The Head of Navigation on the Thames.
Sounds iconic and important, right? Well, the reality is a little different today. The end of navigation is at the ‘start’ junction with the Thames and Severn Canal, which is moribund, though there are attempts to restore it to navigation. In my view, a very important restoration, as that would allow navigation from the Thames, into the midlands along another route, making Worcester, Gloucester, Stratford, and others much more accessible. However, this is a long term project. From this side, absolutely NO evidence whatsoever from the river at Ingleside; just overgrown willows, shallows making turning almost impossible (I backed out and turned in the middle (?) of the river), no signs or indications of anything of relevance. A pity, as Lechlade (sounds like wretch-aide: English pronunciation) is a very cute town, and this would be a very interesting trip, instead of a fairly determined destination/backwater.
I’m moored on the town common, a field just across the river from the town. Listening to the bells of the church clock (but ringing is on friday…). Tomorrow, I head back downstream, with Reading the destination of choice for Monday night, so I can moor up and then go the to boat show in Southampton. This is the big show for cruisers and all that I am planning for as the next installment of my wanderings. We will see.
The river is very different than many others. Absolutely rural: this is by far the most isolated from settlements that I have been on the waterways. The banks are low- so scenery is great. There are lots of meanders, so navigation is never boring and constant vigilance is needed to spy to boat lurking at the next hairpin bend. Ringing suffers: there are just no villages close to the river. However, as I go downstream, I am headed to the most urban area of the country, so I am enjoying the quiet, stars, and remoteness as that lasts.