Friday 4 August 2023


Today's Navigation : Thames

Firstly, a correction: yesterday we referred to the Henley Regatta as yet to come - in fact it took place at the end of June!

A pretty woodland path follows closely at the water's edge - before setting off, Mike took a short walk along to see the rest of the moorings. What had almost deterred us turned out to be a sign that indicated that the stretch upstream from the sign is No Mooring.

This was our mooring slot - just long enough for one! At least the depth was good and there were mooring posts, although we also used the tree at the right.

Shortly before the next lock there was a sequence of very posh looking boathouses - now residences. We think that they are part of a nearby large estate that was at one time the most expensive property outside London.

Marsh Lock has a very wide weir and above it is an equally long footbridge, both above and below the weir. This carries the Thames Path, a well-known long distance walk.

The lock keeper's house at Marsh Lock is a distinct design - most that were built by the Thames Conservancy follow a common pattern.

As we neared the public moorings at Henley, there were plenty of boats but still room for new arrivals. As the river becomes wider and deeper, the size of some boats increases.

Also moored here was Nyula. We featured her yesterday but, although we thought that it was a Dunkirk Small Ship, we failed to find any details. Not entirely surprising as originally, when built in 1933 and when requisitioned by the Admiralty seven years later her name was Betty She later become Nimrod and eventually gained her current name in 1970 when she was restored after several years of neglect, More details here

A number of large trip boats operate from close to Henley bridge, the more exotic include this New Orleans imitation paddle ship.

As we said at the top of this  blog, the Regatta has long gone into the record books and almosta ;ll of the extensive (and no doubt expensive) hospitality facilities have been packed away, Just one or two syll to go.

It is not permitted to pass through the race reach without taking a photo of the famous Temple at the start.

Henley Business School is now part of Reading University and claims to be amongst the oldest - and most prestigious - business schools un Europe. It continues to provide elite business people with the education that their school (and perhaps university) time failed to do! (Naughty . . .)

Hambleden Lock has, as well a a few flowers, two splendid items of topiary.

We have probably mentioned Medmenham Abbey every time we have passed this way! Perhaps we just cannot get out of our minds its past association with the Hellfire Club and their late night orgies!

Hurley Lock was the only one today on Self Service. At first we though that we were gong down on our own but, with Christine acting as lock keeper, she re-opened the gates to admit two small boats that just turned up.

Temple Foot Bridge stretches right across the wide river.

Bisham Abbey (now the National Sports Centre) and Bisham Church followed a little while after Temple Lock. Bisham Abbey also do weddings and conferences!

The lock keeper at Marlow Lock was determined to find room for just one more little one!

Cookham Bridge is yet another long crossing over the river, this time it carries vehicles as well.

At Cookham Lock both we and another narrowboat enquired about an overnight mooring and, yes, there was just room for both of us. The moorings are around the corner below the lock, pleasant and secluded. Could do with a bit of a trim to the vegetation but we did not begrudge (well, not a lot) the £9 overnight charge.

A little later Christine went for a walk around the island - on the opposite side of the backwater is Rose Cottage, famously donated to the Sea Rangers by a former Lady Astor. Cliveden is close by and we shall see that soon after setting off tomorrow.

Cookham Lock has had quite a history. Nearby Hedsor Water was once part of the navigation route and also had a useful wharf owned by Lord Boston. However, this part of the river was notoriously dangerous and a lock was built which eventually led to the present cut (which bypasses Hedsor) and the loss of trade for the Lord, who was not pleased and sought compensation for the loss of the towpath rights. The present lock dates from 1957.

14.8 Miles - 6 Locks

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