A slow trip to Dorchester

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.P1020348

Mapledurham lock and weir

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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.

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Whitchurch Lock

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).P1020365

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.

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Steel Away and Karanja, alonside at Goring

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!

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Moulsford Railway Bridge

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!

4 thoughts on “A slow trip to Dorchester”

  1. Hello David,
    You don’t know us, our names are Lynne and Allen Reid and we are good friends with Ron and Sharen Langdon who we also met whilst RV’ing round America.
    He’s shared your “blog” on Facebook because he knows that what you’re doing is something that Al and I would love to do. I’ve really enjoyed the account of your travels, a Dutch barge is certainly preferable to a narrow boat for spending time on, but tell me can you only stay on certain rivers/ canals with the width restrictions, you must have to plan your travels carefully.
    We live in Cheshire and I know that a lot of the canals in this area wouldn’t take a wide beam barge.
    Good luck on your travels and enjoy every mile.
    Kind regards,
    Lynne and Allen Reid
    Ps. We still spend time with Ron and Sharen when we winter in Palm Springs with them, but sadly we’ve sold our 5th wheel so no more travelling around, the gypsy in me is struggling (hehe)

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  2. Lovely blog, David – it’s this sort of detail that will keep your and Ange’s experiences alive in your memories. Nice photos, too, especially the one of us moored alongside you at Goring. Thanks again for your hospitality, which I hope Roy and I will have an opportunity to reciprocate one day, perhaps in France. We’re on our way, as you know, currently in a nice mooring at Cookham.

    Best,
    Verne and Roy (Karanja)

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    1. Thank you Verne & Roy,
      We too hope to meet somewhere in France…who knows…but in the meantime, we will be following your blog with interest.
      Best wishes,
      David & Angie

      Like

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