 2 weeks to get to Napton as I won't be leaving Calcutt until a fortnight today. Or maybe the next day.

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We may meet up then. I'm going away for. Four days with my big brother, it's a thing we do every few years, we intend to be around Banbury. Probably set of the first Wednesday or Thursday in July. But wave at the boat as Margaret will be in residence with her family.

 

Be good to see you again. I have been following your adventures on the GU (South).

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13 hours ago, Matt&Jo said:

Boat is called rosaline. Blue an cream tim tyler boat. So turn into the flow to moor up? Thanks so much all for the heads up. I take it space is not an issue then. Any recommendations on moorings overnight? We aim to do the thames and reading onto the kennet in 2 days.

If you really have not done much river boating, may I suggest a bit of practicing manœuvres? Once on the river, when you need to stop, say for mooring overnight, or before a lock, the trick is to turn round so you are facing the current, and then moor. Practice this by choosing a nice wide bit of river, with no other boats around, and turn 180 into the current, and see how you need to steer and rev the engine to stay still - judge this by looking at the banks - then turn back downstream. This will give you an idea of how much time, and space, you need to do this manœuvre. If you want to try stopping facing downstream, then just put the boat into reverse and check that you can get the boat to stop and hold itself steady against the flow. You may be surprised how long this takes. Have fun!

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5 minutes ago, Nightwatch said:

We may meet up then. I'm going away for. Four days with my big brother, it's a thing we do every few years, we intend to be around Banbury. Probably set of the first Wednesday or Thursday in July. But wave at the boat as Margaret will be in residence with her family.

 

Be good to see you again. I have been following your adventures on the GU (South).

I'll let you know how we're doing nearer the time. It will probably take us 3 or 4 days to get to Banbury as we're also in no rush as, by then, my school run commitments with the granddaughter will be over until September. So perhaps more than a wave might still be possible.

 

The southern GU already seems so long ago!

 

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2 hours ago, Stilllearning said:

 Once on the river, when you need to stop, say for mooring overnight, or before a lock, the trick is to turn round so you are facing the current,  

I don't think you are but it sounds like you are advocating heading the current while waiting for a lock. Not a good idea trying to wind directly above a lock as you suffer from the pull of the weir.

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ditchcrawler is stating the obvious but perhaps it needs saying. The most important thing to get right when going down river, after not running down canoeists/rowers/swimmers of course, is to go into the lock cut rather than towards the weir. Even the normal flow over those weirs is rather a lot of water, and once your boat is past the dividing point and into the lock cut it's just like being on a canal, easy to get onto the lock landing.

 

It's a good idea to have a map so you know where the weir streams are as you approach them; there's usually a sign <LOCK or LOCK> to point you the right way, but sometimes it's not there, or hidden behind foliage.

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