Thursday, 25 April 2013

A little further than planned

We were gently rocked to sleep on the mooring below Goring Lock and woke refreshed ready for our second day on the Thames.  The notice on the lock keepers office stated it would be manned at 9.05am but when it was still unmanned by 9.15am we decided to work the lock on our own.  Jan had the technical part of working out the sequence to push the buttons (fortunately not windlass required) whilst I handled Waiouru.

The next lock (Cleeve Lock) was only a short cruise beyond Goring Lock and was manned.  The lock keeper let us through and also pointed out the location of the waterpoint which we used to top up the tank after Jan washed and dried the sheets whilst we were on the move yesterday.

The next lock (Benson Lock) was quite some distance away.  Apparently this is the longest stretch of the Thames without a lock.  The bridge at Wallingford has 17 arches but the majority of them are dry.

The Thames seemed rather empty of boats on the move.  Two narrowboats passed us going downstream.  One was named “Yarra” and appeared to have Aussies aboard as they commented on our “Kiwi” flag. 

Somehow Jan managed to capture me in one of the locks when she should have been pressing buttons.

It was probably retaliation for an earlier effort of mine.

There is plenty of evidence that there has been recent flooding with much of the vegetation one metre above the current water level either dead or covered in dried mud.  A couple of boats looked like they had been swamped at their moorings and this one had obviously suffered.

Along the way we found a good mooring for Waiouru, however it was already occupied and so we’ll have to wait for another day.

Jan eventually found our new home at Shillingford.  All we need to do is find the money and a ride on mower for me to keep the lawns in good condition.

There are some very large homes on this stretch of the Thames and I somehow can’t see the owners being able to maintain them without help.  But if you can afford the property you can afford the staff to help maintain it!

We passed the Tardis but there was no sign of The Doctor.

The plan was to moor at Day’s Lock as the Pearsons Guide showed moorings above and below the lock.  If they are there,,,,,, we didn’t see them!  So we kept on going.  Lunch would have been nice……

Two small boats appeared in the distance and as they got closer I suddenly realised they were steam powered.  Out came the camera and Jan took two quick photos as they passed.

We passed through Clifton Hampden where the guide showed paid moorings.  But again we couldn’t see any moorings so we kept on going.  By now we were starting to become “Mr & Mrs Grumpy”.  Eventually we reached Clifton Lock with Jan complaining “we’ll reach Abingdon before we find a mooring!”  But then as we left the lock (self-service again) I noticed there was a paid 24 hour mooring at the end of the lock landing so we stopped for the night at Clifton Lock in a very rural setting.  Only a short cruise to Abingdon tomorrow.


Adam said...

There are fantastic moorings above Day's Lock -- one of my favourites from when we did the Thames a couple of Septembers ago. But, like most of the river moorings, they're informal, field edge moorings. Just look for a boat-length hollow in the bank. If you want proper edges or rings, your options will be severely limited, but by using field moorings you can find superb spots in the middle of nowhere. Have a look at my blogs of 25 and 27 Sept 2011 for pics of the sort of moorings I mean.

Alf said...

The moorings above Days Lock are on the right, the bank ! That's what the mooring pins are for !! ;-)

Steve Jones said...

your poor faces!

Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

If only you were using one of our maps, ideally with real time tracking on your phone or laptop, you would have known exactly where the water point was as Cleeve Lock.

It would also have shown there are no moorings below Day’s Lock and, according to the lock keeper when we visited last summer, there haven’t been for many, many years. Above, there are 24h paid moorings in the weir stream to the left of the lock. You just gently back down into them with the aid of your bow thruster so you stay pointing into the current. If only you’d been using an up to date map with information I personally verified last summer ;-)

The Clifton Hampden 24h paid moorings are upstream of the bridge. Had you been using our maps with real time tracking the red dot would have shown exactly when you were at the moorings and the accurate map would have shown in advance which bank to look at ;-)

At Abingdon there are 5d and 24h free and paid for moorings. I hope you find the ones you want and know exactly where to look for them. There are also facilities for chandlery, diesel, pump outs, gas, water, elsan and refuse if you need any of them. A good map will show you exactly where they are ;-)

Did you spot any updates on the Kennet & Avon so we can keep our map up to date? Providing them by download means we can keep them up to date if boaters are kind enough to tell us of changes – as well as our own programme of verifying the information too.

Tom and Jan said...

I'm not sure if your 'fantastic' mooring continue to exist after all the flooding. We couldn't get against the bank and would have needed to use the 3 fold aluminium gangplank.

We're on pins at Abingdon and a quite happy. It's getting against the bank with our draft that's the issue!

20/20 hindsight is wonderful and we can only wish we hadn't purchased all the canal guides before leaving Australia! However when it comes time to replace them we know which source we'll be opting for! :-)