Thursday, 28 August 2014

Winding up the Windy Upper Thames Aug 2014

Our Summer Cruise 2014

Day 63 To Radcot Bridge 16 miles 5 river locks
Day 64 To Lechlade Meadow 7 miles 3 river locks

Our trip up the Upper Thames provided the unique experience that is characteristic of this section - like the Warwickshire Avon in places with wider, straight, open lengths - contrasted with encroaching, winding, bendy sections - more jungle that Oxfordshire.
There were more 'S' bends than the Wyrley Curley and Mississippi combined!

We broke the journey on a rural mooring below Radcot Bridge opposite a caravan holiday site. There were quite a few caravan/camping sites dotted along the river.

We were passed by the occasional cruiser - on the whole the river was empty of moving boats

Some of the bends had these marker buoys  to avoid the silt banks

The large water treatment works at Farmoor Reservoir

The Thames locks were all well kept and tidy - here at Northmoor Lock?

A rare sight - the rymers and paddles to control the weir flow

Old and New!

A bit of a squeeze through Newbridge Bridge - new as in the 14th century - built by the monks on the orders of King John to provide a north-south link from the wool farms of the south to the Cotswolds

A solid structure that needs lining up when navigating - happily the river flow was at summer levels so a straightforward passage

A Bank Holiday KikiFest planned - it was a private party!

A narrow, overgrown section

We passed this swimmer just above Shifford Lock

Bridges across the Upper Thames are few and far - here an example of a wooded footbridge crosses the Thames footpath

An example of the many World War II pill boxes that were dotted along the northern bank - a second line of defence for the threatened 1939 Hitler invasion [the first line was the Kennett and Avon Canal some 30 miles further south of the Thames]

The sweet smelling yet rampant Himalayan Balsam has taken a hold here

A couple of the higher locks were unmanned - see the wonderful 'Self service' sign. Being canal boaters we are used to this and actually enjoyed getting off the boat to work the lock

The Upper Thames locks have easy to use, counter balanced wheel operated paddle gear - here the red lever indicates the paddle is partially open. The large, broad beam gates swung easily and there was a pole supplied to open and close the off side without going round - luxury itself!

Another tight squeeze at Radcot Bridge - the oldest surviving bridge on the Thames from the early 1200's

First mate holds the bow rope as we lock up ourselves - we decided to wear our life jackets all along the river?!

Passing a semi-permanently moored barge, well appointed MV Orca

Our arrival at the navigable head of the River Thames (at least for a 60 footer) as the final stretch up to Inglesham we were told was silted up. These meadow moorings were very pleasant and a cost us £4 per night.  Lechlade Town is over the river bridge

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