Pleasing The Keepers. 2nd June

Tilly’s Island to Dorney Lake Bend

What a gorgeous day

What a gorgeous morning, well until the loud hailers from the rowing support boats started at 7:30! Soon followed by swimmers, they were all taking advantage of a quieter river in wonderful sunshine. It wouldn’t stay that quiet for long!


Much to Tilly’s disgust we hadn’t booked for another three nights on her island, so she grumped and went back to bed whilst we enjoyed a cooked breakfast and the Geraghty Sunday morning zoom. Subjects included, going underground, star of the week and Lego cars, plus vague arrangements were made to meet up with a sibling or two in a few days. However later in the day Mick realised we’d got all our days in a muddle and we won’t be quite where we said we’d be!

You are a big fat MEANIE you are!

By 11am we were ready to push off, stern line untied first then the bow, a push out and we were on our way heading upstream. Not for long though, once past the islands we winded, a cruiser behind us having to slow it’s pace and as we turned we fell in line with another heading downstream. By the time we got to glance over our shoulders Tilly’s Island was already being invaded by paddle boarders.

Not far on the river banks get busier again, moored boats and a lot of moving ones. We headed towards Boulter’s Lock, boats coming towards us and quite a few in front of us too. Three cruisers on one side of the lock, three seacadet rowing boats on the other. The Lock Keeper waved us in and asked the rowing boats to nudge up. Seven boats in the lock, the Lockies mathematics having to work. You could see the glee on his face, almost a full lock, he would have been able to fit another narrowboat in, but none showed to his disappointment. The sunshine had certainly woken up the boaters.

An almost full lock

A crowd of gongoozlers watched on from the bridge above as the lock lowered the boats, then in an orderly fashion a rowing boat headed out followed by a cruiser, another rowing boat, cruiser, so on until we brought up the rear.

£5,350,000 It’s had a modern make over

Maidenhead houses sprawled out on the banks, three for sale I only got two photos, the third one is worth a look for it’s period details, that fireplace!

£4,000,000 with original features, but if you had a touch more cash look at next door!

The river was now that bit busier still, or so it seemed. A row of boats headed on downstream towards Bray Lock. A cruiser passed us just in time before the layby, the layby soon filled up. As boats came up out of the lock the queue headed in boat by boat. The Lock Keeper came along asked our length, mathematics again. Bray Lock is 65ft shorter and just over 3ft narrower than Boulters Lock. We wouldn’t fit, ‘Sorry you’ll be in the next penning’, he waved a cruiser on from behind us, the queue now down to two boats.

Oleanna was too long, we’d have to wait

Some shade was sought, Mummy duck kept her four ducklings close and the boat behind us chatted away with beers and music. Our island idyll from last night now far gone.

Keeping away from the woofers

It was now our turn, the Lock Keeper insisted on taking the bow rope from me, so I didn’t have to step off, he’d already had a body in the lock today, an alive one he quickly added. One of the chaps from the boat accompanying us had fallen in earlier this morning. This did not surprise me! Every one stayed dry as we were lowered to the level of the next reach.

A nice place to sit and watch the river flow by

Under the M4, past Monkey Island, Bray Film Studios, Oakley Court with it’s numerous places to sit out and watch the boats go by. At last the weather gods had turned the thermostat up, everyone was really enjoying the sunshine. You can’t help but notice the price of fuel on the Thames. Bray Marina £1.57 for diesel and £1.91petrol. A short distance away the diesel was 3p cheaper!

We should have been carrying on to Windsor or Runnymead today, but with the water being SO busy we decided that as soon as we saw a suitable mooring we should stop. The sharp bend at the end of Dorney Rowing Lake had a cruiser on it, plenty of room for us too, we just needed to wind and pull in whilst there was a gap in boats. As we pulled past the cruiser we both said a jolly hello, not even a look up from their papers, no acknowledgment what so ever, we’d not be making new friends today!


The river was busy this afternoon, it was obvious when ever Boveney Lock a little bit down stream had penned boats up and a while later a cluster of boats would arrive from Bray Lock. Add to this planes flying in and out of Heathrow it made for quite a noisy afternoon. Plus when someone decided they should crank up their engine and hightail it off into the distance we were buffeted about somewhat.

Tilly busied herself outside, well someone had to tidy up the outside! whilst we sat indoors, nowhere to sit in the shade by our mooring which was covered in nettles. We willed the speechless cruiser to move on, chances were it would and return to their mooring, but only when they’d finished reading their Sunday newspaper.

At around 6pm Mick was just saying what a shame as if we had more room he could have lit the barbeque a couple of hours ago and it would just about be ready to cook on. The back door was opened for Tilly, the speechless cruiser had also been silent when it had departed. We could now pull back and take advantage of more bank to sit out on. Just as we were finishing adjusting our spikes a hire boat arrived, crew having just picked their cruiser up this afternoon. Could they moor here? We lent them a hand whilst spikes were knocked in, ropes were held for them, they were very grateful.

Plenty of space to sit and wait

The barbeque was set up, more briquettes used this time and some extra kindling to assist in the lighting. Compared to last time it was now too hot to cook on, a third too many coals, we had to wait for it to cool down. Back in Oxford I’d bought us a couple of Bream for the barbeque, but this morning we’d not thought about being able to sit out, so had defrosted some sausages instead of the fish! Oh well we’ll find somewhere to eat them soon, I hope.

The kebab rest good, except the cheese melts so doesn’t turn with the skewer

A very pleasant evening sat by the river, the planes changed direction, taking off now and the majority of boats had returned to their moorings.

2 locks, 6.2 miles, 1.5 hrs short of where we should be, 7 in a lock, 2 happy Lockies, 4 hours shore leave, 1 silent boat, 60ft nudged back, 1 bbq, 4 kebabs, 6 sausages, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

5 thoughts on “Pleasing The Keepers. 2nd June

    1. Pip Post author

      Thank you Caroline. It was fighting the current so was a bit of a sitting duck!

  1. Ade

    Nearly missed it! Suddenly realised there was a cooked breakfast post I didn’t comment on! Looks amazing and Barbecue non to bad either!
    Very nice.


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