Tue 9th May Cliveden to Marlow
We saw our friend Norman going past early on Bruin. He paused to say hello. He is off to the Rochdale and Huddersfield Canals this year.
The island in Cliveden Reach
We had a very pleasant short cruise through Cookham Lock and Bourne End to Marlow.
Bourne End Railway Bridge
Upper Thames Sailing Club. About 40 years ago we sang at a party here.
Cliff railways at Cookham Dean. Several of the houses have their own lifts down the steep hill to their boathouses and lower gardens.
We went to find an eatery in Marlow, realising that the town centre is not close by. We discovered the Prince of Wales, an ordinary looking pub, had a Thai menu and we had a lovely Thai meal. On the way back we noticed that it was a full moon and clear sky
Prince of Wales at Marlow
Full moon at Marlow
1 lock, 5 miles
Wed 10th May Marlow to Hallsmead Ait
Morning reflections at Marlow
This morning Hugo was not in his usual place on the dinette, but on the floor, staring at the fridge. He didn’t want to move, and with the use of a mirror and a torch we could see something grey under the fridge. With use of a long shoehorn and a plastic box we retrieved a confused mouse, and let him go in the bushes. Hugo still stared at the fridge for several hours, not realising that his prize catch had been removed.
We have noticed that the copper beeches are particularly red this year, and are a spectacular sight.
Marlow Lock was apparently self service, but a lock keeper
appeared and helped us through.
All Saints Church at Bisham
Bisham Abbey, where the England cricket team has trained in the past.
An unusual boathouse
Hambleden lock is side filling, and the boats get pushed out into the centre
Regatta Course at Henley
This garden upstream from Marsh Lock always looks like an advert for Fisons lawn feed.
We moored above Wargrave, on Hallsmead Ait, where Hugo was happy to go off exploring. We heard a cuckoo and also parakeets. They will soon be up river as far as Reading.
Hugo on the prowl
6 locks, 13 miles
Thu 11th May Hallsmead Ait to Reading
After a very peaceful night we discovered some splashes of bird poo on the roof, but then we looked on the side and found we had had a major avian attack. There was a dead tree above us, and we suspect cormorants.
Major guano dump
Our island mooring
We made our way further up river to Reading where we planned to do some shopping and spend the night.
Heron on a post
Hugo on lookout duty
We had some groceries to buy, so we went to Tesco where we can bring the shopping to the boat easily. Then we returned the short distance to the mouth of the Kennet, where turned off the Thames, heading for the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Houseboat at Reading, apparently occupied by a very wealthy gentleman
Into the Kennet
Moored by the Abbey Ruins
Notice the clean roof
2 locks, 5 miles
Fri 12th May Reading to Sulhamstead
We had some rain in the night, and in the morning, we discovered that our nice clean roof was now covered in horse chestnut tree blossom. Better than yesterdays guano.
Blossom on roof
Blossom all over
The navigation through this part of Reading to County Lock was once called the Brewery Gut, but the buildings have now been replaced by the Oracle shopping centre. The course of the river is narrow and twisting, so they have a one way at a time system, controlled by traffic lights which are boater operated. We press a button at the water’s edge, and if nothing else is coming the other way, the red light turns to green.
Through the Oracle
A mile further upstream is Fobney Lock. Here the river comes in from the left and a mill stream cascades down from the right. When the lock is emptying, further turbulence comes from straight ahead. We needed some power to get into the lock without hitting the walls or the bridge.
The mill race at Fobney
A little further up the canal, we spotted a boat we recognised: Kairos, with Chris and Sally Buck. It was good to see them, but the bonus was to discover that Mike and Jean Greenslade were also on board, and we all went to the Cunning Man pub for lunch.
Hazel Sally Jean Mike emerging from the Cunning Man
We then continued our journey, sharing locks and swing bridges with Kairos. There was a very twisty river section which was very entertaining.
Kairos going round the bend
Under the M4
The turf-sided Garston Lock
Theale Swing Bridge
We moored beyond Sulhamstead Swing Bridge, where the ground was very soft, so we used our heavy duty angle-iron mooring spikes. As it happened, no boats went by at all while were moored there.
Moored behind Kairos
Sat 13th May Sulhamstead to Froud’s Bridge
Moored by Sulhamstead Swing Bridge
At Tyle Mill we used the facilities such as rubbish bins and elsan points. This was also the first place where a swing bridge and a lock are close together, so that it is important to set the lock first, and then swing the bridge, so that the boats can move straight through the bridge and into the lock.
Tyle Mill Wharf, Lock and Swing Bridge
Ufton Swing Bridge used to be opened with a windlass, and it was very heavy, taking over a hundred turns of the handle. Thankfully now it is hydraulic, and we just need to press a button. It joins immediately into a disused lock.
Ufton Swing Bridge
At Aldermaston we were told that they had coal for sale, so we tied up and went to the chandlery, where we were told they didn’t have any left. We noticed that Babs’ boat was here, but she wasn’t around.
Aldermaston Lock and Lift Bridge
We said farewell to Kairos, as they continued on towards Newbury, while we turned left into Froud’s Bridge Marina.
Froud’s Bridge Marina
Next: We are staying here for three or four nights while we head off to Wales by car with friends Adline and Barry for a commemoration and scattering of ashes. Then we have a few days before our mission starts in Thatcham next Saturday.