Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Thames on the limit

Today we hitched a ride from Henley on Thames to Pangbourne aboard nb Shallmar with Graham and Sandra. Beyond Pangbourne we could not go, because the red boards are out on the locks, showing that the river above there is unsafe to venture out on. Apparently the levels are still rising and the current was pretty stong in places. Not that it seemed to bother Shallmar that much.

Here's the overflow from the sliuces at Marsh Lock, Henley,

and Shallmar as she ploughs through the heavy current on the approach to the lock where we waited for our lift. She has a good strong engine and a bow thruster which helps you hold straight when you get hit by a side current as we did when entering Mapledurham lock through a strong back eddy from the adjacent weir. Mind you, we did clip the edge of Sonning bridge as we passed through. I must say Shallmar is a lovely boat, but she ought to be - at nearly twice the price of Herbie!

We're familiar with this part of the Thames as towpath walkers, but it was our first time seeing it from a boat. Here we see the mouth of the Kennet and Avon canal / river Kennet as it joins the Thames at Reading. Many's the time we have turned down here on foot, on out way to the Fisherman's Cottage pub, or to the shops in Reading.

When you get past Caversham bridge you see all the big posh riverside houses with their turrets and balconies, their swimming pools and their bijou boat houses. We liked this thatched one.

Once at Pangbourne, the moorings are very nice. A National Trust meadow with boat sized bays cut into the bank and good bollards to tie up to. It was very tranquil and rural although the village shops and pubs etc were just a few minutes walk away - and that's where our daughter Claire picked us up to run us back home. Thanks to Graham and Sandra for an interesting day. Now we know what the Thames is like when the river is on "strong stream" we should be confident to take Herbie on it in more normal conditions.

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