I should mention that the wind got progressively stronger as I completed yesterday's paddle and now, when I had left my sleeping bag, it had increased in strength. Nevertheless, after a breakfast of porridge I packedup and set off on my way. The most memorable events of this my third day on the Thames were passing by many nesting swans, being passed by several long boats and negotiating the locks by myself. Once you get the idea, operating the locks is simple and easy. As you turn the wheel that opens and closes the lock sluice gates two metal rods move up or down. One rod is marked with red paint and the other is marked with white. When the red marked rod is up the sluice gate is open and the water can flow through. When the white rod is up the sluice gate is closed can the water is held back. As you can see in this picture the lock gate is closed and no water is entering the lock so the white tipped rod is up.
On the way down the river the wind gained in strength and my progress was very slow. I finally listened to Jenny's admonishments and decided to exert only a reasonable effort and not drive myself on to a goal too far. So after a full day of paddling I reached Shifford Lock but had only travelled six miles. I camped by the lock and settled down for the night. The next day the wind was still whistling through the willows so another night at Shifford seemed expedient. During the day I asked the lock keeper what the weather forecast was and he told me it was expected to be the same for four days. That was enough for me to call Tony and ask if he could come and pick me up the next day and that's what he did. So after three days of paddling for a total of 23 miles my canoe trip was over. And the wind did blow for four more days. I would never have finished the canoe trip on schedule and that would have jeopadrized my SW Coast hike.
I'm a grandfather who lost an infant granddaughter and who wants to help Gillian, her mother, provide support for other grieving parents through Hazel's Heroes.