June 18 – 21, 2014.
Having started the day on the Kennet & Avon canal just downstream from Ufton Swing Bridge 25, with Dave who joined me for the day as crew, I was back on the Thames at Reading by mid-day finally mooring at Pangbourne Meadow mid-afternoon.
The journey from Reading to Oxford on the Thames is approximately 40 miles distance and includes 13 locks. Today’s leg took me through just 2 locks – Caversham Lock in Reading and Mapledurham Lock – and covered a distance of approximately 7 miles.
Single-handed again and leaving Pangbourne early in the morning before the lock keepers come on duty, the first lock of the day, Whitchurch Lock, was set to self-service. This suits me, as I’ve written before, operating the locks is straight forward if you can press a couple of buttons in the correct sequence, and I prefer doing things at my own pace rather than being needlessly rushed, which can be a struggle when single-handed, as sometimes happens with the lock keepers. Passing by Beale Park it’s 4 miles before I reach the next lock of the day at Goring, which too is set self-service, however another boat is already there setting the lock and I can cruise straight in. Leaving Goring lock it’s less than a mile to Cleeve Lock, my last lock of the day which is manned, although I still have a further 6 miles to travel to my intended destination Wallingford.
Travelling from Cleeve Lock to Wallingford I spot my first pillbox on the Thames. I’m sure there are many more but I’ve missed them. I also passed the boathouse in the photo below which looks interesting and appears to be a home, possibly being renovated.
After a relatively easy day yesterday I decided I wanted to try and make it to Oxford today. Making an even earlier start I managed to get away before the person who collects the mooring fee of £5 for Wallingford turned up – terrible I know 😉 It’s not always free on the Thames!
I managed to make Oxford after 9 hours on the river, travelling 22.75 miles and 8 locks (according to the Nicholson Guide 7) including a short break for lunch at Abingdon. Moored up on the Thames just before Osney Bridge I’ve a couple hundred yards to travel in the morning before turning off onto the Sheepwash channel that will take me onto the Oxford Canal for my journey up to Braunston.