So we come to the Award for Best Town Moorings 2011. This is an interesting one. Whilst many towns rejoice in their waterfront, not all of them provide a welcome for visitors arriving by water. Maybe they feel they don’t need to.
Take Windsor for example. You can’t take a boat holiday up the Thames without calling in at Windsor can you? It’s a tourist hot spot. How come then they have so few places to tie up for the night near the centre? In the summer season I suspect a lot of boaters get frustrated. We arrived out of season, in March, so we were lucky that we were able to occupy the only good free mooring near the town centre. Note – room for one narrowboat only.
Then let me remind you of the welcome sign at this place!
So you might have guessed the award is unlikely to go to Windsor on this occasion. Neither will Warwick ( and Leamington) because although they are fine towns, they seem to have turned their backs on the canal.
Of the towns we stayed at this year, the ones we liked mooring at were:
Hampton – very good moorings right outside the golden gates of Hampton Court palace. As well as the river and the palace there’s .. er.. not a lot.
Marlow – We found a quiet spot in a scenic setting below the lock, and there are some more on the other side of the town bridge. I think we would have liked it more in better weather. We like Marlow as a town too.
Wallingford – Good new moorings and a pleasant little town. You could picnic or have a barbie here easily. However, you have to pay a modest fee. £3 or £4, I can’t remember exactly.
Abingdon – A fair amount of free moorings handy for the town and an actual welcome sign! You can stay for 5 days too!
Banbury – is a place worth stopping at, - a good Saturday market - and it embraces its canal front in some style.
However the long line of moorings on the southern approach is not especially attractive and there were murmurings of oiks nearer the town centre.
Well, there’s an award winner here somewhere, but I’m not sure yet. Answer tomorrow.