From Windsor to Wey via America

We spent our final night in Windsor on the Baths Island electric charging point, which is exceptionally good value, £10 to moor plus £5 for the electric.

Baths Island, Windsor Mooring

And I make no apology for sharing more photos of the amazing views of Windsor castle when we set off. After Romney Lock the river skirts the royal estate with strict warnings not to even think about stepping foot on the hallowed turf

One of the smaller castle cottages, keeping watch to make sure we dont set foot on Home Park

But it didn’t stop us getting out our long lens’ to enjoy another side of her Majesty’s home

Windsor castle from the river near Datchet

The river seems to have changed again, its wider, the cruisers are huge, and we are seeing more and more residential moorings, many that appear to be in fabulous old river barges.

We couldnt find out any details but this is possibly a dutch sailing barge, over 100 years old

We moored up for the night at Runnymede.

National trust moorings at Runnymede

It had been such a hot day we didnt go exploring until the early evening which meant we missed the visitor centre, (and icecream seller)

The Magna Carta, the document that still enshrines Justice into, not only our own legal system but many countries around the world have followed our example.


but we got to wander around some of the monuments and installations

“The Jurors”

I particularly liked “the Jurors” a series of decorated chairs representing the concepts of law and the struggles to gain freedoms and equalities. I like accessible art that is free to be enjoyed by all and thought provoking to those who want to look more deeply.

A place to play not just ponder

Having pondered the impact of the Magna Carta and its worldwide impact, we then found ourselves ascending a path known as the Steps of Individuality, only to realise we had also stepped over onto American Soil, as this “English Acre” was given to to America for the UK Kennedy memorial. (Thats one for the pub quiz)

The steps of individuality leading tothe Kennedy memorial

The memorial is entered from the flat, but often wet, meads of Runnymede through a gate. Once a visitor, who is assumed to be a ‘pilgrim,’ passes through this gate he or she steps onto American soil and into the allegory of life, death and spirit.
The gate gives access to a pathway of 60,000 individual axe-hewn Portuguese granite setts, which rise steeply through the surrounding woodland. There are 50 steps in all, each representing an individual state in the USA. The setts can also be seen to represent a multitude of pilgrims on their progress through life to enlightenment. Each step is unique and each sett has been laid at random. The craftsmen were unable to comprehend the need for individuality, and could only complete their task when the steps were likened to the uneven appearance of a crowd at a football match.
” Copied from the info board

We continued our journey back on English water, looking out for one of the very few statues of our Queen Elizabeth, but whilst she and her loyal subject might have had a good view of us cruising past, with the sun directly behind her we couldn’t see much

She’s standing in front of the tree

We had a few move overnight stops on the Thames before we reached another significant point in our journey, the confluence of the River Wey joining the River Thames.

Thats the River Wey ahead

And through Thames lock(which is on the Wey) to pay our fee to the National trust allowing us 3 weeks cruising on the Wey

Thames Lock at Weybridge
We came back to see the Queen’s statue

Windsor part 3, Visiting the Castle

Where do I start? The castle was a real treat. We aren’t particularly interested in ticking off tourist attractions on our travels but some things can not be missed. And looking at the crowds it felt like the whole world had the same idea.

Glad we came by boat,


We bought our tickets online, (more about that later) to help beat the queue

Welcomed by Queen Victoria


and also so that we could watch the changing of the guards inside.

The new guards arrive to cover the next 24 hours

As luck would have it, we chose to go on the day it rained so there was no band accompanying them And only the well protected stuck it out.

I knew it was worth keeping my wimbledon poncho

But although it didn’t last long it meant the day was cool, and it didn’t stop me posing for the iconic photo op

It just had to be done


We did ask the guard if it was ok and he smiled and said yes but that was about the limit of his conversation. Eric preferred to pose with a castle backdrop.

With the norman gate and state rooms behind

There was quite a wait to get into the state rooms and we weren’t allowed to take photos inside, but oh boy was it magnificent. It felt like a privilege to be able to wander, (or shuffle due to the number of visitors) around these rooms. I’ve never yearned to receive an official honour, but I do now just for an invite to the presentation.

Ths grand reception room (swiped from the RCT website)

Windsor castle was originally built in the 11th century, when William the Conqueror, paid us a visit. Back then it was mainly a defensive structure, but it has since become the favoured place called home to many of our monarchs. Its the longest occupied castle in Europe and is the largest castle in the world. Its undergone many makeovers during its time, most recently in 1992 when many of the state rooms were destroyed in a fire.

