Having got thoroughly bored sitting out the rain yesterday (and it really did rain!) we were determined that whatever the weather, we were moving on a bit today. We set off under heavy overcast this morning, still hot and very humid. We filled with water and emptied loo cassettes and rubbish at the junction then through the stop lock onto the North Oxford. We made fairly good progress for a while until we caught up with a Valley Cruises hire boat. They only seem to have 2 speeds – very fast or very slow! We had a hard job staying behind them, we kept having to come out of gear and just drift, they were so damn slow. And a good job we did as they didn’t seem to be able to judge whether they were closest to a bridge, or to narrows or whether a boat coming towards them was closer. Twice the boats coming towards them had to take rapid evasive action as they just kept on crawling through. How they got away without ramming something, or having a boat ram them, I’ll never know. There were plenty of places where they could have pulled over and let us go by, but they steadfastly refused to make eye contact or acknowledge in any way that we were almost up their arse! After an hour and a half crawling along behind them we were getting really pissed off. They then pulled in far too early for the Rose Narrowboats swing bridge, and just sat there! Nobody went down to the bridge to open it, consequently 4 boats came through in the opposite direction. I was just thinking of getting off and going ahead to open the bridge, but due to the stones at the bank we couldn’t get near enough, when they cottoned on and moved. Thankfully, they then discovered the water point and pulled in again, which allowed us to pass them and go through the narrow bit – we even had the bridge opened and shut for us by a couple of Rose Narrowboats chaps. Result! We continued on a little, through the cutting and found that the visitor moorings at All Oaks Wood were practically empty so we decided to stop for the day.
A very pleasant mooring
8.6 miles and 1 lock