Reading to Weybridge
Trip Start Apr 26, 2011
27Trip End Oct 31, 2011
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As we woke this morning on the Lynch, our island mooring, there was fog everywhere. It had mostly cleared by the time we left at 10.15 and we cruised slowly down to Shiplake Lock where thankfully the Elsan point was functioning (the first one since Days Lock. We emptied our two cassettes and filled the water tank and disposed of the rubbish.
Below the lock is Wargrave, where magician Paul Daniels lives with Debbie, his superb electric Canadian canoe, and his Mercedes with number plate MAG 1 C.
After Marsh Lock, we arrived at Henley. Above the bridge there is a long island, which splits the river into two channels, and boats can pass either side
The mooring in the centre of town was occupied and we wanted to stop for lunch so we pulled over to the right after Henley Bridge. Within minutes a man in a launch came and asked us for £6 mooring fee. We said we were only pausing for lunch and not staying overnight and he said it was for any part of 24 hours. We said in that case we’d move on but he insisted the money was due. He reduced it to £4 for a short stay. We reluctantly stumped up, and he said we could stay overnight on Westfield Farm moorings further downstream as he also managed those.
We passed through Hambleden Lock during the lunch hour but the lock keeper was happy to operate the lock anyway as there were so few boats about. We travelled slowly downstream and decided to visit Medmenham
Tue 18th October
On checking the gearbox oil we discovered that it had all descended into the bilges once again. We called out RCR who managed to find us by walking up the path through the field from Medmenham. They worked out that the O-ring that had been put in at Abingdon had been pinched when the nut had been tightened and it had leaked. They put in another, carefully, and topped up the oil, and we were away at 1245.
We had not gone more than twenty minutes when the engine suddenly cut out. We couldn’t start it again, so we drifted into the side and James jumped out with a rope and a mooring pin.
RCR arrived again – the same two lads, and sorted out our engine. The problem this time was completely unrelated to the previous incident. The fuel wasn’t getting past the first fuel filter. Thankfully we had some spare filters, and they changed them for us. It was a job we were planning to have done when we got home.
By the time we got going again it was after 5pm and Hurley and Temple locks were self-service. We continued to Marlow and, as it was getting dark, moored above the bridge on the very nice public park with its mown lawns and statue of Sir Steven Redgrave. Hugo still managed to find a mouse. We don’t know where he found it.
We had the heating stove going, as it was a very cold evening.
Wed 19th October
We visited Sainsbury’s local for some milk and bread, and stopped at Wimpy for a bacon roll and a hot drink – lovely
Below Marlow there is a steep ridge of hills on the right bank, so we steered to the left to keep in the sun! The sunshine stayed with us as we continued through Bourne End and Cookham. At Cookham Lock we used all the facilities and then cruised down past Cliveden House and the lovely reach that leads to Maidenhead.
At Boulters Lock there were no other boats, so we had precious time to pray with Ralph the lock keeper before we left. He is an enthusiastic Christian and is always encouraging to us when we pass through his lock.
We ended up mooring at Dorney, by the rowing course, which will be used for the Olympics next year. The towpath here is closed, and they are going to build a bridge across to Windsor Racecourse to provide access for spectators. Glorious sunshine meant we could sit out on the wide grassy area and enjoy the weather. A late rain shower sent us inside.
Hugo brought us a present – a live mouse this time
Cold again in the night.
Thu 20th October
Sunny but cold as we left Dorney and passed the lovely old Saxon church on the riverbank. The lock keeper at Boveney Lock is the key holder for the church, but we have never visited. Peter Braybrook is thinking about a BCF visit soon. We enquired about mooring at the lock and it is £8 per boat per night.
Windsor was very quiet. Mooring fees are £4 on the Windsor side and £6 on the Eton side. There is also a short stay free mooring on the Eton side.
Romney Lock had a splendid display of flowers. The route from here took us past the Home Park with the amazing avenue of trees, then through Old Windsor and past Runnymede to Bell Weir Lock. Under the M25 – we haven’t been within the M25 since 23rd May! Then under Staines Bridge, and we moored on the left near the old Town Hall
Fri 21st October
A short cruise down to Sainsbury’s to stock up on a few things before we get home. When we arrive back we won’t have a car for a few days.
Amazing sunshine once again. We have had a brilliant October so far.
We visited three places at Penton Hook. Firstly the fuel pontoon which is right at the furthest end of a maze of pontoons. Then back to the visitor’s pontoon outside the marina to visit the chandlery for some gas, and to find Pro-rig Marine who are Barrus agents and have some oil for us. We discovered that they have moved and are now the other side of the marina. Too far to walk round so we went by boat - another ten-minute boat journey. The pontoon there was too short for Gabriel, so we tied with the bow rope and the centre line, with the stern sticking out. We collected the two oil containers and returned to the boat.
We were just casting off again when James slipped off the gunwale while walking to the stern. He was hanging on with his hands on the top rail and his legs in the water
Lunch on the run on the way to Chertsey Lock, and then through Shepperton Lock, mooring for the rest of the day on the wall at Weybridge. Hugo caught the final mouse of the trip. (Certainly final for the mouse)
Sat 22nd October
Written in advance, as we will be too busy to update this any time soon after we get back. The plan is to go up through Thames Lock onto the Wey Navigation, moor up outside our house (we have the kind permission of the neighbours either side) and unload clothes, food, guitars, Hugo, CDs, books, bedding etc. Then we will take the boat up through Town Lock to our mooring near the Pelican.
We will have gone through 562 locks, and travelled 1180 miles on this journey.
Sun 23rd October
Back to Weybridge Methodist Church for the service at 10.30am, and into our "other" life.