Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A Diversion on the Wey Navigation

It has been sometime since our last posting on this blog largely due to the fact that we have had the pleasure of meeting lots of friends over the last few days and so have not been keeping up to date on blogging duties.

We are now back on the Thames after three days going part way up the Wey Navigation to meet friends round Woking where we used to live.

At the last posting we had come onto the Thames at Reading and had reached Sonning. To start this posting here is a picture of the lovely sweet peas that Jeremy and Maggie brought us:

From Sonning on Friday we came downstream to Henley where life on the river was very different to when we came through last year.  This time it was only a few days after the famous Regatta and a few amateur races were still taking place on the same course upstream of Henley Bridge.  The river was divided down the middle with a line of posts so that the racing took place on the right and normal traffic was confined to the left half of the river:

Here is Henley Church and the bridge over the river.

Above the bridge normal traffic had to keep left with cruisers and other boats moored all the way down the middle of the river.

Note the new solar panel on Leo's roof, which we installed during the winter.

This photo shows the divide down the middle of the river with rowers racing on the far side.

Below Henley we came to Hambleden Lock and Weir.  This is very pretty.
Hambleden Weir with the old mill behind
We had lunch below Hurley Lock in a wide stretch of river with thousands of tiny fish in the shallows as this picture of Helen's foot shows:
We did some shopping in Marlow and then passed under the lovely suspension bridge which is identical to one over the Danube in Budapest.
Marlow Church and Bridge
Friday night we spent just below Marlow in a gap in the trees which proved to be exactly the same length as Leo.  On Saturday we carried on down to Runnymede with a long gap in the middle of the day when it was very hot spent lazing and visiting Boveney Church:

At the boatyard at Bray we passed the royal barge which took part in last year's Jubilee Pageant.

 Boveney Church is tiny and dates back to the twelfth century.  It was used by boatmen frequenting the wharf nearby.  The key was held by the lock keeper at nearby Boveney Lock.  The main benefit of visiting the church on a day when the temperature was well above 30 degrees was the cool interior. 

The only way to cool off on Saturday was to go in the river and here is Helen enjoying a swim off the boat. Yes, Ian did go in too.

When the temperature finally started to fall, we carried on through Windsor, dodging the little yellow motor boats.  We carried on quite late to find a mooring at Runnymede which looked nice but proved to be quite noisy with car and plane traffic.

Sunday, like Saturday, was very busy on the river:
Packing in the boats at Penton Hook Lock, below Staines
Rather than shoot past the end of the River Wey and miss seeing quite a few friends living round Woking, we decided to buy a 3 day licence for the Wey Navigation which, being owned by the National Trust, is not covered by our Gold Licence.
The Wey Navigation is one of the oldest canals in the country dating from 1653.  When it was built the Thames had no locks and was about 2 feet higher at Shepperton where the Wey joins it.  When the locks were built on the Thames it was necessary to put in a lower pound to the first lock on the Wey to lift boats sufficiently to pass over the cill on the first Wey lock - called Thames Lock.  Here is the lower pound with its huge gate.

This photo is looking from the lower pound towards the main lock under the footbridge.  Fortunately this confusing lock is made much easier by the presence of a lock keeper.

On Sunday night we moored just above Thames Lock and enjoyed the company of Norman, Barbara and George who cycled to us.  On Monday we carried on to Pyrford to meet Rosemary (who, like Helen, was a school admin officer) and her husband Roger for lunch at the Anchor.

Here is the bridge over the Wey at, where else but Weybridge.  The navigation does not go under the bridge but turns sharp right into the lock.

The navigation goes past these posts and turns under the much lower bridge into Town Lock.

 Coxes Lock is to the left of this photo and part of the magnificent mill (now turned into flats) is to the right.  You can just see the stream that comes out of the mill pond in the middle which makes steering into the lock quite a challenge!

You can tell its hot when the ducklings are hiding in the shade, though mum does not appear to mind the sun.

After an enjoyable lunch, joined by cycling friend, Chris, we carried on a few miles upstream and found a shady spot under trees above Walsham Gates.  In the morning on Tuesday we set off to a further lunch appointment at the New Inn at Send with Joan (who Helen used to work with) and her friend Brian.  After lunch we managed a cruise up to just below Bowers Lock and back to the New Inn.
Joan and Brian at the helm together
In the evening we met yet more friends at the New Inn - Graham (who Ian used to work with) and Carole, Annette and Sandra from the Woking Cyclists.  After all this socialising we came back down the Wey today and back onto the Thames:

Idyllic scenery at Papercourt Lock

This boat called  MSC Frodsham is a replica of one which was used to carry coal out of the mines on the Bridgewater Canal near Wigan.  We're not sure how it came to be on the Wey Navigation.

Approaching Weybridge Town Lock with the Church in the background.

And finally here we are emerging onto the Thames at Shepperton.

We've really enjoyed our few days on the River Wey, not only for the pleasure of the company of so many friends but also it is a lovely scenic river and well worth the effort of including in a water journey.  The wildlife was also interesting, particularly the grass snake and the toad we saw swimming in the river and the tern, red kite, and bronze dragonflies flying over us.

Tonight we are moored on the old course of the Thames to the North of Desborough Island close to Shepperton.  Fortunately there were trees for shade and we had another swim in the river this afternoon to cool off.  Tomorrow we aim to reach Kingston and on Friday we'll have a short section on the tidal Thames from Teddington to Brentford to take us onto the Grand Union Canal.  And so into London.

1 comment:

  1. It seems Gloriana has moved further along the Thames it was at Kingston the other week after having its accident with a bridge on the Thames. Enjoy London its a great place to visit by boat!


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