No. 8: Oxford

This week I bought a camera.

The main problem I had with buying a camera was ‘consumer panic’ – I got as far as the checkout and suddenly a long list of household bills started flashing before my eyes, my skin prickled and my heart rate started beating via my throat.

After walking out of the shop and holding ‘viability/validation’ phone calls with some loved ones a number of times, I finally rooted myself to the spot and forced myself to go through with the transaction, leaving as the proud owner of a brand new Sony A6000 – I really don’t know the first thing about photography (yet), but I did some research:

I don’t know if you read the domain name of that second link, but they’re called TRUSTED REVIEWS and since when does the internet lie?


The Oxford Canal was originally built to ferry coal from Coventry to Oxford, and then on to London via the river Thames. The Grand union canal eventually put an end to that by creating a more direct route and now the southern part of the Oxford canal is mainly used for leisure – which is precisely what I was looking for.

This week I was lucky enough to be joined by my brother, who layered up and walked with me – albeit after greeting my early wake up call in a way, not too dissimilar from my downstairs neighbour in week 4 (No.4: Bewl Water).


It was a cold and bright day, with snow drops blossoming at the side of the canal and daffodils on the brink of flowering, presumably holding off for mothers day.

The first people we encountered were a 3 boat convoy of Essex lads, looking weary eyed and swigging from cans of lager (9.30am) as they discussed the merits of trying to open the lock that they were slowly drifting towards – they weren’t there on the way back so they either figured it out or sank, either way it was quieter.

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The banks of this canal really are amazing. They take you through micro-communities and past amazing features that have served the waterway for well over 100 years – it’s a snoopers paradise, and my new camera got it’s first taste of what I’m sure will be many wary looks.

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About two miles in, we reached a fork in the canal and followed a sign to the Thames which led us to some charming, weather-worn boats. The path in this direction quickly disappeared, after piggy backing my brother over the first flooded walkway we carried on until there was no track left. Turning back, my compadre decided to head for home – a delightfully fragrant Indian meal from the night before had added some urgency to his walk, and the only available facilities weren’t appealing to him.

I carried on solo for another 45 minutes, loving the sunshine and giving some thought to when I might be able to break out the camping gear (definitely not this week!). Although the buzz of traffic is constant along this path, the bridges are spectacular to the point of making it worth it.


This only scratches the surface of the Oxford Canal – I’m definitely going to give it a part two for the summer. For part 1 though, I’d like to dedicate it to my walking buddy.


4 thoughts on “No. 8: Oxford

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