Sunny mornings, bridges and pillboxes, a journey to the head of the Thames

At last I’ve got some decent internet signal! I’ve been trying to upload photographs for the blog for a while but now we’re in the middle of Oxford and the signal’s great.

Our last few days have been spent going up the Upper Thames to Lechlade and back down again to get off the Thames and into Oxford.

I’ve really enjoyed travelling with Sue and Andy on Festina Lente. I think the Thames is at it’s most beautiful along this stretch and the company was excellent! By and large we’ve been acting as tail end charlies and have had a constant view of FL’s Manx flag. Maybe we should put our Cornish one out – we bought it for St Piran’s Day, hung it up once in Aston Marina (when I actually managed to get the date of St Piran’s Day wrong) and haven’t got it out again since.

AndyManxFlagFor the best part of the week we’ve woken up to the Thames at its most beautiful with bright sunshine and just a touch of mist on the water. It makes setting out early ever so much easier.



Swinford Toll Bridge


The weir at Eynsham Lock

There aren’t a vast number of spots to moor along this stretch so we decided to have one long day to get us up to Kelmscott, a short day into Lechlade leaving us plenty of time to have a look around,  followed by another long day to get us back down again to The Ferryman Pub. The river follows a fairly tortuous course as it gets narrower towards its end.



The bends are sharp and the sides shallow so it’s easy to find yourself grounded. This group of lads pulled in to let us past and then got blown onto the bank. Both our boats offered to give them a hand but they were happy to be left to their own devices. We did see them later in the day so they obviously managed to free themselves.


The river is also punctuated with pillboxes along its length as a WWII last ditch defence known as ‘Stop Line Red’, designed to hamper an invading army’s attempt to reach the Midlands.



Festina Lente goes through Tadpole Bridge


New Bridge – built in the 1300s

When we got to Kelmscott we visited a lovely pub called the Plough Inn – where dogs seem to rule the roost. They were everywhere! Paul and Elaine would be in seventh heaven.

DogsPloughAs we were travelling together we thought we’d better try our hand at having a boaters’ meeting.

BoatersMeetingWe chatted, debated, lost interest, had another drink and decided absolutely bugger all! Not going to bother to with that again. The next day we had a very pleasant time in Lechlade. It’s a ‘quaint’ town that seems to have more than its fair share of antique shops.

HorseAntiqueShopIt also has a dedicated, open all year Christmas Shop. There must be enough interest to keep it going but it’s difficult to see how it manages to survive.


Ho Ho Ho – in August?

As far as we’re concerned Lechlade’s main attraction is that it marks the head of navigation of the River Thames. Gordon and I are quite chuffed that our journey this year took us all the way there from Limehouse Dock.


As far as you can get on The Thames

There’s a bit of a difference between The Thames after Lechlade….

thamesAfterLechlade….and the same river at Limehouse.


What a ride it’s been this year – and it’s not over yet!





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