River Ock

26th January, 2013

There was a promise of sunshine on this nippy January morning as we unloaded cars down a side road in Marcham.

The river was high because of recent snow, higher than the last time Isis hit the Ock. After a decent faff in the cold we left our entry and discovered the flow was reasonable and comfortable. The sun did come out and it got warmer. The river is quite narrow and meanders through fields, under bridges, and under the A34. Lots of branches had fallen and made passage difficult but the biggest challenge was a bridge made “lower” by the high river. It was the flat kind with no barriers crossing between fields, probably for farmer-folk or something. Anyway, there were three girders supporting it for us to squeeze under. Doing so pushed the back of the boat down into the flow meaning it was hard to stay straight and keep balance, and not lose the paddle. It's a good thing none who tried it were claustrophobic.

Within site of the bridge was a large country building where the river was split between a weir (our way) and something industrial-era-looking with maybe a water-mill. The weir was simple and fast and ejected us onto someone's underwater garden. It turns out the building is a big secluded house with a tall fence owned by someone who must only be famous, but all was quiet.

From the house it was a short trip past one more field to Abingdon, down another weir and into territory familiar to a few of us in the club. The Ock runs parallel to the main street through most of Abingdon, down one last weir, and puts you onto a straight stretch of the Thames with rowers and canal barges, and the get-out.

Not many swims, a great local paddle.

- Chris

Photos by Adam.