Thursday, June 23, 2016

Whatever happened to summer?

Another dull, grey, damp day. Not particularly wet, although we did have a short shower around midday. But it’s raining properly now. Hopefully that will reduce the oppressive, humid feeling.

The kites were out and about again this morning as we left.IMG_0523
Beautiful birds.

Hambleton Lock was our first for the day, just 20 minutes from the mooring. IMG_0527

Lots of water coming down through the open sluice gates.IMG_0528
We’re still advised of a strong stream warning, and it’s very noticeable below the locks where the weir streams enter the main channel.

Out of Hambleton and we start to get involved with the build-up to Henley Royal Regatta.IMG_0530
From the official website -

Henley Royal Regatta is undoubtedly the best known regatta in the world and is both one of the highlights of the summer sporting calendar and the social season.
It attracts thousands of visitors over a 5-day period and spectators will be thrilled by over 200 races of an international standard, including Olympians and crews new to the event.
Aside from the rowing, visitors can take in the ambience enjoying the facilities within the enclosures.”

The fun starts next Wednesday and continues until Sunday week. Huge amounts of preparation go into the event. I bet there are a few anxious glances at the sky.

Lots of crews are out practicing...

…and marquees and temporary boathouses are being erected.IMG_0533


Thankfully the activity thinned out after we passed Henley’s 18th century bridge. Above the navigation arch, are sculptures of Tamesis and Isis, one on either side.

Tamesis faces downstream…

…while Isis looks upstream.

Tamesis is the Celtic name for the river, and it’s romantically (though unofficially) know as Isis above Oxford.

Henley waterfront was busy as usual, with trip boats and private craft. The visitor moorings were quite full too. Maybe a lot of folk were waiting out the weather.

I was glad to see the lockie at Marsh Lock was on the ball, opening the lock ready for us. IMG_0542
The lock landing is on the left, with the weir stream coming in from the right. Once pinned on the landing we might never have got off!

The river above Marsh Lock breaks around several small islands, and there are some isolated moorings lurking off the main channel here.IMG_0545


More posh houses in Wargrave
The square structure in the middle distance is an equally swanky property, but covered in plastic-shrouded scaffolding while it gets a new roof.

Shiplake Lock was passed on our own, having left the hire boat with which we’d shared the previous two locks outside the St. George and Dragon in Wargrave.

Shiplake Lock ahead.
The River Loddon joins the Thames from the south here.

We wanted to top up the water tank here, and thought we were in for a bit of a wait as two narrowboats arrived just before us. But there was no problem, one only wanted to drop off rubbish, the other was looking for the lock landing!

Water topped off and our rubbish disposed of, we were now looking for a mooring. There are spots around the back of two islands, The Lynch and Hallsmead Ait, so we had a mosey round there – unsuccessfully. Boats were already on the most likely spots, and even a couple of unlikely ones!

Out from behind The Lynch…

…lets have a look behind Hallsmead Ait.
The boats that were there look like they’ve been there some time…

So we decided to toddle on to Sonning, go up the lock and moor just above.

Sonning Bridge, you have to be careful here.
It’s a good job I remembered that downstream boats have priority, as one came steaming through the blind arch as we approached!

We had to wait behind a couple of boats that had passed us earlier, then went up and found a spot a little further on. Official moorings, and the first 24 hours are free!

Sonning Lock is a little more unkempt than most…
…maybe the mower’s bust!

So that’s it; another day, another cruise.

Locks 4, miles 10

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