Saturday, 22 July 2017

Thrupp to Somerton

We have now spent four weeks in Thrupp during which time a new Grand-daughter arrived in Kidlington and we had four other grandkids on board , two at a time, for a week each.
Rain was forecast for around lunchtme so we filled up with water  early and set off at 7.30.
As we left Shipton on Cherwell we passed the church (more about that on another post)  behind which is the Manor.

For people of my generation this is a very famous place.

A clue to the reason is found in the front gate.

It was one of the first residential recording studios

Which made Mike Oldfield and (Sir) Richard Branson famous.

Just round the corner we passed a  derelict bridge buttress just before the current bridge.

In the foreground is the remains of the Kidlington to Blenheim railway branch which the Duke of Marlborough built in 1890.

Shipton Bridge in the morning mist
The mainline bridge is more famous, however. In 1874, on Christmas Eve a train from London to Birkenhead derailed here and crashed down onto the frozen canal. 26 died at the scene and four more on their way to hospital. The injured, numbering over 60, were taken to the paper mill adjacent to Hampton Gay Manor where they received reluctant assistance from the  lord of the manor. I have read that the Duke of Marlborough brought some staff to assist the injured. He was certainly staying at Blenheim (about four miles away) as his son (Sir) Winston Churchill had been born on November 30.
Amongst the dead were two children who were buried in Hampton Gay churchyard without inscriptions as no one came forward to identify them.
The cause of the crash was determined by a Board of Trade enquiry. Apparently the train was very full and before it left Oxford station an extra carriage was added to the train. This proved to be in poor condition with an incompatible braking system. When a third-class passenger alerted the driver to a noisy wheel he immediately braked. This caused one carriage to crash into the one in front and push it off the bridge and into the canal.

Despite the torrential rains during the previous night the river Cherwell was quite peaceful and we made good progress whilst the world appeared asleep. At Northbrook Bridge (210) we had time to take a brief look at the old pack-horse bridge which spans the adjacent Cherwell.
One surprise was that at the previous lock - Pigeons Lock - we saw two pigeons making up to each other on the telegraph wire.

Our aim was to moor just above Somerton Deep Lock before the rain came.  We were thwarted, however, as it took us an hour and a half to get throught the lock. when we arrived there were two boats above and two below. The first one up was fine but the first one down got stuck. This was not the first time we had been held up by a  Sea Otter in a lock. These aluminium boats have fenders everywhere and eventually we managed o pull most of them up and squeeze the boat out. The next boat up was a single-hander who could not manage on her own so more assistance was gien. The last one down was also a single-hander and this also got stuck on the bottom gate which was not opening fully.  With two of us pushing the gate and one pulling the bow rope this was extracted and we finally had our chance.
The rain started, of course, about 20 minutes before we tied up.

11 miles  /  8 locks  /  2 lift bridges

1 comment:

  1. Hi Margaret and Peter.
    Congratulations on the arrival of your grand-daughter. I am back to following you cruising as we are still not out. The new generator is in as is the raw water cooling. We now wait for it be bled and started. We did go up Hatton to black the boat and came back with cracked floor tiles in the bathroom, because the boat was on the twist in the dry dock, so it was not level grrr. Another job to do. Happy cruising to you both :-)


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