The day started with an autumnal mist over the river, but gladly the sun soon broke through. After enjoying a leisurely breakfast on board our narrowboat we walked back to Sandford lock to take a photo of the pub where we’d tucked into dinner the night before (The King’s Arms).
It was 9.50 a.m. by the time we slipped out of our moorings and sitting at the front of the boat, enjoyed a leisurely journey to Iffley Lock. We passed through the lock in just ten minutes as this lock is quite shallow.
As we left the lock an Oxford river cruise boat turned around in front of us as it didn’t want to go through the lock. The Isis River Farmhouse pub has an attractive waterside frontage and is located just a couple of minutes walk from the lock so we tied our boat alongside for a look around.
We’d actually considered stopping off here the previous night but it was just as well that we didn’t get quite so far as it’s only at open weekends from October!
Back on the boat, we popped the kettle on for our mid-morning cups of coffee and then suitably refuelled with caffeine, turned the engine back on for the onward journey to Oxford. Along this stretch we saw several university rowing teams out practising so gave them a wide berth as we chugged by.
On our arrival at Osney Lock a new experience awaited us as it was the first time we had shared a lock with another boat. This was a small river cruiser whose passengers were enjoying pots of tea. They all started waving to us, so naturally we waved back whilst both our boats slowly rose up the lock.
As we passed through Oxford the sky turned gloomy and a light drizzle dampened the foredeck so it was an opportune time to retreat inside the boat to start preparing lunch. On reaching East Street moorings, we discovered that the same space we’d tied the boat up on our first night was surprisingly unoccupied so we edged our 65ft boat in there and then tucked into our lunch.
After Mark had carefully slipped ‘Cunningham’ out of the moorings, we all enjoyed taking our turns at the helm chugging at a sedate 4mph upstream as far as Godstow.
On arriving there, we moored along the bank securing the boat by hammering pegs into the ground. David and Mark were getting really used to this by now whilst Simon and I held the ropes tight on deck. We were able to put our gangplank to use here for the first time as on the previous occasions we’d moored along a riverbank the height difference between the bank and the boat was too great.
We then followed the towpath past the remains of Godstow Nunnery continuing across the bridge to The Trout Inn. The path was a little muddy in places but was wide enough to enable us to avoid most of the puddles.
We’d long wanted to visit this pub as we’d seen it on television as it’s famous for being featured in the Inspector Morse television programmes. It’s definitely worth a stop as the interior is absolutely beautiful with its deep padded high back leather chairs and stylish decor. There’s also a large riverside terrace for sunny days but the views from there were restricted when we visited due to repairs to the weir.
The pub was so cosy that we could have lingered much longer but we needed to press on further to reach our intended overnight mooring whilst it was still light. With the gangplank stored back on the boat’s roof and the metal boat hooks removed from the bank, we were soon on our way.
The stretch all the way from Godstow to Eynsham is very scenic as the river winds its way through low lying meadows and reed beds. King’s Lock looked so pretty in the dappled sunshine and as we were now so well practised, we passed through in a short time.
At Eynsham Lock we refilled our water tank one last time whilst offloading more rubbish. We then moored for our final night just below the lock so that we just had this lock and a short journey the next morning ensuring that we could return our boat back on time.
The final pub of our boat trip was going to be the Talbot Inn, just an eight minute walk from our moorings but when we arrived there, it was all in darkness with no signs of life. We thought this strange as it was only the week before that we’d researched the pub on-line but since then it had sadly ceased operating. A quick Google phone search followed to locate an alternative which was twice as far away in the village centre.
By the time we arrived at The Red Lion it was already busy but luckily we managed to find a table in an alcove to one side of the bar. From the specials board we ordered flavoursome curries which we washed down with glasses of beer. These were just what we needed to set us up for the long trek back to the boat.
Back on board, we lit the wood burning stove piling on our remaining logs and sat cosily round it with our mugs of tea. What a lovely few days we’d had all together as a family and with one final morning to look forward to, we tucked ourselves up in our comfortable beds.
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