Oxford Canal to The Highwayman

For the third time this month another group of Isis CC members turned up for a leisurely Sunday paddle along the Oxford canal from Wolvercote to Thrupp. Due to current rainfall, the Thames is now out of bounds to us until the water level drops. Fortunately the choice of alternative local waterways is at our disposal. The weather was a little warmer that it had been - maybe 6 or 7 degrees and this brought out a larger number of members than on previous trips, I think there were about 17 of us. In total there were 7 open canoes and 3 sea kayaks, which took on the appearance of a small armada once we set off on the canal and in fact became the equivalent of rush hour traffic for 8 or so fishermen who kindly let us pass.

Contrary to most of the trips I have been on with Isis CC or even read about in the newsletter, this one was exactly what was described - it was a leisurely paddle! There was no ice breaking, no torrents of water to navigate, no major obstacles to climb over - we didn't find anything to throw at each other.....well, until someone found a ball (which was later lost in the reeds), my canoe co-pilot was party to throwing the odd apple missile and we were bombed with a coconut (??!). Anyway warfare aside, we travelled up from Wolvercote and came across our first obstacle. The ongoing bridge replacement works on the A34 meant that the bridge the used by construction workers to cross the canal was down. This gave us approximately 1 metre of clearance - a limbo challenge welcomed and achieved by all.

The majority of the trip was a nice explore along the navigation where we could look into people's back-gardens and watch life going on in the narrow boat world. Until we really had to get to work and portage our boats a total of 7 times around locks. Thankfully we were let through on one occasion by another canal user who had a key to the lock gates. Lunch was had at the Highwayman near Thrupp and then we paddled back to Wolvercote. And that ended our last scheduled local trip for January but hopefully the start of a great year out on the water!

- Kate

Photos by Jen and Kate.