Even castles need a garden


When Queen Elizabeth II is at home the Royal Standard is flown from the round tower. But she’d gone to Scotland for the day when we visited.

Perhaps she was looking for some sunshine

When we arrived in Windsor we asked one of the assistants at the entrance, what the best way to see the changing of the guard was and the answer was to buy a ticket (online) to come into the castle and watch by the horseshoe cloister. Which we duly did. However I made the mistake of googling “watching changing of the guard”. Once we were inside the castle, we saw the notice offering to upgrade our tickets at NO Extra cost to an annual pass. Brilliant we thought, but oh no, it turns out I had bought our tickets through an agency not direct from the Royal Collection Trust site, (which is the charity organisation responsible for maintaining these treasures and opening the royal residences to the public.) At £26 each its not a cheap place to visit, so not somewhere we would pay to visit twice in quicksticks. But had we had annual passes, we would have been inside several times during our stay in Windsor. Don’t make the same mistake as us. It was worth the entrance fee, the staff were plentiful and helpful, and the audio tour was full of useful snippets of information, but it was a full on experience, and would have been even more enjoyable spread over two days.

Windsor Castle, seen from the north; (l to r) Upper Ward, Middle Ward, Round Tower, St George’s Chapel, Lower Ward and Curfew Tower
(Swiped from windsor castle wiki page )


But all was not lost. The changing of the guard ceremony takes place every day and during the summer months the guards are escorted to and from their barracks by a marching band. Several streets are closed for the half hour this takes, and it meant that for a few moments each day we could stand outside and watch

What an escort

The guards and bandsmen might be fully trained soldiers whose primary function is to protect our Queen, but there is also a very visible presence protecting them.

Dont worry boys I’ve got you covered

Whilst we were in Windsor I also took the opportunity to attend Choral evensong in St Georges Chapel. Well worth doing as the choristers and organ are magnificent and I got to walk inside the castle grounds after closing time.

What a place to reflect

Windsor part 2, wandering around Alexandra Gardens

Of course the main focus of Windsor has to be its royal heritage, especially as the castle can be seen from most of the town, (our header photo is taken from Baths island)

The castle from Windsor Central train station

The promenade along the Windsor side of the Thames is no different, the adjoining park is known as Alexandra Gardens, and honours King Edward VII’s wife queen Alexandra. At the end of the Queens Walk is the Jubilee fountain build to commemorate our Queens Diamond Jubilee,

The Jubilee Fountain

During the summer there’s usually music at the bandstand on a Sunday afternoon and we stumbled upon the rotary club summer fete. We won the “guess the weight of the cake” competition but sadly didn’t win the £400 prize duck race

Just be glad they dont have canada geese races

It seems that Windsor has a thing about Ducks as we also stumbled on this odd mode of transport

The Windsor Duck Bus

Or perhaps its not ducks but transport that floats their boat, as the elegant Windsor Royal (train) station has been transformed into a very upmarket shopping arcade, including a replica of Queen Victoria’s steam train that took her from London to Windsor.

The Queen

There is still a single track station in operation, which I took advantage of to make a flying trip back to Suffolk, whilst Eric was moored safely and you can see the castle from the train

The castle from the train

Windsor isn’t just about boats and trains. Windsor was home to Sir Sidney Camm who designed the Hawker Hurricane fighter plane in the 1930s. Its quite a shock to come round the corner and be confronted by a full scale hurricane in the park

The Hawker Hurricane

Camm’s love of planes and inspiration came when in 1911 Windsor received the first airmail post in the country


We found the aerial postbox in the Windsor museum but the other pillar boxes were around the streets of Windsor. Sadly I missed the blue box.

Just a few of Windsors post boxes


…but the river, mooring on the Eton side, is probably the best place to see the castle from elsewhere in the town. And there’s ample mooring on both the Windsor and Eton banks for just £10 for 24 hours, and on Baths island there’s even 4 electric charging points for an extra £5, which we made use of on our last night’s stay.

Moored at the electric charging point on Baths Island

Windsor is a fascinating place to visit as a boater, almost too overwhelming to do justice in a few day, and definitely too busy for our liking, though as visitors ourselves, we cant really complain. We were very lucky to have found our wild mooring so close to town, it was nice to retreat to tranquillity in the evenings

Tranquillity

And as a personal post script one of our friends who regularly reads our blog lost their beloved dog today, We hope doggy heaven is full of juicy bones and sniffy lamposts

In memory of Butch

Looks like Her Majesty’s at home, Windsor part 1, Eton

No wonder the tourists love visiting Windsor, everywhere you look there is history, pageantry and Britishness, which includes lots and lots of people and touts cashing in. But we were lucky enough to find a spot of unrestricted wild mooring, opposite the race course, just a 15 minute walk into town.

