THE THAMES PATH – day 6. Dreaming of Spires.

Bablock Hythe to Oxford.

Unfortunately the ferry has gone which would have linked to the old towpath, the old winch is still there, instead soulless ‘caravan’ parks forced us away from the river for a couple of miles.

The rural walking was pleasant enough. Today’s walk encounter was a lady trail runner and her dog who passed us on her way to Abingdon, she had time to chat despite doing 20miles. We leisurely reached the river near Pinkhill wear and lock which was busy with pleasure craft. Hedged paths gave a change of scenery onwards to Swinford lock.where a stag party outing in sailor and pirate dress were abandoning there barge which was taking in water and listing, everyone survived.

More uncultivated meadows followed but unfortunately the only wildlife we saw were geese. Interestingly the banks were littered with opened fresh water mussels presumably by geese and ducks.

The noise of the approaching dual carriage way brought us back to civilization. Then it was over a bridge to the waterside Trout Inn which was packed despite the poor weather. Is it the setting, the good food or the Inspector Morse connection that draws people here. Despite only having one pint I managed to leave my sticks in the bar, we were well on the way to Oxford before I realised. This gave me the chance to view the ruined 17th century Godstow Abbey three times. Rain began for the first time as we followed the popular path towards those just visible Oxford spires. On the opposite bank was Port Meadow which has never been ploughed having been presented to Oxford by William the Conqueror.

Police activity in the street of our inn for the night had us worried, there was a cordoned off area as a ‘dangerous’ object was removed. The inn was packed with people unable to return home. We heard later it was a WW2 bomb. This was more exciting than the cup-final on TV.

We couldn’t understand the menu in the Korean restaurant visited but enjoyed an enjoyable meal, but I suspected most of the staff were in fact Chinese.   Back at our inn the beer was good but the accommodation dire.

I will return to look around Oxford on the way home.


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