Boating has prevented me from doing much surfing to find new sites but the Hotelboat Shirleyanne www.hotelboatshirleyanne.co.uk floated past my window recently and prompted me to key in their URL. The well presented and informative website revealed that they are a new hotel boat this year taking 2 guests. The Weyfarers Rowing Club www.weyfarers.rowing.org.uk were kind enough to let me know that they have a new site. They are based on the River Wey and are one of a handful of recreational and touring rowing clubs in the UK formed for and by people who think rowing should be fun.
As the time for the Inland Waterways Association National Festival at Beale Park approaches it may be a good time to look at some of the websites that relate to the River Thames. Starting above Oxford we have Halcyon Boating Holidays www.halcyonboats.co.uk at Eynsham, where they hire boats from the former Oxford Cruisers base, as well as from their other base in Coventry. Folly Bridge in Oxford is the home of the famous Salter's Steamers www.salterssteamers.co.uk a family firm established in 1888 and still operating a scheduled passenger service.
If you prefer to see the river from a hotel boat then you can choose from several companies. Thames Heritage Cruising Ltd. www.s2do.co.uk/dt/go.html cruise the historic river with their hotel barge Dudley Thomas. Thames & Chilterns Holiday Cruises www.tranquilrose.co.uk have the wide boat Tranquil Rose giving a choice of cruises on the River Thames and adjoining waterways including the Kennet & Avon Canal and Unrivalled Holidays http://members.aol.com/RivalBarge have the Dutch barge Rival.
The Reading Marine Company www.readingmarine.com are both boat builders and a boat hire company with bases on the Thames and the Kennet & Avon Canal. Also based in Reading are Thames River Cruise www.thamesrivercruise.co.uk providing charter hire and cruises on trip boats on this part of the river. At Henley on Thames the excellent River Thames and Rowing Museum www.rrm.co.uk has a site with information on the museum and on the town. Further down the river Kris Cruisers www.kriscruisers.co.uk has twenty cruisers for hire at Datchet, below Windsor, and Chertsey Meads Marine www.boatsthames.com has hire boats as well as operating all the usual boatyard services. The final site in this area is French Brothers www.boat-trips.co.uk River Thames passenger boat operators whose fleet of large boats are familiar to anyone using this part of the river.
Coming onto the tidal river we have Thames Tideway www.thames-tideway.org an information service about the tidal Thames, which goes from Teddington in Middlesex to the sea. For live pictures from the Pool of London see the Thames Web Cam at www.livesights.com/cgi-bin/nph-VideoPages.plx?title=live. River Thames - R.I.P www.btinternet.com/~len.crickmar/ is a campaigning site concerned that all access points to the tidal river are being blocked off by developers and London's Inland Waterways http://members.lycos.co.uk/michael_lennox/index.html is a towpath and cruising guide that covers the Thames and other London waterways.
I have only come across one personal site that covers the Thames, although I am sure there must be more, this is Floating Down the River www.the-river-thames.co.uk Ian and Dot Hart's pages on Thames boating and Cruising the French Waterways. Doug Myers' Paintings www.dougmyers.co.uk includes a project to paint all the bridges 135 (approx) over the Thames. So far he has completed 80 and expects to finish in about 2006. Visit Thames www.visitthames.co.uk is an Environment Agency site dealing with all leisure activities on and by the Thames and is well worth visiting to get a good overview of the river and the places it serves. The River Thames Guide www.riverthames.co.uk is another guide to what the Thames and its surrounding areas have to offer in the way of boats and boating, entertainment, food and drink and tourist information.
Site of the Month
Having looked at some very good Thames based websites I have decided to make the Thames Path Online Guide www.thames-path.co.uk the site of the month. These pages are busy with information and activity. There is an on-line questionnaire, an invitation to subscribe to receive free monthly Thames Path newsletters, as well as a selection of Thames books on many of the pages. Sections of the site include details of the Thames Path and the associated locks, bridges, events, features, towns, walking, cycling, boat trips, events and news. The Links section is particularly impressive with links to other websites categorised under 25 headings; 7 for counties through which the river travels and others covering accommodation, boating, bridges, climate, cycling, environment, events, history, locks, miscellaneous, photographic, places to visit, rowing, sports, towns, travel and walking. These links are a great resource for anyone interested in the Thames and I will certainly be using them to help expand my list of waterways sites.
If you would like to suggest a favourite web site which you think WW
readers should know about please mail me at email@example.com.