No apologies for not posting last night. I had a choice; sit inside tapping away or sit out in the sunshine with a few beers and a barbeque. No contest, really.
Yesterday we were off at not long after 09:00, trying to get some miles in before it got busy. George and Carol had already passed by the time we got going, we were a little later because I got lost on my morning run and was out for nearly 2½ hours!
Just down from our overnight we swung left onto Culham Cut, leaving the natural course for just under a mile to bypass the shallows at Sutton Pools. Culham Lock is at the end of the cut, and the river course can be followed with care back to Sutton Courtenay by turning right just above.
Culham Cut, quite a bit narrower than the natural course
Below Culham Lock there’s a 2 mile river section before another cut, this time a little shorter and heading for Clifton Lock. We caught up with Rock’n’Roll here, waiting for the lock.
Following R‘n’R out of Clifton Lock
The next crossing is at the village of Clifton Hampden, where the late 19thC bridge is designed to look older.
Clifton Hampden Bridge, Norman in stlye
The ornate bell tower of the church of St Michael and All Angels rises above the bridge. Dating from the late 12thC, the church has had additions in the 13thC and 14thC.
This hire boat’s a long way from home!
Burcot is the next village, sitting on the north bank as the river curves around to Day’s Lock. There are some fine houses with gardens running down to the water.
This one’s for sale. You know what they say, if you have to ask the price you can’t afford it!
The flat countryside is starting to give way to rising ground as Day’s Lock is reached. Whittenham Stumps is the highest lump on the Sinodun Hills, with it’s distinctive crown of trees.
Day’s Lock with the Stumps on the left.
This was the last lock today, less than 2 miles on we pulled over just past the sharp bends at Shillingford.
We moored just around the right hand bend here. There’s a red marker buoy way out across the left side of the channel, which you should keep to the left of going downstream. Most boats can get away with cutting the corner a bit, but not a large Dutch barge.
This chap was stuck for the best part of 1½ hours, with a couple of boats trying to drag him off. Carol has some good pics of the operation here.
We had a very pleasant evening sat out watching the world go by.
Red Kite keeping an eye on things…
…and a pair of Grebes
Today was already getting warm when we got away at around 10:00. I’d just pulled my pins and turned around to face downstream when I spotted a hire cruiser come round the corner, on the wrong side of the buoy. Of course, he ran onto the sandbank. I hung on to see if he could extricate himself, but with no movement obvious I came up and took a line, snatching him off. My good deed for the day.
Drama over we set off, under Shillingford Bridge.
This well proportioned stone bridge was built in 1827, replacing an earlier crossing with a timber deck. This earlier bridge had lasted for 60 years, but was described in early 1827 as “ruinous" and "in part taken down". Before the 18th C bridge the crossing was made by ferry.
There’s nothing more picturesque than the Thames locks, and Benson, our first today, is no exception.
Looking back at Benson Lock and weir
Spectacular on a sunny day…
We needed to do a bit of shopping, so pulled in just below Wallingford Bridge to pop up into the town. Wallingford deserves more than just a “pop into”, and we’ll do it justice with an overnight stop on the way back. But for today we were off again at 1 o’clock.
The locals were enjoying the sunny day….. but I‘m not sure it was that warm!
The river is running north to south here, heading for the break between the Chilterns to the east and the Berkshire Downs to the east. But there’s still a few miles of water meadows to enjoy.
Moulsford Railway Bridge
This bridge was designed and built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1839, to carry the Great Western Railway. Inside 50 years the success of the railway required doubling the width, so, in 1892, a second bridge was constructed on the upstream side. Girders and brick arches connect the two.
The top picture shows Brunel’s original span.
Heading towards Cleeve Lock, with extensive water meadows on the west and the hills starting to rise to the east.
We topped up water tanks above Cleeve, then dropped down onto the short ½ mile reach to Goring Lock.
Leaving Cleeve Lock
The hills are starting to make their presence known as we approach Goring
The boat coming out of the lock is the hotel boat Louisa. She looks very smart. A relaxing way to enjoy the river.
Hotel boat Louisa
We had three narrowboats and a wide cruiser (the one in the picture above Louisa apparently heading towards the weir) in the lock, and lost the narrowboat on the 24 hour moorings below.
Wooded slopes crowd in on both sides as the river cuts through the Gap, wonderful scenery.
We moored a little further on, at Beale Park. We’re tucked in behind one of the small islands.
I love this boat’s name…..
I’ve heard the definition of a boat is “a hole in the water you throw money into….”
Locks 6, miles 20½ (two days)