I got up at 5:00am because the meningitis group were planning on an early start because they had a long day ahead of them. They had a long way to go to meet up with a reception 30 miles further down the river. After we had taken our group pictures and they had left I went into Wallingford where I bought two egg and cress sandwiches for my lunch and had breakfast at Catherine’s Café. I was on the river by 9:50. One thing I remember about this campsite is how slippery the bank was after the rain showers had turned the river bank mud into a treacherous grease.
I walked across the bridge into Wallingford and I was fascinated by the unusual church spire I saw as I approached the end of the Bridge. On the way back I took a picture of the approach to the bridge and the traffic lights that controlled the one-way traffic on the narrow bridge.
I camped with the meningitis guys at the Riverside Park and Pool campsite across the river from Wallingford. As you can see from the picture we had had some rain so everything is spread out to dry. For the most part the weather was sunny so our stay at the campsite was pleasant. Many of the locals were at the park either enjoying the swimming pool or relaxing by the riverside.
There is a great variety of recreational users along the Thames. The two examples here show the smaller outboard cabin cruisers moored alongside their recreational lots some with holiday trailers on them and the much larger cabin cruisers moored at private docks with their holiday cabins behind.
As I travelled closer to London the type of properties along the river changed. This imposing property with its drive-in boathouse under the house was available for sale. I imagine you would need to offer a 7 figure price in order to become its new owner. Along the way you can see many different types of boats but this one was unique – a very sleek rowing boat being propelled along by two gentlemen enjoying an afternoon on the river.
This was a very special day for me, not just because it was my birthday but also because Jenny and I spent the first two nights of our honeymoon at the Barley Mow at the end of July 1968. It turned out to be even more interesting because I met up with the six meningitis paddlers in the pub and I spent the evening with them. And what an evening it was. First they drank many beers before moving into the restaurant for a meal Now I should explain that the four guys were what in England are known as working class drinking buddies. So supper was an entertaining, raucous affair with much loud, colourful language. So much so that a couple at a table nearby asked to moved to a quieter location.
I walked into the town centre to buy a cord for my cell phone and I stopped at The King’s Head and Bell for a pint of beer and lunch.
From the lock I walked along the river bank to the bridge you can see in the distance and crossed over the river into Abingdon.
I left my campsite at 9:50 and set off with a goal of reaching Clifton Hampden as my destination for the night. I stopped at Abingdon Lock at lunch time and moored my canoe behind the dock you can see in the picture.
Next they lifted my canoe out of the water and carried it past the lock and down the steps where they reloaded much of my equipment. As it turned out I was to meet up with these guys several times for the next two days. This turned out to be an even more challenging day. After I left Osney Lock it was my intention to paddle to where Hinksey Stream flows into the Thames and then paddle half a mile up Hinksey Stream to Oxford International Campsite. I found Hinksey Stream with no problem where I turned upstream and paddled with difficulty against a strong current for what seemed to be forever. There was no sign of the campsite anywhere and I was getting very tired so I turned back and rejoined the Thames. As it turned out I had made a good decision because shortly after travelling down the Thames I found a perfect spot to “wild camp.”
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