Wild mooring, opposite the Windsor racecourse.

At the weekends, Eton College opens it’s museums to the public, so as it was Sunday we walked up to the hallowed halls and enjoyed wondering what it would have been to have been educated in a place like this,

The back entrance


but as the Victorian Educator, William Johnson Cory who was an Eton Master expressed, its not so much about being educated, as being taught how to learn, and that was the vibe we picked up. It might seem like a privilege to be educated here, but oh boy we also got the impression that those boys work very very hard.

That’s a lot to live up to


Eton, itself is not just a school but an entire town. Eton being derived from the old English word, meaning “river town”, was a hamlet in 1066, built up by people maintaining the road and bridge from London to Windsor. It wasn’t until 1440 when Henry VI chose to build his new college here that the name Eton became synonymous with an elite education.

One of the main entrances


Nowadays most of the town’s businesses, are dedicated to supporting the schools infrastructure.

Tom Browns tailors

Eton was the first place in England to have a post office and this early Victorian post box shows why in the style of a doric column helps explain why they are called pillar boxes.

A proper pillar box, with a vertical letter slot


Whilst we were there, we saw the Queens Baton relay arrive, which has toured the commonwealth in anticipation of the commonwealth games being held in Birmingham later this summer.

Not quite as exciting as an olympic flame, but still a great honour and I’m sure Birmingham will do us proud

The baton was carried over the Windsor bridge which has been pedestrianised to link Windsor and Eton. We also crossed the river and continued to expore….

Windsor Bridge

Underneath the arches, moving onto Maidenhead

Maidenhead bridge

As with a lot of places on the Thames, settlements grew because of a river crossing, and Maidenhead is no different. There’s evidence that the Romans set up camp with a ferry, then the Anglo Saxon’s built a “new wharf” aka “the maiden hythe”, that then became a landing stage for the marauding Danes in 870. The Danes moored their longboats here to continue fighting overland towards Reading, (not sure why they didn’t just cruise a bit further, maybe there was a water shortage). But by 1280 a wooden bridge had been built which helped to establish Maidenhythe as a thriving medieval market town. But wooden bridges and rivers prone to flooding are a recipe for disaster. Despite the royal “grant for pontage” ( the right to charge tolls for upkeep and repair) a chapel and hermitage had to be built so travellers could stop and pray for a safe passage or to give thanks that they had made it over and could continue their journey. The wooden bridge battled on through more political, military and civil wrangling, collapsess and rebuilds until the new 13 arch stone bridge was built in 1777.

Maidenhead bridge and the Thames Riviera hotel

In 1903 the toll for crossing the bridge in a horse drawn coach was an eyewatering shilling, roughly equivalent to £14 today. And if you took 20 sheep across, it would have been 10 old pence-roughly £11 today. Eric hoped they didn’t charge for going under the bridge as he’s convinced I have 20 sheeps worth of wool on board with all the spinning and knitting I do. But in 1903 the charity commission deemed the tolls illegal as Maidenhead corporation were using the funds for purposes other than bridge maintenance.

The Maidenhead bridge isn’t the only bridge with a story. In 1839 Isambard Kingdom Brunel completed the Great Western Railway bridge.

The rail bridge

It was an innovative design intended to maintain the shallow gradient needed for the age of steam and at 39m x7m (129’x24′) the low rise arches were the widest flattest ever constructed at the time. However, the commissioners were worried that the bridge wouldn’t be strong enough, so Kingdom Brunel reluctantly agreed to leave the centering wooden formwork in place. But unbeknown to them, he had lowered it slightly so it was no longer of structural consequence. During the next strong flood the wooden “support” was washed away but the brick bridge held fast proving his superior engineering skills.

It might not be the most aesthetically beautiful bridge, but it is indeed a very clever and innovative one. The width and size of the central arch is such that acts as an echo chamber so the bridge is known locally as the Sounding Bridge. Though I’m not sure the local residents appreciate very passing boat tooting its horn, or the local teenagers sharing their greetings.

