Abingdon to Mapledurham
2nd August 2010
22 miles - 6 locks - 7 hours
Fortified by our early morning stroll round round Abingdon we were in surprisingly good shape given the shenanigans of the night before.
Houses great and small
We took our leave of Barry and Sandra at 11.00am, pulling our pins and heading down stream. Abingdon marks the start of the "lovely house" belt with amazing properties coming thick and fast, sometimes huge homes and other times extravagant boat houses. Sadly our pressing timetable denied us an opportunity to visit gems like Dorchester or Clifton Hampton - maybe next time.
Somewhere along here we came across an elderly fisherman being pressed by no less than four policemen, plus a "bear in the air" hovering above. They sure seem to take licence evasion seriously hereabouts.
The Capt and Jeff indulge in some peanut catching
Belle resplendent in her sun hat
Lock follows lock, leading to Goring and Cleeve with their locks in a wooded valley. All terribly pretty and arguably the finest stretch of the Thames.
Beale Park came a bit soon for mooring up, but would make an excellent stopping place another time. In a couple of weeks this area will be transformed when it is taken over by the IWA for the 2010 National Festival, but at the time of our visit there was just a banner attached to some railings.
The plan had been to reach Sonning but that was a bit out of reach. Instead we decided to moor between Whitchurch and Mapledurham Locks. Of course, mooring isnt that simple on the Thames where the banks are privately owned and one cant just stop where you want. All the moorings were taken till we spied a place on the offside at Mapledurham lock. Not a great mooring with only the stern able to get in close to some tree roots, but with a bit of creativity using the boat pole in the mud we secured a still afloat WB.
Fishing was a dead loss but it did offer a great sunset and a rather lovely mooring at a cost of £5, payable to a ranger from Mapledurham Park at 8.00 the next morning.