Friday, 19 September 2014

Home Counties Cruise: Day 14

We had a very enjoyable evening last night:  my Radio 2 friend and colleague Bobbie came to visit with her sister and her dog, as they live close by.  It was really great to see them out of a work context.  Overnight, we had the most tremendous thunderstorm and torrential rain.  It woke us up at 1.45am -- the thunder seemed to be directly overhead, and even appeared to be shaking the boat.  By this morning, the level of the river had risen a few inches; we knew this because yesterday if we wanted to open or close the side doors we had to go outside and lean the boat over a bit, as the bank was a bit high -- this morning there was plenty of clearance.

We set off at around 8.30, in rather misty conditions.  It was still warm, though.  The first landmark was Chertsey Bridge.

Chertsey Lock was on self service, so Adrian went to press the buttons.  The locks are set to go slow when on self service, so it took nearly half an hour to get through.  We were soon passing under the M3 and on to Laleham.  At Laleham boatyard there's a rather nice collection of classic cruisers.

Staines looks rather attractive from the water.  The Swan Hotel has plenty of flowers, and decent moorings.

Our second motorway of the day was the M25, which has two bridges, one for each carriageway.  The nearer one was the least attractive.

Bell Weir Lock is immediately afterwards.  The locks are all different shapes and sizes, and this is a big one; we were on our own.  The lock keeper was very uncommunicative.  By the next lock, at Old Windsor, there were five boats going up, and the lady on the front of the cruiser behind us was very chatty.

We hardly had to wait for any of the locks.  At Romney Lock, the French's steam boat, Streatley, was just leaving.

Windsor is above the lock, and the castle towers over the town's more ordinary buildings.

We'd had Dorney Lake in mind as a destination, but we were making very good progress, so decided to continue.  So we had lunch on the move and continued to Boveney Lock which was on self service.  A couple on a cruiser were operating it, and we just managed to fit in as well.  Above Bray lock we went under the M4.  Bray is very attractive from the river, and there were people out on the terrace at the Roux brothers' Waterside Inn.

Maidenhead follows quickly on.  Brunel's rail bridge has the widest and flattest brick arch in the world, and Maidenhead Bridge is beyond.

We went up Boulter's Lock to our new planned destination, Cliveden Reach.  By now the sun had come out, and the reach looked fantastic.  A bit further along, Cliveden house comes into view high up on the hill.

We cruised almost to the end of the reach, checking out possible moorings as we went.  The prime ones on the islands, Bavin's Gulls, were either taken or much too short.  But there was one on the National Trust side just at the southern end of the islands.  We did a big u-turn and made our way back to it, reversing in so the side doors were on the water side.  We've tied up to trees, and had to deploy the gangplank for, we think, the first time ever.  It will be interesting to see whether the NT come down this far to collect their mooring fee.

It's now really hot in the sunshine, and this is a particularly idyllic spot.  Tomorrow, we start retracing our steps.

21 miles, 8 locks.  (176 miles, 116 locks)

1 comment:

Carol said...

Don’t forget to walk up the hill - fantastic views from up there. Maybe we’ll meet up somewhere?