When we departed our overnight mooring spot, we had in mind where would aim for about ten miles away. We settled into a pleasant cruise, and as on the River Avon, we were able to set the throttle to about 1200 rpm, and the boat virtually steered itself in the deep water. The guide books tell you to keep a watch for rowers and canoes at various stages, but what they don’t tell you about, and we saw several, were swimmers. It is actually quite easy to miss, a small head bobbing about in the water. Some wore small orange floats, which made them easy to see. We had three Locks to navigate today, and all were manned by Lock keepers. All the Locks are very well maintained, including the garden areas, and each has a delightful Lock cottage on site. The Lock keepers live on site, and one stated he would have to carried out, rather than give it upon retirement. We passed a huge holiday home park at Bablock Hythe, where the very posh caravans on the river frontage, also have a mooring jetty each. I hate to think how much they cost. At the second Lock of the day, we needed to top up with water. It was also lunchtime, so a good opportunity to do both. Unbeknown to us we had stopped at the fastest water tap on the Thames, indeed probably the country. The tank was refilled in five minutes.
Lunch was therefore prepared and eaten, in an equally short time. After Shifford Lock we entered a stretch of the Thames with some very tight S bends. Whereas travelling in a straight line was easy, pushing 20 tons around the tight bends, was like pushing a brick through the water. This tight stretch only lasted for a mile, then the river opened up once more. At Tadpole bridge, there was a mooring we were looking for, but sadly it was occupied by a hire boat. We could have squeezed in under a willow tree, but with thunderstorms forecast, we didn’t fancy that. The next Lock was Rushey Lock, and the lady Lock keeper informed us that there was an excellent mooring spot just around the next bend. There was, and it was occupied by two cruisers. However the gap between the two, was big enough for us. Not long after we arrived, both cruisers departed. It was nothing we said, they just had to get back to their home mooring.
We were not alone for long, within five minutes another narrow boat tucked in behind us. We are safely away from any trees, just in case the storm does hit, and four legs has nice grassy field to play in.
Whether we move tomorrow is very much dependant on the weather. We are forecast a night of thunderstorms, and the rain may continue until midday. We shall just have to wait and see.
Totals 10 Miles 3 Locks
Running total 219 Miles 277 Locks 9 Tunnels