Not the quietest of bridges


Maidenhead has yet another bridge within its bounds, the M4, but neither the road or the bridge give us any cause for excitement. But its always fun to see things from a different perspective.

Under the M4

We moored at Bray, the exclusive suburb of Maidenhead

Looking back to Bray

next to Eton’s Dorney lakes (where the 2012 Olympic rowing took place), but thanks to a few disrespectful individuals, who used the site as their personal playground during the covid lock down, Eton have now closed it off to the non feepaying public. But we did walk the meadow and saw this flower that we haven’t come across before

Any ideas?….

and the damsel flies were very obliging when it came to being photographed.

I took this snap on my phone

Whilst Eric was lining up the perfect shot

Smile you’re on camera

And the mystery flower is Chicory. Apparently it’s quite common but i don’t recall seeing one before or since

Cliveden

Having cruised past some sumptuous houses over the past few weeks, we dropped by to say hello at Cliveden House. Only to find that the nice little cottage on the bank, was the summerhouse where Queen Victoria used to take afternoon tea. Undeterred we duly paid our £10 mooring fee to the National Trust, (not sure why, when as members we can park for free) and climbed up the hill to the big house,

Cliveden NT (NT photo)

only to find one or two other guests had arrived first, not being our usual choice of holiday destination, we hadn’t realised not only is Cliveden a NT property but a 5 star hotel as well.

Arriving in style

Not wanting to spark further scandal, political or otherwise, photography wasn’t permitted (Cliveden is where the Profumo affair took place) and the tour of the house was very limited. (Which I suppose if you are paying a starting price of £450 for a room is fair enough) but it is worth having a look on the hotel website for some impressive internal features. Whilst we enjoyed the view from the terrace. ( remember this view for later)

I guess this is technically a house with a river view at the end of the garden

To be truthful I was a bit disappointed that we couldn’t see more of the house, but at £90, we didn’t think we were suitably dressed to enjoy afternoon tea, even if Victoria was no longer around. (£124 for the champagne tea). It was time to see the gardens.

If you need a clock in the garden, it might as well be a smart one

especially the rose garden

Just a few

and the fabulous borders

Borders

The mooring was wild and we struggled to get a rope around a tree to secure the bow,

Very wild mooring

but in the intense heat, we were quite glad of the shade and it made an excellent location for me to swim safely, it was cool clean and shallow, so much so that Eric handed me the scraper and I was able to clean off some of the growth under the waterline. But you’ll have to take my word for that.

Low cost spa

Whilst I was enjoying my natural spa day, Eric set to washing the side of the boat

Its a myth that Braidbar are self cleaning


Refreshing though this mooring was, it was also quite shallow and everytime a fast boat went past we could hear us scraping on a rock underneath us, so said goodbye to the Mandarin ducks

Mandarin duck


and only stayed one night. As we continued our cruise downstream I chanced to look and oh boy did we get a treat. Remember the river view from the terrace? I guess this is what you’d call a terrace view.

Looking back up to the house

Moving on to Marlow

During June and July the river really belongs to the rowers, or at least they act as if it does. But thankfully we left Henley before the Regatta officially started. But we we still had to follow the course.

Half way down the sacred 1.25miles

And although we followed the arrowed signage the way ahead looked clear. What we hadn’t realised was the imminent attack approaching from behind. Traveling fast at 4mph (which is a rare occurance for Firecrest) we felt like we were taking our elephant for a stroll around the Ascot race track as the rowers had to slow down from their charge to avoid hitting us. Apparently a men’s 8 averages 14mph. Things weren’t helped by a single non competative rower, (eg the donkey) had ignored the signs and was travelling the wrong way. For us it turned what should have been a dignified dwardle into a fraught furlong.

Being overtaken by the womens 8

But we survived to reach Temple Island which is where the Regatta races officially start.

We’ve reached the start

The eyot with it’s temple, (a folly orignially built as a fishing lodge in 1771), now belongs to the Henley Royal Regatta who forbid anyone to moor or step foot on the island unless the committee gives written permission, can be hired for the day for £1750 plus the hiring of boats to transport your guests.

We decided not to linger, and to be honest breathed a sigh of relief to be off the course. We enjoyed a few nights wild mooring before we reached Marlow, home to the worlds most revered rower Sir Steve Redgrave.

