Off the Kennet & Avon and onto the Thames

Technically speaking we were coming off the Kennet Navigation, as the Kennet & Avon Canal officially ends at Newbury but we’ll not split hairs.

OntoTheThamesIt’s been hard work from Bristol to Reading, with 107 tough locks and quite a few swing bridges to negotiate but it’s been an amazing journey. We’ll definitely do this one again if we get the chance!

Our first job on the Thames was to do a Tesco shop. We’d been warned by Barry and Carol from nb Winton’s Folly that the mooring here can be a bit dodgy. They’d gone to shop and found a large tub of marigolds missing when they returned. We played it safe and Gordon stayed on the boat while I shopped.

20140626_094050

Handy mooring for Tescos with Barry and Carol’s warning about the removal of their marigolds still stuck to the entrance.

We’ve never been on the Thames before and it has been very much as we would have expected. It’s wide (compared with canals anyway), pretty and lined with the houses of the uber rich.

spectacularHouse

HouseCloistersThe locks are large and, provided you arrive after 9am, they’re worked for you by lock-keepers – not much opportunity for exercise here!

SonningLock

Sonning Lock is incredibly pretty, although they all seem to be well kept.

All the lock-keepers we've met so far have been both cheerful and helpful

All the lock-keepers we’ve met so far have been both cheerful and helpful

Shiplake lock had developed a mechanical fault on the day we were going through and, even after it was fixed, a queue had developed. As you can see, the other feature of the Thames is that Cruisers are the boat of choice rather than narrowboats.

QueueShiplakeLock

Waiting in line to go through Shiplake Lock.

Our initial plan to moor up in Henley was thwarted by the fact that it’s coming up to Regatta week.  Henley Reach is divided off from 16th June onwards and many of the moorings are off limits. This allows boat crews to practice in relative safety, without running the risk of being mowed down by powered craft. Not much room for us!

BridgeHenley

Coming up to Henley Bridge

PracticeHenleyReach

20140626_132226We carried on and got a very cosy mooring just before Hurley Lock. There is a charge for most Thames moorings and this was supposed to cost £5 a night. Our luck was in however and nobody came to collect.

FirstThamesMooring

 

 

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