Shillingford

We departed Pangbourne just before 9 am, and arrived at the nearby Lock, before the duty lock keeper had started work. The crew therefore had to deal with the electric operation of the sluices and gates. We met very little boat traffic as we cruised upstream. Setting the engine to 1400 rpm, we created barely a ripple, gliding through the water at about 6 knots. Mid morning we navigated Goring and Cleeve Locks, then had a five mile reach, where we encountered several rowers in training. We had seen hundreds of geese on the approach to Goring, and these were flying overhead up and down the river in formation. As they did so we spotted lots of splashes in the water, it was like a scene from the dambusters, only this time we were the target.

Just some of the geese we encountered

Our intended destination was going to be Wallingford, but on arrival it was full. There was some mooring available beneath a line of large willow trees, but not somewhere we would choose to stop. Shillingford was only two miles and one Lock further on, and as we approached Shillingford Bridge, we could see plenty of mooring space available in front of the hotel. We found a spot and secured the boat. The edging to the bank side is quite high and a bit wonky, so we have deployed the wheelbarrow wheels to keep the cabin side of the boat away from the edge.

Moored at Shillingford

Four legs was left on guard, whilst we popped into the hotel for lunch. It was then we found out, there is a charge of fifteen pounds to moor overnight. This does entitle you to a ten percent discount on any food purchased. Tomorrow we will be aiming for Abingdon.

Totals 12 Miles 4 Locks

Running total 485 Miles 521 Locks 15 Tunnels

Pangbourne Meadow

Today we departed Goring, with only a relatively short cruise planned. Most of the cruisers had gone yesterday, and some earlier this morning. Presumably heading for the famous regatta at Henley-on-Thames. We are pleased not to be going that far, as the crowds and river traffic will be horrendous. The stretch of river below Goring is beautiful, and there are some good moorings adjacent to Beale Park.

Cruising, our view ahead
Views astern

Our only Lock of the day, Whitchurch Lock soon came into view, and was manned so no work for the crew to do. Within a few hundred yards below the Lock, we found our mooring spot.

Mooring Pangbourne Meadow

Four legs was happy, he had a huge grassy field to play in, and later would recline himself beneath a sun shade. We had spotted a pub above the Weir, The Swan, so we went there for lunch. We also met the crew of a pair of narrow boats, that we have been playing leap frog with since leaving Lechlade.

After lunch we watched the river traffic, some of which is commercial, and were also treated to an impromptu air show, as someone practiced their acrobatic display.

Tug boat pulling a barge

Tomorrow the plan is to travel the remainder of the Thames, and then through Reading on the Kennet and Avon Canal. First we need a full set of services from Caversham boatyard.

Totals 4 Miles 1 Lock

Running total 282 Miles 302 Locks 9 Tunnels

Goring

Well yesterday we certainly did many more miles than we intended. We set off from Abingdon in warm sunshine, but now accompanied by a cool breeze. Compared to the heat of the previous day, it was perfect. After passing through the first Lock of the day at Culham, we had Didcot power station in view for a mile or two.

Didcot Power Station

Approaching the sweeping bend in the river, between Burcot and Dorchester, we began to look for a mooring. We found a possible spot against a farmers field, however it was a little shallow. Rather than persevere we continued on. This was a mistake. Our next opportunity to moor up was in Shillingford, at the front of the Shillingford Bridge Hotel. There were plenty of cruisers already there, but between them what looked like a sixty foot gap. As we manoeuvred towards it there was a shout from the bank, ‘these are all reserved for the Upper Thames Cruising Club Sunday lunch’. Rather than argue the point we carried on. So far on the Thames we have avoided rowers, swimmers and canoeists, now it was sailors.

Dinghy dodgems

Each mooring we passed, was occupied by cruisers out for the weekend. When we reached Cleeve Lock, our fourth of the day, we stopped for water. This also provided half an hour respite for a late lunch, while the tank filled. Once below Cleeve Lock, there is only a few hundred yards of river before reaching Goring. The Lock was manned, but when we asked the Lock keeper if there were any spaces on the mooring below, the answer wasn’t promising. Fortunately we were lucky, there was just one narrowboat length space available, so we grabbed it.

Moored at Goring
Dwarfed by the cruisers

After securing the boat, we wandered into Goring seeking refreshments. We found them in the Miller of Mansfield, a pub and restaurant. The food was excellent.

Today I took a walk up to the Lock, and paid the Lock keeper five pounds for an extra night here in Goring. After 19 miles the previous day we needed a rest.

Goring Lock

We are only a couple of days away from the Kennet and Avon Canal now, and how far we will get, will be dependant on the Canal and River Trust fixing the pumps at Caen Hill. Whether they will or not in time for us, is anyone’s guess.

Totals 19 Miles 5 Locks

Running total 278 Miles 301 Locks 9 Tunnels