Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Too busy for us at Wallingford.

Last evening we had a fine sunset, lighting up the trees across the water.IMG_1057

And later I had another go at capturing that moon on camera…IMG_1061
Success, although it’s past it’s full now. But the surface features on the terminator to the right are highlighted by the low angle of illumination.
The large crater at 90º is Langrenus, about 82 miles across and on the eastern edge of the Sea of Fertility.

Back down to earth, we left at around 09:30, is as usual these days. Overnight rain had again cleared, so we had a fine start to the day.

Leaving Beale Park

It was 2½ miles to Goring Lock, passing under Brunel’s 1838 Gatehampton Railway Bridge.

Gatehampton BridgeIMG_1063
Built to carry the Great Western Railway, it was widened to carry two extra lines in 1892.

The river bends around the base of Rottendown Hill, IMG_1066
the white building is The Grotto, built in the late 18thC and now mainly used commercially. It’s looking a bit down at heel, now.IMG_1068

We slotted into Goring Lock with three cruisers, 2 large and one small, in, up and out in quick time.

Goring Lock

It all went pear-shaped though at Cleeve Lock, just 10 minutes upstream. There were several boats milling about in the channel as a group came out of the lock.

Below CleeveIMG_1072
As we got closer it became apparent why; the lock was on DIY which naturally takes longer. And it’s smaller than Goring, so the three cruisers went in and left no room for us.
We tied up and I acted as unpaid lockie for them, then brought another boat down, before we could go in. By then we’d been joined by another two narrowboats. It was a bit manic above the lock, too. Most arrivals, either up or downstream, seem to want to take on water here. Including us.
The lock keeper here has to shuttle between Goring and Cleeve, depending on how many boats are about, and he turned up after we’d left the lock.

We didn’t fill right up, there were three boats behind us wanting to tank up, then set off on the long 5½ mile reach to Wallingford.

A group of kids were looking forward to a good day’s introduction to sailing at Goring Thames Sailing Club.IMG_1074
They were getting their safety briefing as we passed, shortly after they erupted into cheers and dashed for the boats.

The GWR crosses the river again at Moulsford, once again the bridge engineered by the great IKB.

Moulsford BridgeIMG_1077

An uneventful cruise then took us to Wallingford Bridge.IMG_1082

We’d planned to stop here, but it didn’t look promising…IMG_1083
…it wasn’t, no room for anything but the shortest rowboat.

There are some opportunities under the trees on the west bank above the town moorings, and one was vacant.

In the weeds
It might look a bit overgrown, but it’s easy to get on and off, and alongside, the other side of the Thames Path, is a large meadow, and beyond that the remains of the extensive 11thC Wallingford Castle.

Meg and I went to explore…IMG_1085
There’s little to be seen now, Oliver Cromwells’ troops made sure of that after taking what was a Royalist stronghold in 1652.

Earthworks which supported the walls, a couple of bits of masonry (one of which looks to be quite a bit newer than 950 years…)…

… and dry ditches which were once moats. IMG_1089

Peacefully grazed by cattle, now.Panorama

Not sure what we’re doing tomorrow, the forecast looks a bit grim, but I’d like to be in Abingdon on Friday. We’ll see.

Locks 2, miles 8½

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