Inspired by creation – The Thames

Early one Saturday morning in July, we met up on the riverbank, a few miles the far side of Reading.

A Band of Brothers

Expert advice from the staff saw us, two men per boat, safely afloat, with our tents and sleeping-bags wrapped up tight in special waterproof sacks.

All aboard!

The river is neatly divided into beautiful stretches of water marked out by picturesque locks and inns.

Lock, stock and barrels!

Dom & Jim up against it

Despite tales of shipwreck and sinking, we negotiated the locks like seasoned riverfolk, hanging on to the dangling chains from the lock wall as the water-levels equalised.

Fran under lock and chain

Then, spurred on by self-preservation, we graciously let the powered boats looming above us lead the way and paddled on sedately to our lunchtime watering hole for top nosh and pints of foaming ale.

A Riverside Paradise for Dom, Mart & Jim

Good food & good company

It’s hard to imagine the peace, so close to the water, surrounded by nature, being cheerfully saluted by our fellow travellers as we float along in the sunshine, unencumbered by their engines, fumes and noise.

Old Man Willow

The freedom of our laughter, the fruit of waterborne banter, shared only with the ducks, sustains us as we paddle upriver, each new bend in the bank a fresh horizon awash with hidden secrets.

Michael & Rob afloat

The first time we went kayaking, we got as far as Goring Bridge and spent a pleasant night close to the village, within walking distance of evening pub and morning breakfast.

A bridge too far…

On my second foray, I’m pleased to report a more athletic attempt saw us arrive safely at the recommended campsite with hot showers and full camping facilities.

Pitched just right

Next to the campsite is a riverside haven, a country inn bathed in soft light, calling us with promises of hot food and real ale.

A perfect reflection of a perfect day!

Sunday sees a leisurely start after a hearty breakfast and mugs of tea. We turn our nose for home and it’s downstream all the way…

Next trip we may launch from Oxford and paddle downhill all the way!

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