Monday, 10 April 2017

Week 8 - Last Week on the River Thames!

Monday 3rd April - Thames and Kennet Marina

This is our last day at the Marina.  We had a visit from Liz and Andy in the morning to come and look around the boat and have a cup of tea.  Toby was very pleased to see them again.

Then in the later afternoon Laura and Amy arrived on their way to the Channel Tunnel. They stayed with us for the night, breaking their journey from Derby.  They are setting off on a European Adventure, spending a year touring Europe with a break at the end of July when they will come back for Annie and Pete's wedding.

Tuesday 4th April - Marina to Pangbourne

A fond farewell to Laura and Amy as they set off for the Channel Tunnel and France. First stop Reims, Champagne Country!

Not to forget Frankie, already in the car and keen to get on the road.

We left the Marina behind us and continued on towards Pangbourne, after all the warm sunny weather we have had, today was overcast, damp and cold!

We stopped at Better Boating to put diesel on board, we had used more diesel than usual as we had travelled further because of the speed of the river.

As we came towards Pangbourne, we noticed fields strewn with these beautiful Alpaca.  They were a mix of cream, brown and dark brown coats, their coats produce a luxurious fibre to knit with.


Another delightful mooring out in the open countryside, we had missed this having spent the last 4 nights moored in a marina.

The River Pang flows into the River Thames at Pangbourne and the village is named after the river.  It was named after a man or tribe who lived here years ago, Paega, and it became known as Paega's River and subsequently Pangbourne.

The Swan, dating back to 1642, was where The Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome, abandoned their trip and returned to London by train because of the rain!

Wednesday 5th April - Pangbourne to Wallingford

We left Pangbourne in brilliant sunshine but a cold breeze - back to winter warmers for me! 

To the west of Pangbourne is a row of seven Gothic style houses built in 1896, they are known as the 'Seven Deadly Sins' and a questionable story suggests that they were built to house seven lady friends of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII!

A young heron standing stock still on a post in the middle of the river- obviously watching its next meal!

At the moment the river banks are festooned with Hawthorn trees bedecked with blossom, they look like white clouds fallen from the sky.  It usually heralds the arrival of May, but this year, due to our mild spring it is almost three weeks early!

On our approach to Wallingford we found ourselves in the middle of a training session of the Oxford Brookes University Rowing Club.  We had to maintain a centre course on the river as boats flew past us to our left and right.

We moored up on the opposite side of the river to last time against a high riverbank.  Poor Toby had to be lifted on and off the boat - most undignified!!

Last photo of the evening, I was amazed at how still the river was and the perfect reflection, quite stunning!

Thursday 6th April - Wallingford to Abingdon

The next morning Dave was up early, the river was very still, the reflections beautiful but this time the mist was rising from the river.

Another beautiful, sunny day showing the bridge at Shillingford at it's best.

The tributary, the River Thame flows into the River Thames just before Day's Lock.  The village of Dorchester lies about a mile away along the river.

We arrived in Abingdon about 1.30pm and moored up in almost the same spot as we did three weeks ago. Dave went to the barber and had his hair and beard trimmed and Toby and I sat on the rug reading and soaking up the sun.  Pure bliss!

Friday 7th April - Abingdon to Oxford (East Street Moorings)

A stunning shot of Ella moored up at Rye Meadow early in the morning. Weather again stunning, we have been so lucky. When we were here at the beginning of our trip the wind was making waves on the river!!

Swift Ditch flows across the land, cutting off the bend in the river that takes in Abingdon, but it is no longer navigable.

This looks like a motorbike course, there were lots of diggers possibly preparing it for a meeting over the Easter weekend.  Very noisy I would imagine!

A very sad sight, but at least it has been cordoned off safely.  

We made our way through the last lock of the day, Osney Lock, and moored up for the night.  As it was such a lovely afternoon we walked into Oxford and spent a few hours exploring Christ Church Meadow and the colleges.

Saturday 8th April -  Oxford East Street to Godstow Lock

We set off on a very short hop down to Godstow Lock where we are going to stay the night.

This is the exit from the Sheepwash Channel that we came down when we first came onto the Thames.

A wonderful view across Port Meadow Oxford's dreaming spires with a very slow flowing River Thames in the foreground.

Just couldn't resist a photo of two upended swans!!

We came through Godstow Lock and moored up immediately.  This was the view from our window.  Rosamund, Henry II mistress died here and was buried in the churchyard.  The only remains are the chapel.  

The Trout Inn features heavily in the older Morse television series, they would be seen having a pint at the end of a long and perplexing day.  Now it is very busy with diners!

Sunday 9th April - Godstow to Radcot

It must be the beginning of the mating season, it looks as though these geese are preparing to nest.

The approach to Godstow Bridge is quite crooked and we had to take it very slowly.  It is said that L.T.C. Rolt went skinny dipping around here when he was gathering material for his book 'The Thames from Mouth to Source'

I quite like this houseboat, most unusual!

This is the turn off the River Thames towards Duke's Cut and the Oxford Canal.  But today we are carrying on, along the Upper Thames towards Lechlade where it is the limit of navigation for powered craft of our size.

After Godstow Lock, the locks on the Upper Reaches of the Thames are non-mechanised, so you have to open the sluices manually with a large wheel and open and shut the gates. Fortunately most of the locks had lock keepers available.

Hart's Footbridge has a lovely story attached to it. A weir-keeper's daughter was wooed here by an aristocrat Oxford undergraduate, they married in 1766 and lived happily ever after!

The river here is very twisty and turny with many sharp bends and S bends, but it was great fun and we enjoyed the difference from the wide open Thames as far back as Windsor.

We got to Radcot and decided to moor up for the night, it has been a long day, but quite exhilarating and tomorrow we get to Lechlade.

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