Sir Steve Redgrave, 5 times olympian rower

There was plenty to see in Marlow, a pleasant stroll along the river path takes you to All Saints church, part of historic Bisham Abbey

All Saints, Bisham

But as we have found all along this river some views are tantalising close… if you can swim, but bridges are few and far between. But then again when you do find a bridge, its usually quite special. The current Marlow bridge was built circa 1830 by William Tierney Clark who went on to build the larger Hungarian Széchenyi Chain Bridge that crosses the Danube

Marlow bridge with All Saints Marlow (not to be confused with all saints bisham)

We enjoyed Marlow, although its the first place we have been “disturbed” by several noisy groups who had drunk a little too much champagne (is there such a thing as too much champagne?)

The tree that sheltered us from the heatwave

We’ve become used to seeing some impressive forms of transport on this part of the Thames but this mini caught my eye and made me chuckle

Flower power

And whilst a lot of the enticing looking restaurants were out of our price bracket, the farmers market made up a bit of variety.

A good few days, Sir Steve is wondering about the emerging talent.

But we dont think the doggy paddle will win any golds

Racing towards the Regatta

After a few days watching the world go by at Lower Shiplake, we were ready to cruise the 2 miles downstream to what is probably one of the most prestigious places to be seen on the Thames, Henley. First we had to cruise past a house featured on Grand Designs,

Definitely a des res

Then after we had passed through Marsh lock, we passed the Henley Rowing club, just one of many multi story carparks for rowing boats, no wonder the river is so busy, and this is just a tiny fraction of what we saw. We’re convinced they deliberately all go out for spin at exactly the same time of the day just to confuse the nervous narrowboats

Henley rowing club

We cruised around the Rod Eyot, (an Eyot being a small river island, commonly seen on (in?) the Thames.) Rod Eyot is populated with about 10 chalets, fancy living somewhere surrounded by water.

Rod Eyot and friends

And for £10 a night (£55 a week) we finally moored up on Marsh Meadows. One of the necessary flood planes, a few minutes walk into the town.

Marsh meadow mooring

Of course what Henley is world famous for now is the annual 5 day Henley Royal Regatta, HRR, which takes place at the end of June/beginning of July, but the race course is set up and used for several other regattas during June and July. We were able to stand on the bridge and see the end of the course and the start of the hospitality.

The fun starts here

Not only is the rowing highly competitive, but I think the social scene is too. And looking back upstream we could see boats and people as far as the eye could see. (We were moored beyond the treeline)


We thought it was time to do some entertaining of our own and Eric’s brother and his wife came to see us. We had a lovely lunch on board, sipping something chilled, as one does in this part of the world,

before we went for a stroll around the town.

The market place


And to see the bridge

Henley bridge

The river and rowing museum was closed the 2 days we stayed in Henley, but one of the riverside info boards showed this painting, an 17thC version of street view looking towards Henley Bridge, when the river was just as much a focal point for the towns economy, albeit in a much more laborious way. It shows the “Flash Lock” designed stem the flow of water downstream whilst the cargo barges queued up behind it, the resulting whoosh of water as it was opened sent the barges hurtling downstream ‘riding the wave’. It sounds quite fun, but it was physically a very hard and dangerous job, and many lost their lives working on the river.
Jan Siberechts (1627–c.1703), 1698

Henley on Thames from Wargrave Road

Nowadays the river is just as essential to the towns economy, just in a more gentle fashion

Ships at Shiplake

Ok, the knowledgeable will know they’re boats not ships, but oh boy, or oh buoy, we have certainly seen a wide variety of craft floating past Firecrest whilst moored at Lower Shiplake.
The most impressive was The New Orleans, a replica paddle steamer, flagship of the Hobbs of Henley fleet.

Now thats the way to go for a paddle

But perhaps one of the most prestigious was the Alaska, another steamer, but this time genuinely part of the national historic fleet, built in 1883, and has been used for the Queen’s Royal Barge.

The steam boat Alaska

Of course not all the boats are quite so elegant but on a sunny sunday afternoon the occupants are still having just as much fun

Some are having to work harder than others

I havent quite worked out the pleasure of travelling backwards yet

Some boats seem very high tech, these rowers were too serious to stop for a chat, we wondered if they are training for some sort of ocean rowing challenge as it had a stabilizer, its the only boat of this style that we’ve seen.

This is some high tec kit

This one seems like its cheating, but I suppose if you can have an E-bike, why not an an E-canoe, it certainly looked a lovely boat.

Youve gotta love an electric boat

Of course we’ve lost count of the cruisers whizzing up and down,

Noisy and fast. Not for me.

but its the Dutch barge style boats that prompt the “… our next boat ….” conversations

I think the biggest argument would be the colour, I love it….

