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

34 - Wednesday 2nd August - Cliveden to Weybridge. River Thames and River Wey.

Weather very changeable, good few rainstorms and PLENTY of wind!

Linda started off from our island retreat fairly early at 7.15. Soon Neil and Alan appeared ready to crank Boulters Lock ourselves, if the power was not left on. Boulters was indeed  a crank it yourself job. Just as we were opening the gates the power came on (8.00)! No traffic until Bray Lock, where we met a solo bod in a cruiser coming up, we shared the cranking! Just as we were about to empty the lock the locky arrived and switched on the power. We could then use "The finger" method to turn the consoles to auto operation. We left up ward bound Maidboats hire cruiser wondering where to fit finger! We got in front of all the slumbering boats at Windsor (It was fairly packed on the town side, not many on other side due to a fair in the fields) Romney Lock was packed coming up, here we got caught in the first of the days rainstorms. 
We got our first view of a stupid Kris Cruisers newish day boat, like something out of a raft race! We left Romney with flotilla of plastic boats (whoops, cruisers!) . Their one unified mission, get past the narrowboat as soon as possible! As Linda was steering they had an easy job. Neil would of subtlety tried to send them into the odd rower or boat coming the other way! Below Windsor we caught up with the stragglers of a Lechlade to London rowing club flotilla. Soon we had a mad Dutchman inches from our stern, caught in Earnest's slipper stern "blank spot" , a bit of water  at the edges of the stern which seems to come along with the boat. Linda was steering and put up with this. Neil said it was OK with us, but it was entirely his responsibility if we had to stop or change course suddenly. The rowers continued until Staines. Linda had a good talk with some of the slipsteamers, apparently there was 160 of them! 
Neil was steering out of Bell Weir Lock and gave it a bit more welly. We got past all of the rowers, just after Staines Railway Bridge, but there was one hireboat which seemed to still want to overtake us all all costs. Neil managed to achieve by subtle knee control of the throttle the desired effect. We had to pull over for a rower on a bend. at this point there was another private cruiser coming the other way. For a moment a head on collision looked a possibility. At the last minute the private boat pulled right over to OUR bank, shaking his fist at the hire boat. Really quite satisfying! After this tearaway hire boat slowed down and we shadowed him all the way to the Wey. 
Just above Shepperton Lock we had another rain / wind storm, all in all a lot worse conditions than on the Severn Estuary! Also at this point Linda got into panic mode, shutting all hatches and getting every body to wear life jackets. The dreaded Shepperton weir pools had to be crossed. These turned out to be a total non event. There was virtually no water coming over the lower Shepperton Weir. At 14.45 we arrived below the Wey stop lock. The normal level here was at least 4ft lower than when we were last here in April! The Wey Thames Lock locky had to fill the pound below the lock using the outer entrance gate by about 2ft to get us safely over his sill, something he did not have to do in April. This locky was yet another new one. Linda used her NT card to get 10 percent discount off the 41 GBP 7day licence. Linda steered the rest of the way (Wey). The turn into Town lock, under the angled bridge was a non event. Here, yet another rainstorm occurred. We moored for the night, just above Town Lock (15.45). Later another 3 boats came up and joined us. Linda and Wendy went shopping to Waitrose and checked out the many restaurants in Weybridge. The Piccolo Italian was her chosen venue and bl**dy good it was to.

Crank it yourself Boulters Lock. How many turns Alan? River Thames.

Boulter's Lock cottage. River Thames.

Leaving Boulter's Lock. Boulter's Lock Inn restaurant to left. Neil's rich Uncle took him here in 1960 something after passing his O levels! River Thames.

Maidenhead Bridge. On longer will good old John Fleming come out from Norman's to wave to us. River Thames.

Skindles is still boarded up. It is about time this "mysteriously" burnt down! River Thames.

We actually go through he right arch of Maidenhead Bridge. River Thames.

Brunel's Maidenhead railway bridge. River Thames.

The Roux Brothers Waterside Inn. One day we will stop here in a narrowboat! River Thames.

Bray Lock. River Thames.

Bray Lock. River Thames.

Oakley Court, star of many "Hammer Horror" films. River Thames.

Leaving Bovney Lock. River Thames.

Windsor By-pass Bridge. Even the Swimming Pool moorings beyond were full up. River Thames.

Windsor Castle, the Windsor's are at home! River Thames.

Windsor Bridge. River Thames.

Kris Cruisers "raft race" day boat. River Thames.

Waiting for Romney Lock. River Thames.

The new Maidenhead flood relief channel will exit back into the Thames just downstream of Black Pott's railway Bridge. River Thames.

Victoria Bridge. River Thames.

Waiting for Bell Weir Lock. River Thames.

Staines Bridge. River Thames.

Approaching Penton Hook Lock. River Thames.

Penton Hook Lock. New steel gates. River Thames.

Streatley, the restored Thames steamy steamer. River Thames.

Will the real Draco please reveal itself. River Thames.

Another Draco. River Thames.

Linda in super safe mode waiting above Shepperton Lock. River Thames.

Thames lock. River Wey.

The Tour continues....

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