Thursday, June 23, 2016

A bit more water coming down…

Finally posted Thursday am, Wednesday 22nd’s cruise…

Rain overnight persisted into this morning, but it had slackened off to fine drizzle or just moist air by then. Still, it was pretty gloomy as we set off along Cookham Reach.

Cookham Moorings

The wide reach.
There are sailing and rowing clubs here taking advantage of the wide, 4½ mile lock-free water.

The river follows a wide sweep around the chalk ridge of Winter Hill. On the far side, heading towards Marlow, there are several fine houses tucked into the trees on the slope overlooking the river.


Wootten’s Boatyard, established in 1908 as a canoe and skiff hire business by Arthur Wootten.IMG_0475
Boatbuilding began here in the 1920s, with Henry, a boatbuilder by trade, joining his brother at the yard. 

A little further on is Marlow Lock. We’d been warned that this is quite a savage filler, so Mags was prepared, with a couple of turns of the bow line around the T stud.

Approaching Marlow Lock

Three boats coming down

After all the rain…

Lots of water going over the weir.

Grebe and chick braving the tow from the weir

Marlow Suspension Bridge was opened in 1832, replacing a wooden structure a little downstream. There has been a Thames crossing here since before 1227.IMG_0488
There was a proposal to replace it with a concrete structure in the 1950s, but local opposition to the scheme caused it to be rejected. The 235 foot span was rebuilt in 1965, and has a 3 tonne weight limit, effectively banning larger vans, goods vehicles and buses. These larger vehicles cross the river on the new by-pass bridge just upstream.

Floating apartment in Marlow

Bisham Abbey has a watersports centre

Salter’s MV Reading overtaking us below Temple LockIMG_0494 
The church behind Reading is All Saints, Bisham. The 12th century Norman tower is flanked by Victorian additions.

The next two locks come in quick succession, a half hour to Temple Lock, then 10 minutes to Hurley. Both are quite shallow, and compared to the gushing water at Marlow, are pussy-cats.

Temple Lock

Another old boatyard below Hurley Lock, this one is Peter Freebody & Co (wonderful name!) specialising in wooden launches.

More rowers from a club above Hurley Lock

Soon after Hurley the river follows a loop past several small islands, heavily wooded and narrow in places.

Medmenham Abbey, once home to Sir Thomas Dashwood and the notorious Hellfire ClubIMG_0507
It's for sale, follow the link!

We decided to pull in on the Westfield Farm moorings, it’s open and peaceful here. Fairly busy, too, with boats - and sheep!

But we managed to find a spot, looking out over the fields.

The day brightened up in the afternoon, giving us some good sunny spells. In the evening The New Orleans cruised past…IMG_0512

…with a slightly unconvincing stern paddle-wheel.

IMG_0516This area is home to several pairs of red kites, and when I took Meg for a walk around the field later they were snacking on a sheep carcass. Of course, no camera! This morning I took the camera, only to find they’d already had breakfast!

Locks 3, miles 8

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