That’s when were not suffering from house envy

Our mooring with a view

Of course for some life on the water is a breeze

But I’m afraid we had a bit of a chuckle here, its not much of a breeze when your boat breaks down and you have to be towed home

The boat that one aspires to is a beautiful Gentleman’s launch.

but for those that don’t have a property with a boat house in which to keep such luxury we saw this concept boat whose owner and inventor stopped to chat

Stopping for a chat

We were seeing it on its launch day, so much so that it doesn’t even have an advertising website yet. But the name on the side is Pubboat. Its a collapsible inflatable design using the modern paddleboard materials that hold the sides rigid like this unlike traditional inflatable dinghies. It folds up small enough to put into the boot of his VW golf. And I think he said it would retail for around £1500. I’m sure this is one for the Dragons Den

Good luck guys

And I haven’t even begun to mention the rowers, paddleboarders, kayaks, swimmers or dogs that we saw in the water. It certainly makes a change from the canals

Mysteries, murders and movies

After a week at Beale Park watching the jubilee celebrations, we took the opportunity for a night on Pangbourne Meadow (so I could restock the fridge without having to carry the shopping down the towpath). I would have called a water taxi but the standard of boat building in these parts leaves a lot to be desired.

Lessons on how not to build a raft

Despite the dodgy rafts, the prestigious Pangbourne college, has historic naval links, but in 1939 it was the Royal engineers took advantage of the meadow and used the area to train in bridge building. However the Whitchurch bridge is still standing (Whitchurch being on the Oxfordshire side, Pangbourne is in Berkshire) has stood on the site since 1792. When it was first built the ferryman received £350 in compensation for loss of trade. Its one of only 2 remaining private toll bridges over the Thames. (Swinford being the other)

Whithurch Bridge


But with the sun shining we set off -our destination, Shiplake lock charging point.

Sometimes its well worth waking up at 6am

Our first chuckle of the day came when we saw two heads popping up out of the water, we realised they were divers, I duly called out what are you looking for?…. “Bodies” came the reply. It turns out they were filming for Midsomer Murders. I suspect Firecrest’s photobombing shot will end up on the cutting room floor.

Hope they didnt find any bodies

Filming was obviously the order of the day, because we saw these two capturing the moment

They were probably estate agents

and this swimmer who was either being chased by a submarine, or was well prepared to sue any boat that cut the corner too close for comfort.

Swim cam

Or perhaps just keeping a look out for anyone going the wrong way.

Sentry duty

but the two things that puzzled us the most, was seeing a letter box built into the railway embankment wall below Mapledurham. Who was going to use it to post letters and who was going to collect them.

Thats an odd place for a letter box

Then we saw another built into the Sonning bridge arch which caused me to ask Mr Google for some answers. The Sonning post box was is an art installation, just the front of a box, put up by the artist, Impro, in 2013, the Mapledurham post box appeared in 2016 but is probably a copycat prank with no one claiming responsibility.

Sonning Bridge


but as I’m posting about bridges, we couldnt pass through this area without mentioning Christchurch footbridge in Reading.

Christchurch bridge

Completed in 2015 linking Reading and Caversham, and if like us you like a few facts and figures,
it is 123 metres long, the mast is 39m tall. Is made up from more than 455 tonnes of steel,
A 68 m river span weighing approximately 200 tonnes and supported by 14 pairs of cables,
1,100 metres of reinforced cable attached to the main bridge mast, supporting eight separate steel sections
A 50 tonne mast sitting 39m above river level, supported on nine piles 750mm in diameter and 19 metres in length.
On a hot day, a mast that expands 3cm as it warms up.
A bridge deck which expands up approximately 6cm at the middle of its river span on a hot day.
A bridge deck is only 380mm deep – about the size of a car steering wheel
234 LED lights – 39 of which are colour changing – alongside its white LED walkway illuminating lighting.


I wonder if it will last as long and look as good as the brick bridges in a few hundred years.
We had been warned that there was absolutely no mooring to be had in Reading, however we spotted this gap, which leads directly to the entrance of tesco. I took advantage and restocked the ballast, eg, if theres a shortage of tinned tomatoes or other heavy bulky goods, we’ll be ok

Reading continual moorers

Weve got used to seeing some pretty prestigeous boats but obviously not all boats in Reading wanted to be seen

Spot the boat

We made it to Shiplake Lock to recharge our batteries. And our final mystery of the day….