My research into this section of the Oxford canal has uncovered tales of narrowboats and mules. I discovered the last narrowboat carrying coal in Great Britain was drawn by a mule called Dolly on the Oxford canal. (I have so far been unable to find an image of her…..).
A boatman was only as good as his horse and the sure footed, hardy and patient mule was able to pull 50 times as much weight in a boat than in a cart on a road. Mules were considered to be ‘standing tight’ when they stood still, spread all four legs and pulled until the boat began to move. (www.canalrivertrust.org; www.canaljunction.com).