Friday, 22 July 2011

Summit day…

No, not a trip up Everest, but the summit of the S. Oxford.  Eleven empty miles, apart from Fenny Compton.  And what a lovely morning it was, blue skies with fluffy white clouds, such a joy to see the sun again.  Within about 15 minutes of setting off we were behind a very slow boat sporting a slow-revving Russell Newbury engine, and helmed by ‘Mrs’ (‘Mr’ was off the boat taking a walk, we discovered later)  So slow in fact that Rog had to keep coming out of gear to avoid ramming them up the rear end.  The first few miles of the summit is tortuous, with one bend following another, and you often seem to be going back on yourself.  Poor ‘Mrs’ was fighting the tiller at every turn, and came practically to a standstill whenever a boat appeared coming the other way.  She was determined though, that she wasn’t pulling in to let us past, so we had to be very patient. After about 45 minutes of this, she picked ‘Mr’ up at a bridge, and proceeded to get off the boat herself for her walk.  Things proceeded a little quicker after that but when we were still up close behind them (not able, with our modern engine, to go any slower than tickover) after another 45 minutes, we heaved a sigh of relief when she stopped walking and he pulled over to moor up.  We waved cheerily as we sailed on by, gritting our teeth in the process!  .  I know it’s not possible to cruise fast along here, and we don’t ever cruise particularly fast ourselves, but sometimes people with slow revving engines forget that not everyone can go as slowly as them without coming out of gear, and hence loosing steerage.  Anyway, we enjoyed the rest of the morning’s cruise, taking in the wide-open countryside with barely a building to be seen.  We stopped for water at Fenny Compton and decided that lunch in the pub was called for, so we moored a little way past and walked back.

SDC11052Oh, what a beautiful morning…

SDC11054oh, what a beautiful day!

SDC11053Up close and personal!

SDC11055Empty landscape

SDC11058A bridge, seemingly in the middle of the field

SDC11059This is the famous aerial, which quarters the landscape, sometimes in front, sometimes behind, sometimes to the left and sometimes to the right, then in front of you again – it’s very disorientating!

6.9 miles and 0 locks

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