Unusual boats, Cookham and a very young volunteer lock keeper

Although most boats on the Thames are standard white cruisers (known as yoghurt pots to narrowboaters – mind you they tend to call us ditch crawlers) there are many unique craft around as well. I’ve really enjoyed boat spotting as we’ve gone along. There’s not really a lot else to do with the locks being automated and fairly far apart. Here’s a few photos of a small selection.


Replica paddle steamer The New Southern Belle – used for trips and private hires


This old barge just outside Reading is so covered in greenery it almost blends into the background trees.

My dream Dutch Barge – not that we’d ever be able to afford it!


The beautiful Thames Steam Boat Alaska – used from the late 1880s to carry passengers from Oxford to Kingston. The one way journey took 3 days and passengers stayed at hotels and boarding houses along the way, paying a fare of £1.50 (excluding accommodation) which I imagine was a fortune then.

Our second Thames stop over was at Cookham – again we should have paid and again nobody came to collect our money. Bargain! The route to the town takes you through the churchyard of the Holy Trinity Church – which dates back to the 11th century.

ChurchCookham ChurchPorchI had to pop in to have a look at their stained glass windows – the evening light was just right to see them at their best.

LightGlassCookham GlassChurchCookham

We’ve reached Windsor now but not without the assistance of Charlie.

Charlie&DaddyHis father asked if Charlie could possibly be allowed to press the buttons to operate Bray Lock. It wouldn’t have been possible if a lock keeper was on duty but we’d set out early and, before 9am, the locks are self service.

CharlieVolunteerLockkeeperHe could only just reach the top buttons but managed the job admirably!

We’re off to visit Windsor Castle today – perhaps, if she’s in residence, her Maj will offer us a brew?


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