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I love it when a plan comes together, and the trip from Windsor to Reading went pretty much to plan!

Shirley Anne in Windsor
Shirley Anne in Windsor

The planning app I used said it would take 14 hours – we took 13.75 hours.

The other part of the plan was for Karen to hire a car, collect me from Devizes, along with all the stuff I had bought or borrowed, go via the London flat and collect more things, and get all this to the boat in Windsor on the Sunday.

We then drove ahead to the Tingdene Thames and Kennet Marina where we left the car, then came back to Windsor by train. All set for an early start on Monday.

Boat Electrical Systems

Boat electrical systems always take a lot of understanding, and I have a lot to learn about how Shangri La works. The main issue is the bow thruster only charges from 220V when on shore power or from the generator. Bit of a user problem and I could not get the generator started, so we did this bit of the trip without a bow thruster.

Not actually too much of a problem on the Thames where the locks are wider, and manned.

Lock on the Thames
Lock on the Thames

On our way

We set out at 0930. First challenge was to go stern first out of the little backwater where she had been moored. But slowly does it and all well.

We had met another South African couple who lived on their boat on the Thames just opposite from Shirley Anne’s mooring, and we motored past them with a farewell hoot. They took a lovely video of our departure.

Our first voyage – Leaving Windsor

Our first day motoring was pleasant and fortunately uneventful.

I needed to get the feel of how she handled. A 58ft widebeam is very heavy (about 25 T – I think). We were going upstream against the current and I did not want to push the engine unnecessarily.

It is a bit of a learning experience for both of us!

Karen at the helm
Karen at the helm

That is one of the many good things about Shangri La – she has what is by all accounts the best canal boat engine – a BetaMarine 50.

Me - the ancient mariner!!
Me – the ancient mariner!!
One of many bridges
One of many bridges

Trip details

On our first day boating with Shangri La we covered a whole 17 miles, negotiated 7 locks with a total rise of 36’ 03”

So different from France where on some days we would go up or down 20 or 30 metres!

One of the biggest problems on the UK inland waterways is finding somewhere to moor up overnight. And of course, with a widebeam it can even add to the issue.

Rustic overnight mooring
Rustic overnight mooring

This time we managed to find a spot tied up to some trees near a farm. There were lots of inquisitive sheep who came to check us out.

Inquisitive sheep
Inquisitive sheep

Second day

We got going quite early on Tuesday morning – with much more of the same. This time passed through Henley on Thames where there were quite a few canoeists, and they were already preparing for the famous race!

Approaching Henley
Approaching Henley
Henley on Thames
Henley on Thames

We made good time and moored up in the Tingdene – Thames and Kennet Marina at 1320.

Despite checking with the marina as to where we were to tie up, I ended up down a blind alley and had to reverse out – without a bow thruster!!

But it was fine, and we moored up at the visitor pontoon without mishap.

Greatly relieved!

Moored at Visitor Berth in Tingdene - Thames and Kennet
Moored at Visitor Berth in Tingdene – Thames and Kennet

Today we travelled 12 miles, negotiated 4 locks, with a total rise of 18’ 04”

Tingdene Marina – Thames and Kennet – is a lovely marina, on the Thames and right by the entrance to the K and A.

On the expensive side at GBP 30 per night. But very well run.

Tingdene - Thames and Kennet - full!
Tingdene – Thames and Kennet – full!

We spent the rest of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning cleaning the boat and shopping at IKEA!

I put the high-pressure washer I had bought to good use, and by the end of that time she was looking so much better, inside and out.

High pressure washing
High pressure washing

One mishap – for the first time in my whole marine and boating career I knocked my glasses off and into the water!! But fortune smiled – the marina handyman came along with a net and recovered them with the first shot!!

Next will be the trip from Tingdene to Newbury.

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