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Tours 2000, BCN, Severn Estuary, K&A and River Wey

33 - Tuesday 1st August - Henley on Thames to Cliveden Islands. River Thames.

Sad to here that Ian Clarke did not want my company last night, in Brakspears boozer, or was he meeting somebody there!!!!

Really getting into Thames mode, did not leave Henley until 10.00, so obviously got caught for 6.80 GBP mooring fee! As Ian said, we should have gone below the bridge where it is only 3.50 GBP, but this our "traditional" spot. Really quite busy on the river today, actually had to wait for Temple and Marlow Lock. Started filling up nearly empty water tank at Hurley Lock (11.50) on fireman's hose size (and pressure!) Plastic boat arrived and looked impatient anti narrowboat type! His jaw dropped when Neil offered to stop filling and let him use hose. He was indeed a hardened member of anti slug brigade, but Neil got him talking and his prejudices melted. He had boated on the river since about the first time we came on it. He said the hire boat industry was in disarray and that most people in his boat club secretly welcomed the influx of Gold licensed narrowboats, to keep the river alive! While were chatting another hire boat arrived for water, but Neil though that you can carry the torch of narrowboater friendliness a bit far! We were filled up in about 10 mins, but the washing machine had not quite finished so we had to wait for another 10 mins for it to finish after moving up to let the German hireboaters on the water point (can't have those engines on in the lock!) 
At Marlow Lock some nutty plastic boater had a go as us for not moving up! there was only about 4ft in front of us, and on an angle. Neil pointed out that there was plenty on space on the other side on the island lock waiting posts. He went further up the queue having a go at every one, then stormed in front of the "island" and waited in the river. A huge argument then erupted between him and his wife, not a happy bunny! The Marlow Lock keeper let us in last, rather near the sill. The hire boat in front could have moved up at least another 6ft, but he did not make them. Neil was aware that even some Thames locks have some sort of sill at the prescribed mark and left the engine in gear (although off) for a quick emergency push (we have had need of this in a packed Thames lock once before.) The "prone" rudder was also parked across. When we nearly down in this fairly deep lock there was a slight nudge on the skeg and a quick fire of the engine shot us off! Neil could see in the clear water the edge of the curved sill. The lock keeper was a bit concerned and admitted that he should have got the hire boat up a bit more. 
Coming out of Marlow Lock with a load of cruisers the normal happened, all of them roared past us across the river all jockeying for position! There was a time when we would have given them a better run for their money! When we eventually arrived at Cookham there was only one Narrowboat waiting from the last rush. Linda foolishly missed the lock stall selling bread (that we needed), for tonight we were to try for a Cliveden Deeps island overnight mooring (15.45), something we have never yet achieved. There was indeed one very good spot left on the furthest downstream island. Many other boats tried to invade our end of the island, but we had it to ourselves for the night! A novel mooring method was used to get us to fit this small "cove" between the trees. The bow rope was round a tree, pulling the side of the bow to the grassy bank. The stern stuck out, but a tyre fender tied to the centre rope ring held us off the handrail and to a large overhanging branch. That afternoon and evening was brilliant weather, so Neil and the kids went in swimming. That evening we had an alfresco dinner outside and downed a few bottles of half decent red. Being out of earshot of the other two boats on the other end of the island we had the stereo up a bit. Even the big candles got an airing. In all a good "proper" Thamesy afternoon and evening, as taught us by Ian Clarke. Shame you were not here in Straight Across, Ian!

A closing note, some flood relief channel contractors are messing about just down stream, what are they doing? Only half an hour ago their work boat was anchored in the centre off the river and they were trying to recover something with a Sea Searcher!


Henley upon Thames. River Thames.

Temple Island. River Thames.

Jancy, in Ian Clarke's opinion, one of the nicest wooden cruisers on the River Thames.

The Temple on Temple Island. River Thames.

Waiting for Hambleden Lock. River Thames.

Ian Clarke's mooring warden mates narrowboat. River Thames.

Leaving Hurley Lock. River Thames.

Good show at Temple Lock. River Thames.

Leaving Temple Lock. River Thames.

River Thames.

Marlow. River Thames.

Approaching Marlow Lock. River Thames.

Leaving Marlow Lock. River Thames.

The remote feeling Cookham Lock. River Thames.

Cliveden Deeps. Help! we must over take the narrowboat at all costs! River Thames.

Unorthodox mooring technique on our Cliveden Island mooring. River Thames.

Cliveden Island mooring. River Thames.

Cliveden Island mooring. River Thames.

Captain takes a kip after a swim. Cliveden Island mooring. River Thames.

The Tour continues....

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