We left Dreadnought Reach in brilliant sunshine and soon cleared through Caversham lock on our way towards Dorchester-on-Thames for a visit to the Abbey. Once we had passed through Mapledurham lock, we passed a small farm with lots of Alpaca’s in the field.
Mapledurham lock and weir
As we continued on, we approached Whitchurch Lock and as it was on self-service, we moored on the lay-by and got the lock ready for ourselves. We made an uneventful passage through the lock. Whitchurch is a very pretty, traditional Thames lock complete with lock office and lock keepers house alongside. It was originally built as a wooden pound lock by the Thames Navigation Commissioners in 1787. The Lock House is the only surviving one of its type – the arched window design is the same as when the house was built in 1829.
We were soon passing under Gatehampton Railway Bridge, one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s masterpieces carrying the Great Western Railway across the Thames. It was built in 1838 (at the same time as Moulsford Railway Bridge a little further upstream).
We were soon navigating the Goring Gap and shortly afterwards arrived at Goring where we moored alongside and spent a very pleasant three night stay to facilitate a visit from our daughter and her husband. The mooring here is free for 24 hours and then £5 per night with the maximum stay allowed being 3 days. It is necessary to log your arrival with http://www.ThamesVisitorMoorings.co.uk. It is a very pleasant mooring just east of the lock. We also paid a visit to the late George Michael’s house in the village, which is still something of a shrine. We ate at the John Barleycorn and won’t be going back again!
We were joined at the mooring by Karanja, a Piper 49M and her lovely owners, Verne and Roy. We enjoyed a long wine and chat session in the evening before heading off the following morning.
We left our mooring and passed through Goring lock whereupon we entered the shortest reach on the Thames – the river between Goring lock and Cleeve lock is just over half a mile long and this is the shortest distance between locks on the river.
We motored on and soon we were passing under the second Isambard Kingdom Brunel bridge on our trip – Moulsford Railway Bridge. This is another masterpiece. It is constructed from red brick with Bath stone quoins as four elliptical skew arches of 62 feet (19 m) span and a headway height of 21 feet 8 inches (6.60 m). The bricklayers must have been very talented!
We then arrived at Wallingford, where we moored alongside at Town Wharf. The mooring here is £5 per night and although the sign states that the maximum stay is 24hrs, we were informed by the mooring superintendant that we were welcome to stay for three nights, which we were pleased to do. Wallingford is a nice town with antique shops, shops, pubs, a Waitrose supermarket and some nice walks for which you can get a leaflet from the Tourist Information Office in the Market Place.
From Wallingford we headed on to Benson Lock, which again is a pretty location and of ample size. We were soon through the lock and heading towards Shillingford, passing Benson waterfront on the way.
As we approached Shillingford, Ange was at the helm and with a little encouragement, decided that it was time for her to be at the helm as we negotiated a bridge. She continued at the helm and made a perfect passage through the arch.
We soon arrived at Dorchester-on-Thames where we were able to find a very peaceful mooring just west of the junction of the river Thame and the Thames. We visited the village and Abbey before returning to the boat where we enjoyed a BBQ in beautiful surroundings and hot, sunny weather!