It’s a busy stretch of river at Bourne End. Little boats were buzzing up and down all evening last night, and this morning the rowers were out pretty early. We set off around 8.30, putting the stern out into the river in reverse to start with, waving goodbye to Vic on the way. There are some lovely houses in Bourne End.
We went under Cookham’s cast iron bridge, where the channel is right over to one side, and the marker is a bit skew whiff.
A widebeam was going down Cookham Lock so we joined them. Below the lock is Cliveden Reach, a very special part of the river, where you can moor in the trees or on islands. Going this way, you have to look behind you to get a glimpse of Cliveden itself.
We had a bit of a wait at Boulter’s Lock, because the lock keeper wasn’t quite on duty and a lovely Dutch barge style boat was coming up. We moored up below the lock, where you have to tie up to railings above your head, and had a visit from my colleagues Rebecca and Katharine. We took them on a short trip through Maidenhead’s two bridges, the 1772 road bridge, and Brunel’s rail bridge, which has the widest and flattest brick arch, dropping them off on the far side. There are then more lovely houses, including one which is for sale for a mere £7.25 million.
We had another wait at Bray Lock, because we had two narrowboats in front of us and the lock keeper didn’t think we’d all fit all. I think we could easily have gone behind one of the others. By the time it was our turn to go down, a widebeam had arrived — and was definitely too wide to fit in with us, so a narrowboat took their place. There’s a lot of work going on at the M4 bridge, although I’m not sure what.
The Oakley Court hotel had tables set out on the lawn for a socially distanced and Covid-secure lunch.
Boveney Lock was on self service, and we went down with the two narrowboats in front of us. We were all looking for moorings in Windsor, and we all got them. We stopped in the first available one, on the end of Baths Island. Once we were secure, we took a walk into town, which wasn’t busy at all; it’s normally swarming with tourists, and must be missing the Americans and Chinese.
One of the boats moored further along in Windsor is called Lockdown. The owners were sitting out as we walked back, so I asked them if it had been a lockdown purchase. It had been, so they said the name seemed obvious.
10 miles, 4 locks. (203 miles, 102 locks)