A day at Henley Regatta

We always enjoy spending our time in Henley, its a beautiful location on the river.   Today, we especially enjoyed our day in the Stewards enclosure at the Henley Royal Regatta.

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First time I have worn boat shoes with a suit and Angie with high heels on the boat? 🙂

The first time we have been dressed in smarts for some time and those high heels (Angie’s :)) were not worn on board!

At the Regatta, there was some good close rowing races, some wonderful and some weird sights and overall, it was an enjoyable experience and another box ticked on our list.

Elvis was performing on a platform with an outboard motor on it and he was pretty good too!

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“Elvis” performing on the river

Our friends Tracey and Shaun had secured a premium mooring right opposite the regatta for their beautiful Piper 60 barge, “Ascension”, so we popped up (excuse the pun) and shared a glass or two of prosecco with them which made the day even more enjoyable.

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Ascension moored at the regatta site

Finally, we returned to the Stewards enclosure and enjoyed afternoon tea along with hundreds of others, before retiring to the stern deck of Steel Away for a well deserved glass of vino.

Here’s a few scenes from the regatta

An interesting lock chat on our way to Henley Royal Regatta.

We are heading to Henley for a few days to spend a couple of days at the Henley Royal Regatta.

We left Caversham and headed downstream and as we approached Sonning lock, we came up behind one of the many “Le Boat” hire boats that are on the river at this time of year.   She had a two man crew on board.   The lock was ready for us to enter as we approached so we felt this was going to be a quick trip to Henley.   We entered the lock  and the helmsman was obviously a bit wary of our 32 tonnes of steel being behind him in the lock (how dare he even think that I could be a danger to him!) 🙂

Soon after leaving the lock we negotiated Sonning bridge

Sonning Bridge
Sonning Bridge

As we were approaching Shiplake College, the hire boat pulled to the port side of the channel and indicated that he wanted us to pass him, which we duly did.   We asked him if he was continuing on to Shiplake lock.   He replied that he was and we told him we would hold the lock for him (saving water!).   Having negotiated Shiplake lock, we proceeded on to Marsh Lock, where we had to wait for some rowing skiffs to leave the lock before we could enter.

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Waiting at Marsh Lock
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Skiffs and a dinghy leaving the lock

We soon entered and again waited for the hire boat.   Whilst the lock was being worked, I casually asked the crew of the hire boat where they were going to today.   “Benson” he replied.    I smiled and said “ha ha…where are you really going to today?”.   “Benson” he replied.   You can imagine his face when I told him that he was going the wrong way (and had been for the past two hours!).

Then came the reply “You are joking aren’t you?”.   Answer “No”.   He told me that he was sure he was heading in the direction of Oxford.    I explained that he was heading in the direction of London.   I then proceeded to tell him in my most sympathetic manner possible that he needed to turn round and head back the other way.   His put his head in his hands when I added that there was now nine locks between where we were and Benson Waterfront.   He then went to tell the helmsman the news and he was equally distraught!

We left the lock and watched as they turned around and headed back into the lock for what I am sure they would feel would be along journey back to Benson.

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Le Boat turning around at Marsh Lock
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Heading back!

We then headed to the public moorings in Henley where we had pre-arranged a timed departure (to coincide with our arrival) by our friends Mick and Jan on their widebeam “The Afterglow”.   They had been at Henley for a few days and had a nice spot where we could also get satellite reception.  We had helped them move their car downstream earlier in the day and it all worked like a dream.

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WB “The Afterglow” leaving the mooring

So now we are alongside at Henley, “dressed to the nines” and looking forward to an exciting couple of days or spectating at the Regatta.   Only problem is that as I write this blog it is absolutely pouring with rain!

Happy Days!

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“Dressed to the nines” for Henley Regatta

Canopy manufacture under way

The manufacture of our stern deck canopy is underway.   It is being made by Titan Boat Canopies, based in Cambridgeshire.

Steve, the owner of Titan provided us with a very good quote and we subsequently placed our order.   He came to discuss our detailed requirements and to take measurements for the stainless steel frame.   Once the frame was made, they fitted it to the boat.

