River Ock

We set out nice and early on Sunday 1st February. The sky was rather greyish with flakes of snow whisping around, and it was cold, with a very strong wind to blow away the cobwebs. We (Kevin, Dave, Penny, Phil, Ruth, Helen and myself) arrived at the bridge over the River Ock at Marcham with the wind blowing and me wondering if I had done the right thing, I could have been tucked up nice and warm in bed, however after we launched it was then that I realised why I was there.

The trip started off going down a winding river, dodging overhanging trees and testing our steering. We came to the first weir with two choices, over the steps or down the slide. I thought the slide looked easier so Helen and I headed for the steps where Phil was hovering too. "Come on then" I shouted to Helen and accelerating, over we went - bump, pump, thump, and presto - that was good fun! Phil was next - pump, thump, stall, oops - Phil was stuck. Eventually Phil unstuck himself only to be stuck again flat on the bottom step. Then disaster struck, the water decided to play with Phil, rather than Phil playing with the water. His boat was tilting on the bottom step just enough for it to become somewhat like a compass, but rather than pointing north the water took control and started spinning Phil into a sideways position right on the edge of the step. I thought, here we go then, rescue time! Phil went over sideways but proved his hip agility skills by taking control and drifting away from the weir with hardly a drop of water in the boat. Penny and Kevin decided to take the other two boats down the slide.

We came to the next weir, shot the slide and took on lots of water straight over the bow. The last weir was even wetter and we needed to share the bailer, as we only had one between us, and sponging it out would have taken a long time. We fought the current of the Thames upstream with the thought that the pub was not too far away. We moored at the Nags Head at Abingdon bridge and went in to enjoy their fine hospitality, steak 'n' chips for £2.99 sounded like a great way to finish the trip (really nice steak too). The drinks were optional and tea, creamed hot choc and a cold beer went down well. When we left the pub the sun was shining to see us off the river. Thanks for organising the trip Penny.

See Glynn's pictures.

- Glynn Carter