Swimming Visitors Only. 1st June

Medmenham Meadows to Tilly’s Island, Cliveden

Brrrrr! Extra coats and a wind cheater required today, grey clouds over head, Brrrr!

Either Oleanna had been pushed in towards the bank a bit or the level had dropped a bit overnight as we were listing a touch this morning, nothing to fret about, it just required a bit more of a push off. What a shame it hadn’t been warmer yesterday afternoon to be able to sit out on the mown grass by our mooring. With the bow pushed out, Oleanna with help from the flow and wind winded to head downstream.

Hello Sue!

Many of the boats along the meadows live here, reserved signs sat in gaps, we’d been lucky to find a space that wasn’t someone’s permanent mooring. Along the last length there was a familiar boat. We waved frantically calling out ‘Hello Sue!’ We’d not got round to sending Sue on WB No Problem XL an email saying we’d be passing and I suspect if the weather had been better yesterday we’d have had a walk to say hello. A jolly wave came back from inside.

Rowing up stream

The locks today would be manned again, the first lock being Hurley and there was the Lockie we’d seen yesterday at Hambledon Lock. He’s a seasonal Lock Keeper and chatted with Mick. The full time staff are down by two from last year as sadly two of the Lock Keepers passed away. The lock cottages are given a spruce up before new people move in, certainly this was happening at Whitchurch Lock as we passed, new double glazing.

Enjoying the water despite the chill

All the beautiful launches and boats were under wraps at Peter Freebody and Co. Only one boat wasn’t wrapped up, the exception to prove the rule, one solitary plastic cruiser in amongst all that varnished wood.

All the curtains closed, nobody home

Down Temple Lock and onto the reach to Marlow. In amongst the seriously big houses and gardens there was an open sided marquee and lots of festoon lights. This was the secret (?) location you would be brought by boat from Marlow if you paid £95 for a five course meal. Today would be the last day in this location, glad we hadn’t paid to sit in our coats and be chilly even if the food was nice, only one welcome drink included in the price Feast Over Flame.

The landing

A space was just being made in the moorings at Marlow, a narrowboat pulled out and winded heading for the lock. We’d considered pulling in to buy a newspaper, but that would have delayed our arrival where we wanted to moor today, which might mean we’d miss out. The crew from the narrowboat came to help us pull onto the lock layby, the pull from the weir making this a little bit tricksy. The lock was made ready by a Keeper, then we were pulling in side by side. They have a mooring at Medmenham and were heading off for a weekends cruise.


Now for the long sweep of the river round to Bourne End. Along this stretch is always busy, a widebeam had just pulled out and was wanting to wind as two rowing boats were heading at speed towards them a shout from the support boat had them cut their speed to avoid a collision. We tried to check our speed as we passed a set of markers, we knew we weren’t going extreamly slowly due to the flow so when my stop watch reached 2 minutes we decided we’d actually missed the first markers to time ourselves.

A surprising price for what looks like a small house. Click photo

Round into the lock cut for Cookham Lock. Weekend traffic obvious to us now, three cruisers coming towards us and a narrowboat at the water point. The lock was manned again and here we said our hopeful goodbye to our locking partner as we hoped to find a mooring along the next reach.

Left for the lock cut

Small day boats cruised up and down, the queue for the cafe van and chilled medication was a few deep. Had we have arrived in time to get a good mooring? We passed the first island a boat already moored up, most probably just for the afternoon. Then the next island, one space free, the longer space we were after also free. Quick before anyone else pulled in! We headed past the island to wind and then made our way back up, pulling in easily to the mooring we’d managed to get two years ago on Tilly’s birthday. Tilly’s Island, a Pawfect outside, cat paradise, just so long as no-one else pulled up on the other available moorings.

FIVE and a HALF!!!

Five and a half hours Tilly! Five FIVE FIVE!!!!! YES!!!!! She didn’t manage to use them all before having to retire for a cat nap in her escape pod.

A quick run up a tree, the mooring posts were quickly claimed. She hesitated to venture too far. An extra rule was given, ‘If you do fall in make sure you swim back to THIS island’. The mooring was ideal apart from one thing, no land access, well that’s actually what made it ideal for Tilly, just not for any human visitors. I sent a message to Sam, who’d been hoping to be able to visit us today. Unless she had a canoe or was willing to swim across to the island we wouldn’t be seeing her today. A reply came back that she wasn’t too keen on swimming in the Thames so maybe we’ll be able to see her elsewhere in a week or so time.

Our island, could someone turn the thermostat up please

The afternoon was chilly to say the least, not one to sit out on the bank enjoying our surroundings! I watched Mr Holmes (2015) about a retired Sherlock Homes, dealing with dementia and trying his best to remember his last case which starred Sir Ian McKellen. A very English film, perfect to sit and knit in front of.

One boat had joined us for a while on Tilly’s Island, but they moved off long before dark leaving us alone with nature and the stove lit.

Here’s where we travelled in May

4 locks, 9.8 miles, 2 winds, 2 locks shared, 1 island, £10, 1 very happy cat, 0 visitors, 1 pooped cat, 1 gold embossed Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.


Leave a reply and don't forget to tell us who you are