How bloody exciting!!!!
We were both really looking forward to cutting the umbilical cord which was the familiarity of the K&A and venturing forth into the mighty Thames River. Sounds a bit dramatic but we didn’t dream this big and come this far to feel stuck in one canal on this massive system, knowing it was all out there for us to experience but being held back by forces of nature!!!!
The day dawned with beautiful sunshine blessing our journey. Slipped through Blake’s Lock with no dramas – this one has wheels that open the paddles rather than using the trusty windlass – and then had the Thames River flowing before us. It wasn’t long before we understood just how diverse the traffic can be on this stretch – far more boat types than just narrowboats, widebeams, kayacks and canoes!!!!!
And the river is wide – not unlike stretches of the Murray River that we are so familiar with in Australia, but far more lush green banks!!!
Another novelty for Bron was not having to operate the locks – most of the Thames locks have lock-keepers especially during normal operating hours although they can be done by boaters as well. Just standing on the bow holding a rope is a far more leisurely activity that pushing lock gates and struggling to open the paddles!!!!
A quick refuel and gas changeover above the lock and then gentle cruising through Mapledurham lock to a lovely mooring at Pangbourne Meadow just before the Whitchurch Lock. The only space left had us tying up to trees overnight – a novel experience. And this time Bob was kept awake by ducks and or geese that decided to rest on our roof and the early light at about 4.00am that had him up taking photos while Bron happily slept. Check out the dawn photos in the gallery.
We eventually arose and cooked a sumptuous Sunday morning brunch to be eaten on the bank using our table and chairs (purchased in Bath) and umbrella (from Newbury) for the first time!! And what a gorgeous day with the sun shining, lots of birds, people walking their dogs or riding along the towpath and loads of vessels going up and down the river!!!!
We had a long chat again with lovely neighbours getting all the good oil on places to get water, empty out, moor etc for the remainder of the journey up the Thames to its source.
And then a few jobs in the engine bay (somehow we seem to be having trouble with reverse and Bob needs to fit a regulator to the batteries) and a catch up on these blogs and photos. We will sit down tonight for a sumptuous dinner of fish and realise again just how blessed our life is – even though we are so far away from our families and friends!!!!