A good run down through Oxford, Iffley and Sandford. Radley was soon astern and on reaching Abingdon it seemed prudent to fuel-up before embarking on this long excursion.
Aviva negotiated the sailing dinghies downstream of the fuel stop and we were soon entering the narrow Culham Reach before the lock.
Getting to Dorchester early did mean that I found one of the cosiest moorings anywhere! between the trees - tucked in and the bank without too many nettles!
Locked up and went for a walk over the fields to Dorchester for a look at the beautiful Abbey.
Tuesday morning, off through Days lock and a visit to the sanitary station. A bit grey and overcast, but no rain, so covers down.
Passed Shillingford Bridge Hotel and noticed that the boats coming upstream are getting bigger and smarter. Benson lock and downstream to Wallingford. Looked out for the Oxford Brookes Boat club and wondered (as an employee) if I could tie up there. The ‘No Mooring’ signs seemed very uninviting, so I passed by with a good 4 knots, leaving my wake to bounce their pontoons a bit.
Sheridan Marine stores came up on the west bank so pulled in to grab a full gas bottle. Bought myself a little clock for the cockpit so I know when it’s lunch time!
Soon after Cleeve lock comes the next one - Goring. Apparently this is the shortest distance between 2 locks. I found the last remaining mooring in Goring and had a nice walk around, bought a sandwich and observed some of the big boats tied up nearby.
After a good break, off again through Lower Basildon. I was soon avoiding rowers on this stretch near to the Child Beale Wildlife park, and noted some nice moorings for my return journey. Whitchurch lock came soon enough, and - being early - managed to get a mooring for the night on Pangbourne meadow. Took a walk up into Pangbourne for a view of the many pubs and restaurants. Decided to shop in the coop and eat on board. Pangbourne meadow is a charming place and it wasn’t long before other boats were looking for somewhere for the night along this stretch.
Wednesday morning I was away after a fine breakfast with strawberries. After Mapledurham lock, Tilehurst was soon on the starboard. The trains to Paddington pass by the river very close here, and when they do, they make a good racket!
There are some very fine waterside houses along the Caversham reach. Reading was soon all around us. The wind had got up and I needed a sweater. I had no plans to stop, so I glanced at the junction with the River Kennet and moved on down to Sonning and Shiplake. I was beginning to think about turning back, but I was determined to reach Henley. Pushed the throttle forward and went over 4.1 knots. Marsh lock was soon negotiated and hte beautiful Henley was in site. Moorings here are hard to get, so I simply checked this one off and turned around at the bridge and I was then against the current.
My return journey was very pleasant with a mooring at the Beale wildlife park (where I was hearing owls and other exotics in the night).
I stopped at Wallingford for lunch on Thursday and had a pleasant browse around the shops. A sharp contrast observed between the second-hand bookshop and the very grand Waitrose! In fact I had noticed grafittee on Winterbrook bridge that said ‘Waitrose on Thames’... ho ho!
Another mooring at Dorchester was available in plenty of time, and so, I had a terrific walk up to the top of Wittenham Clumps, looking back to Days lock and Dorchester beyond.
Friday I was soon away and through Abingdon (filled up with water) and home in Oxford by 3pm.