Having made good progress and being ahead of plan, we decided that for the next week or so we don't need really early starts, so we set off in full daylight at 8.30am after breakfast, this consisted today of bacon, mushrooms
we picked from a riverside pasture from the Co-op and bread. One of the challenges of the trip is now to pick some fresh mushrooms. The Swans are very tame in Pangbourne, obviously very used to being fed. We head off towards Reading, the first lock we come to is Mapledurham. This has a particularly large weir, the water flow seems high after all the recent rain.
We continue towards Henley on Thames, it was planned as the evening destination, but due to our rapid progress, we are now planning to stop at "The Angel" pub for lunch on the bridge.
We pass through Reading, then past the mouth of the Kennet. Again the day as warmed up with more and more sunshine, it is now a perfect late summers day. The river and banks are extremely beautiful and tranquil, again hardly any other boats travelling, leaving a vast expanse of wild empty open river, it is hard to believe that this is in the heart of one of the most populated parts of the world.
We then find more civilisation as we close in on Henley, there are many stunning and amazing houses on the banks.
|Houses on the banks of the Thames|
We then come across something rather peculiar, a house close to the bank, with a small jetty and a helicopter sitting on the backs just behind a hedge, we couldn't see any way out other than to just fly it away.
|Helicopter behind hedge|
At about 1pm we head into Henley just in time for lunch.
|Henley on Thames|
We were able to moor up at the public mooring next to the pub. It is small only big enough for one boat, which is already there, another narrow boat, so we double moor.
|Under Henley Bridge|
|Double moored by the pub|
|Glyn contemplating lunch|
For lunch I had ribs and chips, and a pint of Pimms (well it is Henley). Glyn had Cajun chicken and chips, and a pint of beer. Lunch was great, we ate outside in the warm sunshine overlooking the bridge.
We moved off and spend quite a while following the course of the Regatta, the meadows on the left bank are all carefully mowed and tidied for at least three miles or so, we then passed Fawley Temple on Temple Island, this marks the start of the regatta course. It was designed by Architect James Wyatt, and has been fully restored by the Stewards of the Henley Royal Regatta. I found an old photograph on the internet showing at least 150 people on the island on Regatta day.
|Fawley Temple on Temple Island|
We then continued on towards Marlow and our evening mooring, on the way we passed the National Sports centre at Bisham Abbey, this is where I had to take a marine radio course a couple of weeks ago, in a small
wooden building on the banks of the Thames.
|Bisham Abbey Sailing School|
It interesting that the Thames is less eventful than the canal, we had expected the Thames to be more challenging, but so far in the upper reaches this is not the case, the locks are certainly easier. The lock keepers are a very interesting set of individuals though, as all are totally different, some very helpful, some a bit grumpy, so very laid back, some very strict, this is also a quiet time of year for them, with not to many boats going through. Outside of lock keepers hours all the locks are capable of being self operated with push button controls for the sluices and the gates. If the power fails there are levers and a large wheel to turn to open and close the sluices and the gates.
We moored up just the other side of Marlow bridge on the river path of the local leisure centre, we paid £10 for mooring and could have used the pool and the showers for free, but didn't. There was a lovely view of an old house on the opposite bank, lit by the late autumn sunlight.
|House on opposite bank.|
Glyn then decided the feed the swans and ducks and we encircled by 14 swans and 42 ducks in a mad feeding frenzy.
We headed into town had a pint at the Slug and Lettuce, and a quick trip round Sainsbury's. Tea on the boat consisted of cold chicken, cheese and bread, and a beer. I was asleep by 8 and slept for 10 hours.