Saturday, 16 April 2011

Destination Lechlade - Head of the navigable Thames

(posted by Cath)

It was a wonderful, sunny day, although steering the boat past some of the shady plantations of trees can be a bit chilly still at this time of year.

Over-enthusiastic control of moorings ?
Heading west towards Lechlade, the Thames becomes increasingly winding, you need your wits about you to avoid ending up in the shallows on the inside of a bend - it is very physical work to keep the tiller over to get around some of the bends.  I decided to walk Charlie between two locks, through the meadows, which he thought was wonderful - although he kept trying to drink the Thames.

Most bridges are attractive, but all are different
The Thames Path route is much more direct than the Thames, cutting off all of the bends, so I could just about keep ahead of the boat.

Chalice shares lock with typical large GRP cruiser.
As we closed in on Lechlade there was actually one short section with two hair-pin bends - we were being closely followed by another boat which was travelling in completely the other direction to us for a little while.

The Round House at official head of navigation of the Thames.
We carried on past Lechlade itself to the end of the navigable river, at the Round House, Inglesham, where we winded, and headed back to the moorings opposite the church.

Derelict lock at start of abandoned Thames and Severn Canal

After mooring, Alan and I went to the town, which was character -ised by antiques shops, which were far more interesting than any in our home town, although we just browsed, and didn't buy anything in them.  The rest of the town was very quiet, even the pharmacy was shut for Saturday afternoon.

David and Charlie watch as Chalice is turned.
Back at the mooring we dug out the chairs and picnic table, and had our lasagne on the bankside.  At the next boat there was a group of people with a barbecue.

Atmospheric evening at Lechlade
As the evening drew on, the smoke from the barbecue began to settle above the water meadow, so that when David and I went for a walk at dusk we were able to duck down under the misty smoke and look up at it drifting slowly in fronds.  Even on the other side of the field you could smell that the smoke was from the barbecue.

Meal ended and near full moon.
It was almost full moon, which gave a particularly wonderful look to the fields after dark.

Because we don't get a lot of time to go boating, and because it takes us a long time to get to 'new' bits of canals and rivers that we haven't been to before, we tend not to hang about, however, spending a relaxed evening by the Thames was one of my highlights this year.

Newbridge to head of navigation at Inglesham, and back to Lechlade
Miles: 17.8, Locks:6

Total Miles: 134.7, Total Locks: 82

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