Day 4. Narrowboating on the Thames to Eynsham

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).

Kings Arms, Sandford Lock
The Kings Arms overlooking Sandford Lock

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.

Iffley Lock, Thames
Approaching Iffley Lock

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.

Isis River Farmhouse Pub
Isis River Farmhouse Pub

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!

Lock-keepers Cottage, Iffley Lock
The lock-keepers cottage at Iffley Lock

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.

Sharing Osney Lock with a small river cruiser
Sharing Osney Lock with a small river cruiser

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.

East Street moorings, Oxford
Mooring for lunch in Oxford at the East Street moorings

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.

Godstow Abbey
Godstow Abbey

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.

Godstow bridge
Approaching Godstow bridge

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.

Cunningham narrowboat moored at Godstow
Moored at Godstow near to the Trout Inn

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.

The Trout Inn, Godstow
The Trout Inn at Godstow

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 Trout, Godstow
Studying the menu at The Trout Inn

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.

King's Lock, Oxfordshire
Entering King’s Lock

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.

King's Lock, Oxfordshire
Operating the lock gates at King’s Lock

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.

Sunset view from the bow of our boat at Eynsham Lock
Sunset view from the bow of our boat at Eynsham Lock

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.

The Red Lion, Eynsham
The Red Lion, Eynsham

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.

Canal boat log fire
Our cosy wood burning stove

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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36 thoughts on “Day 4. Narrowboating on the Thames to Eynsham

  1. I like the many charming pubs along the river, as well as the lock-keepers cottages! You have once again so many lovely photos in this post – love the one of the reflections in the water of Godstow bridge and your sunset view at Eynsham Lock. Wishing you a very happy 2023 and more exciting travels to come!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the look of the lock-keepers cottage at Iffley Lock, just the kind of dwelling I’ve been looking for. The interior of the Trout Inn looks very charming and cozy. I’m not much of an Inspector Morse fan, but Sladja used to love that series. All in all, it seems you had a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday with your family.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was indeed, after spending the first half if the trip descending locks it seemed strange starting at the bottom and working our way up again. In some if the deep locks I couldn’t reach to hand the coiled rope up to one of the others on the bank so had to throw it and hope it didn’t fall in the water! At least the other end was tethered to the boat so we couldn’t actually lose it. Hope you have a Happy New Year. Do you have any plans?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That picture of operating the gates at King’s Lock reminds me of the advice and experienced narrowboater gave us when he saw us pushing the boom with our hands. The advice was: “Use your butts!” 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Another fine day on the water Marion. Imagine the gift of time well spent with family slowly boating down the canal. Even better than being trapped in a car with them. Glad you had this family time. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love Inspector Morse- I’ve been watching that with my mom for as long as I can remember. The places you stopped just look so charming and inviting. What a tight squeeze though having two boats pass each other in the water. Amazing that boats can maneuver that space so well. But this experience has been firmly placed on my list of tings I want to do. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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