Friday, 27 June 2014

To The End and Back

We have travelled the Thames on three different boats, covering the estuary, Tidal Thames and, on the non tidal bit, getting as far as Wallingford, but we have never made it to the end of the Thames navigation. Until now.

Leaving Oxford behind we set off in open countryside to rejoin Martin & Karen on Aria, who had travelled up the Grand Union and down the Oxford back to the Thames, and met up with them just above Pinkhill Lock.

BBQ with Martin & Karen from nb. Aria

The Thames at this point becomes much narrower and meanders through mostly dense foliage, with no sign of habitation but for the odd caravan park and the Lock-keepers cottages. It was very tranquil and quite pretty especially some of the bridges.

Kelmscott Bridge

Radcott Bridge

and my favourite, Newbridge

On the way we had a lovely meal at The Plough, Kelmscott in their very pretty restaurant.

Some parts of the river were very reminiscent of geography lessons at school where we learned about oxbows. At one point we could see Aria travelling in the opposite direction to us as they rounded the bends in front of us.

We arrived in Letchlade in brilliant sunshine on Tuesday 17th June and moored up at the bottom of the New Inn's garden,

just before Halpenny Bridge, so called because of the halfpenny toll which used to be charged for crossing the bridge.

The Toll Hose still stands, but the toll doesn't.

Letchlade is a quaint little Cotswold town with several eating venues, a few shops, including an all year round Christmas shop and a couple of antique centres.

So now we can boast having travelled the Thames from it's estuary in the Channel to the end of navigation at Letchlade, quite an achievement & one to tick off the list.

We returned the way we came, travelling much quicker, sometimes 5mph instead of the 3 we did against the flow on the way up. We found a good mooring next to The Ferry Man pub & had a BBQ in the warm, still evening.

Next morning was just a short trip before we turned off to Dukes Cut which was to take us to the Oxford Canal. We waved goodbye, yet again, to Martin & Karen on Aria as they were returning home via the Thames.

Thanks for your company guys & we look forward to seeing you back in Hallingbury sometime in September.

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