Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Big Push (Part One) From Guildford to Goring.

Saturday 30th September to Tuesday 3rd October 2017, from Guildford to Goring.
Our autumn cruising schedule has been determined by a number of factors: the building work at home, mooring fees, the weather forecast and the winter closures programme. All these factors have changed over the past few weeks and so, having started with "Plan A", we are now on at least "Plan G", which is to get MM back up to Aston Marina as quickly as possible. To fit everything in, we need to be at the marina within 15 days - and Canalplan says that is 228 miles and 106 locks away!
So, on a misty Saturday morning, we said farewell to Guildford Town Bridge, with all its happy memories.
Pyrford Marina, which has hitherto had the monopoly on moorings in Surrey, had better watch out - a rival is under construction just a couple of miles further up the River Wey! When we arrived four weeks ago, it was an empty hole, now already it has been filled with water.
M, while sitting daydreaming on the lock beam of Town Lock waiting for the lock to fill, looked down and to her astonishment saw a snake sunning itself two feet below her. It was a beautiful grass snake, about 3ft long, basking in the sun on a floating carpet of leaves in the lock, with its little black forked tongue flicking in and out. By the time that M got her camera out, it was just diving under the water, so she only managed to photograph the body.
The lock keeper at Thames Lock said that they are a regular sight along this stretch of water and "island hop" using the canal.
At Thames Lock, the chestnuts were ready for gathering! The lock keeper helped M to gather a bowlful - and they were delicious.
Grey skies as we started up the Thames on Sunday and passed Runnymede.
Windsor Castle and Home Park always make a splendid sight from the river.
Lovely reflections in the water early on Monday gave way to brighter skies later in the morning.
Perfect weather for drying washing as we walked back from Bourne End with a "few bits".
... And a pretty sunset to follow....
The same view on Tuesday morning at sunrise....

Reading has a large Tesco store right by the river with its own moorings - but there were so many boats already moored there (they all looked as if they were there for the duration) that we couldn't get close to the bank, had to moor up to two horse chestnut trees and then use the gangplank to get ashore.
Passing under Caversham Bridge in Reading.
We have noticed this before, a post box half way up the wall on the river below Tilehurst! It would be difficult to access even from a boat as it is haf way up the wall and there is no path beneath it. We wondered how the "postie" collects from it? Hoverboots?
A very friendly chap in the little lockside café obligingly provided M with a large bag of piping hot chips as the lock was filling. Delicious!
Back at Goring once more and moored up below the lock for the night. We popped into Capture but Abbie was out. We also went into Caroline and Stuart's brilliant delicatessen, but it was late in the day and all their fresh pastries were gone. Bother!
Four Days: 67 miles, 33 locks and 29.3 hours.
Trip: 420 miles, 357 locks and 267.1 hours.

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