As soon as we cast off I had to line up with the tall, but narrow bridge, but the wind had dropped right away and there were no problems. The river twists and turn back on itself, on this upper reach and the water is still and clear, the colour of thick plate glass, unlike the muddy brown of the canals. Three more locks and nine miles later we arrived at our final destination ‘Lechlade’. The spire of the church can be seen several miles away and this is the usual limit of navigation, or at least it is half a mile beyond the town bridge, the Ha’penny Bridge, so called, as this was the toll that was charged in the past.
Over the previous days our journey had been accompanied by the noise from overflying VC10’s, Trident and the occasional Hercules aircraft, all returning to the nearby Brize Norton RAF airport. We assumed that these were solders and equipment returning from Iraq and we figuratively waved to them as they banked over for their final approach.
Now all was peaceful as we tied up before the bridge alongside open meadow land, with views of the church and graceful swans our other side. We immediately left all this behind as we set of on foot to investigate the town of Lechlade.
A quaint little town built around the sharp right hand bend of the road which was busy with lots of cars and motorbikes passing through on route to Cotswold Country. Antique shops galore, but there was a convenient food store, where amongst other items we purchased some Old Lech beer, quite appropriate really, but in fact it is brewed in a local micro brewery, lots of foam, which had nothing to do with my pouring ability, but very tasty once it had settled down.