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On to Abingdon

On Tuesday morning we untied from our East Street mooring and moved down to Osney lock. The lock keeper was busy painting out graffiti on the nearby footbridge but within a few minutes he was back at the controls and helping us lock down. As we chugged our way around the edge of the city we saw hardly anyone, it was all very quiet around Folly bridge, no doubt due to the fact that it was only ten o’clock on a Tuesday morning and outside the school holidays. All of the punts were safely tied up  outside the Head of the river pub and Salter’s trip boats were moored on Folly Island. Once free of the city we realised just how much the open spaces and deep, wide waters of the Thames are in stark contrast to the features of the Oxford canal. We took our time and yet we still made good progress through the next two locks before eventually reaching Abingdon.

Abingdon lock approach.

We took on water before dropping down through Abingdon lock and taking the first available mooring there. We wanted to have a few days in the town and had been told that the moorings there would be busy with only the first day being free. Where we had tied was a five day mooring so we were happy enough with where we were.

Mooring below Abingdon lock.

Caxton’s panels tilted towards the evening sun.

The lock keepers cabin.

A brave soul kayaking below the weir.

We later found out that in fact all of the moorings allow a stay of five days and although there were a lot of boats around, many were coming and going so we needn’t have worried about finding a space. We were happy enough though with two routes into town, and since both walks only take ten minutes, we thought that we were in a good spot. What we hadn’t appreciated was that marker buoys in the river made the approach to the lock relatively narrow with the result that every large boat that passed, particularly Salter’s Steamers, pulled hard on our mooring lines.

Salter’s Steamer passing by.

On Wednesday evening I had to reposition the pins as well as re-tighten the ropes so on Sue’s suggestion we walked downstream and found a space opposite the park where the river is much wider. Fifteen minutes later we were on our new mooring and as the following days proved, passing boats had very little effect on us.

Abingdon is a lovely town and one that I have never visited before, despite having passed by on the A34 on countless occasions over the last twenty years. There are lots of shops, pubs and historical buildings to see and explore, which we did during our stay. The following photographs should give a little flavour of the place but for better information click here

Robert Gatward Jewellers.


Farmer’s Market in the market place.


Abingdon County Hall Museum.


St Nicholas Anglican church.


Morland brewery owned pubs had these adorning their walls.