CSCC Reports 2006: Thames, Wolvercote to Culham, 28 October 2006

Twelve people paddled this pleasant section of the Thames (or Isis as it sometimes known in those parts) in a bizarre variety of boats ranging from Julian’s Liquid Logic El Jefe to Richard in a Wavehopper. The Mannerings were in their Canadian, and there were several sea kayaks in addition to GP boats including the club’s venerable Europas.

Having passed through Oxford there was a general remonstrance that an insufficient number of dreaming spires had been sighted. This was rectified by paddling for a short distance up the Cherwell from its confluence with the Thames, where an abundance of dreaming spires could have been seen if only people had got out on river right and looked across Christ Church Meadow to the city centre. From river level we saw only fleeting glimpses of dreaming spires through the trees.

Some of us thought that the waterways of Oxford probably deserve a day-trip in their own right. Perhaps something to consider for the calendar when we have reached Denmark.

We were able to pass though most of the locks and only portaged one or two. The lock keepers were without exception cheerful and friendly and all the locks invariably had the immaculately well-kept flower gardens we have become accustomed to seeing on the previous sections.

Just before Abingdon Hilary and Peter detached themselves from the group to paddle down a backwater short-cut known as "Swift ditch." Apparently it was more ditch than swift and turned out to be a tree-infested jungle. The main group, going the long way round and through a lock, managed to overtake them.

Total distance paddles was 15 miles including the Cherwell excursion.

Thanks to Dave M, Julia M, Frank, Jenny, Hilary, Peter, Dr Dan, Dan Jones, Julian, Richard S and Bridget for supporting the trip. Julian deserves a special mention in despatches for his super-human effort in doing the trip in a very short boat keeping up with the group all the way.

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All images ©2006 CSCC. Pictures courtesy of Chris S, Richard S.