We left our overnight mooring in lovely sunshine with a gentle breeze and motored up river past some very nice properties mostly hidden from view and the risk of flooding from the river.
Even the lock cuts are hidden from view until the last minute, a good job they are well marked otherwise you could end up at the bottom of the weir which can just be seen in the distance through the foot bridge.
We met some interesting boats on the river, like this wide beam Dutch barge which I would think does not move too far these days and four canoes of men on their way to Marlow in aid of the McMillan Nurses. I gather the pub at Ha’penny Bridge had given them breakfast to help them on their way.
At St John’s Lock is this famous statue of Father Thames which was shown at the Great Exhibition of 1854 and then placed at the source of the river. However, vandals forced it to be moved to the lock for safety in 1973.
We had hope to fill up with water at St John’s lock as it is shown in the Nicholson guide but it is only available for containers. So we will have to fill up elsewhere on the way back.
We soon reached Lechlade with it dominating Church spire and lovely chiming clock. We moored within sight and earshot and a stones throw from the Ha’penny bridge (so named because of the toll which used to be charged for crossing it). A couple of cruisers and one narrowboat were all that were moored here so we had a choice of mooring. Much quieter than we had expected.
Whilst having lunch we heard a dog barking and looked out of the window to see two girls in wetsuits swimming down the river followed by their dog. Later they swam back and got out at the bridge. They said the water was lovely and clean.
In the afternoon Graham and I walked up to the head of navigation, the Round House, at the junction of the Thames and Severn Canal.This was where the tolls were collected for travelling on the canal. The river Coln also enters the Thames here and it is supposed to be the point at which a full size narrowboat can wind. However, heavy silting of the river following the floods of this year would make it very difficult, although Nb. Indulgence (60ft) did manage to turn yesterday but they said that it was a very tight thing and they went aground on a bend returning downstream.
Below are a couple of snippets from the information boards near the Round House which tell of the history of the Thames and Severn Canal and the North Wilts which all joined nearby. The picture on the left shows the Round House as it was in 1793.