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and then produce a great piece of equipment to take detailed measurements for the manufacture of the canopy.  The simplest description I can give is that it was a computer with and extending wire attached and a pen attached to the end of the wire.

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Steve then began to touch the frame in lots of places and as he was doing so, the computer was designing the basis for the canopy cover.

If you look closely, you can see the result in the shot below (unfortunately my shadow is on the screen).

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So now, Steve has taken the digitized plan back to his workshop for the production of the canopy to be started.   The next step is to “first fit” the new canopy and make any necessary adjustments before taking bit back to the workshop for final finishing and then fitting it to the boat.

You can see my article on the completion of this project here:

http://wp.me/p8eSsZ-r9

 

Whitchurch Bridge amazing community art project

On our recent trip downstream from Dorchester, we had learned that there was a community art project on show on the Whitchurch Bridge, which crosses the river Thames at Pangbourne and connects Pangbourne in Berkshire and Whitchurch-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.   The bridge is a toll bridge, created by of Act of Parliament in 1792.

We moored on Pangbourne Meadow and had a light lunch before walking back to the bridge.  Pangbourne meadow was busy with lots of canoeists cleaning, working on, carrying and using their canoes.

There was an amazing display of craft on the bridge, all with a river Thames theme and I have simply posted some photographs below which you might like to browse.

Congratulations to all those involved for their hard work and the great result they achieved!

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Dorchester back to Caversham, a dog rescue and a beautiful Tjalke!

We managed to pull ourselves away from our beautiful mooring at Dorchester on Thames and began our journey back towards Caversham we have an appointment we need to keep next week.

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Peaceful mooring at Dorchester on Thames

We had arranged to meet our friends, Sue and David at the restaurant Rossini at The Leatherne Bottle just upstream of Cleeve lock, with a view to returning to the restaurant for dinner later in the day. We got permission from the restaurant for their car to be left in the car park and headed off up to Wallingford for lunch.

As we left the mooring, the skies were grey but we were pleased to see a couple of narrowboats heading the other way, the surroundings making them look more majestic in some way.P1020512

We were soon headed under the beautiful Moulsford railway bridge , built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 1830’s.P1020460

When arrived at Wallingford we found Town Wharf moorings to be full.   We tried to get on boat to move to one end of the large space but when we realised that his handling ability was limited, we decided to turn around, go back under the bridge and find a bank side mooring somewhere downstream of the bridge.

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A bank side mooring downstream of the bridge

Wallingford is a quintessential English market town and today was Country market day so we headed into town and had a nice lunch.The ladies shopped and the men returned to the boat to savour the views.

 

At Wallingford, you are very close to RAF Benson so the helicopter traffic can be quite busy at times but we’ve never found it to be too intrusive.   We were flown over by this Chinook as we were relaxing.P1020423

We were ready to leave the mooring so I went onto the bank to remove the springs and warps when I heard a splash.  I looked up to see a lady and three children in a state of panic as their black labrador had fallen into the river.  The bank was about 5 feet high and he was struggling to try to get himself out.    I am not a fan of boat hooks generally as I have seen a few accidents as a result of them being used inappropriately.  However, I have also recovered a couple of my hats and caps and a fender or two using a hook so fortunately, I had bought one for Steel Away just the week before.    The dog was fitted with a harness collar so I was able to locate the hook inside his harness and hoist him up out of the water, much to the relief of his family.     He thanked me by shaking himself off and soaking me in the process!    The lady thanked me numerous times, the dog was happy again so we all departed feeling good.

We moved on downstream and took up the mooring at the Leatherne Bottle, where we enjoyed a superb meal.  Sue & David left for home and we returned to the boat for a night-cap in beautiful surroundings.

The following morning, we headed back to Caversham and on the way, just upstream of Cleeve lock, we passed a beautiful Dutch Tjalke, named Hiljo, who was almost at the end of her journey from Friesland, Holland to Lechlade.   Her owners, Martin & Sarah, should be very proud of her and themselves.   She is a beautiful boat.

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The beautiful Tjalke, Hiljo

We enjoyed a pleasant cruise from Cleeve Lock to Caversham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!