Royal Jodhpurs. 3rd June

Dorney Lake Bend to Shepperton Village Visitor Moorings

A much quieter day on the river, we’d made a wise decision to stop early yesterday, but today we’d need to make up for it. As we pushed off the lady from the hire boat in front popped her head out to thank us for helping yesterday, they’ve boated before but not for five years, they’ll soon get to grips with things again.

An empty river

We winded and headed for Boveney Lock, a Lock Keeper on duty penning us down, we paused at the bins below the lock before carrying on. Yesterday I’d have been able to take sunny photos of the castle, but today was just grey, the Castle a shadow of itself. Plenty of space to moor on the Brocas with only a couple of cruisers tied up, the bank seemed to be straighter than I remembered. This is where I used to come with my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Peter to feed the swans when I was little. Then as I got older we’d stand on Windsor Bridge to watch Concord fly over, my cousins joked about hearing the sonic boom ( they were both pilots by then).

Windsor

Two boats were coming up in Romney Lock when we arrived, a day boat operating the sluices, a volunteer chatting away to the cruiser at the back of the lock. The chaps pushing the buttons couldn’t believe how long it was taking to fill the lock, but it is nearly 260ft long, you could easily fit 12 Oleannas and have space for a few cruisers in there. The volunteer volunteered to push buttons so I could hold the bow rope and down we went.

Royal bottoms

Between Victoria and Albert Bridges, around Home Park there has been a hedge planted, currently only a couple of feet high, but will it in time block out the view of the castle from the river here? Four ladies two on horse back the other two on a carriage appeared from nowhere. Were they royal family members, half term activates? Beige jodphurs. We kept up with them for a while but then they disappeared. Two people rode towards us out for a yack, black jodphurs this time. Might there be a royal hierarchy of jodphur colours, more senior royals in darker colours? They gave a wave to us, not quite a standard royal wave, so maybe they were just patrolling the perimeter.

Holders of a Thames Key Power

Old Windsor Lock was just being opened by one of the trip boats. The two crew, as you’d expect, had their ropes in handy locations resting on a canopy and hooked up on the cabin sides. They tied the boat off and one chap headed up to the Lock Keepers hut a special Key of Power in his hand, he turned it in a box enabling the extra buttons on the control panel, this meant they could lift the sluices quicker, their boat almost being as wide as the lock hardly moved about as it rose.

Under the M25

The panels are older than those further upstream, so you have to push and hold the buttons for the sluices for ten seconds, then wait for two minutes before you do it again. It took us a lot longer than the trip boat, but by the time the lock was nearly empty boats were approaching from below so I could leave their crew to open the gates for us.

Quite a tree for a cormorants drying perch

Runnymede is still on the ‘next time’ list. We’ve not had time to touch the list on this trip, other than a wander around Wallingford, maybe we’ll have to come back and spend a lot longer on the river ‘next time’. We pulled in for a lunch break at Staines upon Thames, Tilly was kept occupied looking out of the window hunting for trees above the high concrete edge. Hopefully we’d get a mooring today where she’d be able to go out.

Within the M25

At Penton Hook Lock we descended with the assistance of a Lock Keeper. As the sluices rose I saw a spurt of something angled upwards to the walk way. Was this a hydraulic leak? I was going to mention it but got distracted as we pulled out of the lock, a Le Boat rounding the bend from the marina and a house for sale. Reports later on Facebook were that the lock had a hydraulic problem with a sluice and was awaiting engineers, I think we may have been the last boat through!

Details for the house on the left. Details for the house on the right.

The hire boat was making VERY slow progress downstream, they let us overtake but joined us in Chertsey Lock. The Lock Keeper quickly sussed it was their first lock and gave them directions as to how to hold ropes on bollards.

To the left details. To the right, they have a big structure going up next door and an interesting wallpaper in the hallway!

There were so many houses for sale today, I think I took at least 14 photos. Many were small old one story houses in need of renovation. A few more modern properties, one household were obviously moving as their next door neighbour was being up sized to twice what had most probably been there before.

Then the end of Pharoah’s Island is for sale, the opposite end to where a posh house sits, plenty of land and planning permission for a three bed modern house with 130m of waterfront! Yours at a snip for £999,950.

Last lock of the day

Shepperton Lock our last for today, then the hunt for a mooring started. Opposite at the end of the Desborough Channel there wasn’t enough room for us. Time to look around the back of Desborough Island, we went left down stream, the flow quite surprising. The first mooring was taken, but it wouldn’t have been very good for Tilly anyway. Then the Shepperton Village visitor Moorings. Three boats were already moored up, but space for at least two more, one being us! We winded and pulled in to moor. The flow necessitating a bow spike as soon as possible.

WHAT!!!!

The doors were opened and Tilly went out onto the grass. WHAT! Where is my island outside and friendly cover? This isn’t good, it must be troublesome needing so many boats to tie it up! And look there are people! It’s rubbish, I’m going back to bed! Oh well you can’t please everyone all the time!

Pushing against the flow

7 locks, 6 manned, 16.5 miles, 3 winds, 1 tree, 1 lunch pause, 6 royal trousers, 1 prince or princess wave? 1 key of power, 1 disappointed cat.

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