Wednesday, 14 June 2017


Bourne End to Windsor
June 2017

The plan was, as it so often is, to make an early start. The reality was waking bleary eyed at 9.00am and realising late starts are one of the great benefits of not working!

Windsor castle viewed from our mooring

The mooring at Bourne End was tranquility itself, just the occasional scrape as the baseplate moved against a sunken concrete edging, but in the main it was silence.

As we progress down the Thames the excess seen in the houses we pass slackens off a bit, with just a few grand piles staring down from lofty vantage points as we approached Maindenhead. The town is home to Boulters Lock, scene of some of the most iconic boating images from the Victorian era, when punting and rowing were all the rage. Today the lock chamber was less photogenic, including us, another narrow boat beside us and couple of plastics at the back.

Whilst the houses are more modest, there were some exceptional sculpture in the back gardens.

 Garden scupltures

The heatwave settled in today with temperatures reaching 24C out of a nearly cloudless sky. Helen popped in and out but I manned the tiller and tried to hide under my sun hat as far as it was possible. 

Bovney Lock

I have mentioned it before but the provision of boaters services it less than regular on the Thames. Not a problem with regard to water, but not so good when you have a cassette to empty. Thankfully, some facilities are provided beneath Bovney Lock and as I waited I saw pillars of smoke pouring from the lock chamber. No, the EA were not firing up the barbie for a staff social - steamboat Alaska was coming through. I have repeatedly pointed out Salters "steamers" to Helen and she routinely expressed disappointed hat they didn't steam. Well, this one did, taking a select few guests down to Windsor and back, its prop turning almost silently and leaving a very pleasant aroma of coal smoke in her wake.

Alaska in full steam

I mentioned the more modest riverside houses but I guess it has to be said that we are now moored beneath probably the grandest one of all - Windsor Castle. Ok, the meadow mooring costs £8, but its less than Henley and it does offer a rather splendid view. 

We will pause in Windsor, taking in the theatre tonight and going to the supermarket tomorrow (Waitrose of course) before heading down towards Weybridge and the Wey Navigation tomorrow. The general plan is to spend the weekend on the Wey, exploring the first new waters of the trip.


Sue said...

Enjoy the Wey, it is a lovely lovely river. At Thames lock ask to borrow a long handled windlass it makes it much easier winding paddles which can be a bit tough with an ordinary one.

Simon Kelley said...

Ah, you're detouring via the Wey? Excellent! I was resigned to your slipping past on the Thames whilst we were hiding up here - currently moored at Walsham Gates and heading to Guildford on Sunday. Now we'll have the opportunity to restock the Jam Cellar.

A hint for Wey newbies, when you get to the sign to the Wey Navigation pointing to the left, it means "Go straight on, passing to the left of this sign." and NOT "Go down the backwater on the left with all the moored boats." Don't ask how I know this :)

Simon (NB Melaleuca).

Andrew Tidy said...

Simon - that's excellent news. See you soon!

Andrew Tidy said...

Sue - is that longer handled than the grand union longer handled?

Sue said...

Yes it is Andy, but a bit heavier. It does a cracking job (excuse the pun!)