Saturday 29 August 2020


 Today's Navigation - River Thames

As forecast, today was a much brighter and dry day.

Before leaving our overnight mooring, Mike walked across the bridge into town for a newspaper, together with Andrew who returned his overnight bag to his car and wanted to sample the bread from one of the posh looking bakeries. (His plan has been to cruise with us down to Rushey Lock and then walk back to Lechlade along the Thames Path)

As we returned to the boat we could see the landowner collecting his mooring fees from the boats. It was £5 for the night.

Shortly before 9 we were ready to leave and set off upstream the short distance to Inglesham where, just after a modern footbridge, the  former Thames and Severn Canal joins the river. The Cotswold Canals Trust and the IWA are gradually restoring this lock as an important marker towards a much fuller opening up of the canal. The other end is the Stroudwater Canal which links to the Severn.

We were able to wind in the mouth of the River Coln which joins the Thames just below Inglesham.

As we returned back down the way we had just come, the day was now really bright and pleasantly warm.

St John's Lock was on self service (perhaps someone will be here later!) The statue is of Father Thames and the inscription reads, "Presented in 1958 by H Scot Freeman Esq, a Conservator of the River Thames. The statue was commissioned in 1854 for the Crystal Palace and marked the Head of the Thames at Trewsbury Mead from 1958 to 1974. It was moved to St John's Lock in 1974"

Kelmscott Manor is close to the river but shielded from it by a row of trees so that little can be seen. We had a glimpse and could see that it is shrouded in scaffolding at present. It is undergoing and extensive refurbishment this year and next. The manor dates back to 1570 but was bought by William Morris in 1870 and it is in his memory that the property is now maintained by the Society of Antiquaries of London. The name was a favourite of Morris  and he used it for the Kelmscott Press which he founded.

The locks looked almost postcard-perfect today - this one is Grafton.

At Rushey Lock, where Andrew was due to leave us, we shared with a couple of cruisers. The lock keeper we had met on the way up at Eynsham Lock. Alas there was nowhere to moor anywhere near the lock so we continued to Tadpole Bridge where we hoped to find space alongside the pub.

As we approached the bridge we were pleased to see that there was one gap waiting for us. Alas our joy was ruined when we tried to fit into the space only to find that it was just a little bit too short. We continued a little further - the bank looked OK but the wind and the increased flow rate of the river water meant that we took some time before we were satisfactorily tied up.

We stayed for some while as we had lunch - enjoying the sourdough loaf Andrew bought earlier (We should also have noted that he also bought some fresh croissants but they lasted but a few minutes after we returned to the boat!

After helping us to cast off (this is the first time in a long while that we have had to deploy the gangplank) he set off to walk back to Lechade and we made our way downstream. Our progress was definitely on the speedy side - but we had little choice but to go with the flow.

Just before Shifford Lock we passed a couple of chaps in a rowing/camping boat - we had seen them yesterday and again several times later. The came from Lechlade this morning.

From here we continued along the very twisty river - at one point we had several minutes delay as the wide beam Kali that we have met several times yesterday and today, became stuck on a very tight and narrow bend.

At Newbridge we opted to take a chargeable mooring rather than risk not finding room where we moored two nights ago. Again, mooring was tricky until Christine recruited a young lad on the bank to help pull us in and to hold the bow rope whilst Mike brought the stern in close enough for him to jump ashore!

17.1 Miles - 6 Locks

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