Dave Henwood has kindly sent in this article on his visit to Bourne End during Bourne End Week.
As many of you will already know, Dave travels back here from Wiltshire on a regular basis & often shares his stunning, local photos with the Facebook community. He has a huge catalogue of pictures capturing the beauty & change that creeps in with time. Those of you who follow his trips will be aware that the railways are his passion & I was very lucky recently, to receive a sneak preview of his book, “Life On The Railway”. As soon as I hear that the book is on sale, I will let you all know.
Bourne End Week – (Colour and Confidence make the Bourne End Regatta)
The first question must be, what was I doing in Bourne End on a day when the Train to get me there wasn’t running? A fair question easily answered. It had been just over a week since my last visit to the area that I called home for so many years, Thursday May 19th providing an all too rare opportunity for a weekday visit with the camera, unhindered to a point, with my only commitment on that date being to meet someone at Paddington Station, London later that evening. A very enjoyable walk from Marlow to Bourne End saw me spend almost an hour sat on the river bank between the hourly trips of the Marlow Donkey, which I was attempting to photograph whenever the intermittent sun coincided with its passing.
All in all that was a great day but there was something missing. Being a weekday, the River was quiet with just the odd pleasure craft out and about but of course this is not always the case. Summer weekends can bring a significant increase in water borne traffic and one week in particular will add an array of additional colour and excitement to that. I refer of course to Bourne End Week, the annual celebration of sailing on this part of the River.
It’s true, Bourne End’s Regatta is not in the same league as that of Henley but it is equally enjoyable albeit less well known. My return visit on Sunday May 29th was a combination of wanting to re-visit my former Buckinghamshire home village at some point, and my daughter wanting dad to take her out for the day which gave me the idea of combining the two, and we are so glad we did. Living in Wiltshire, it would have been a 90 minute drive up the M4 and associated A roads but using the train is always more relaxing and just as easy.
Today, though, the Marlow Donkey itself was taking a well earned break, with some fairly odd ball work taking place at Maidenhead Station causing the branch line to be closed. A comfortable mini-coach was supplied by the railway in lieu to transport passengers quickly between the branch line stations.
My daughter, who had accompanied me on a previous visit to the area somehow managed to remember that Ice Cream was available at Spade Oak Wharf. Other strange memories arose from her memory banks such as, Dad, we need to go to the Co-Op near the loos to get a Kinder Egg!
Well, who was I to argue, she seemed to have the day all mapped out and had already cottoned onto the fact that Dad had just been paid. We arrived on the coach from Maidenhead and made the Co-Op in Wakeman Road our first port of call, if you discount the loo of course. Suitably refreshed we walked through the village and down Oakfield Road to the River, pausing at the UTSC just as the afternoon session was kicking off. We moved onto Spade Oak for the aforementioned Ice Cream and found a nice spot to sit and watch the activity unfold.
In the couple of hours we were there, a few photographs were taken illustrating the busy nature of the River and the sterling job being undertaken by UTSC members in the Safety Boats – guiding the larger craft safely through what was at times a maze of sails and multi-coloured wind propelled craft.
Soon it was time to head back but time was available for us to walk up to Vineyards foot crossing over the railway, alongside the Spade Oak nature reserve and back via Upper Thames Way to the Marina where I had a quick catch up with Peter Osborne and Charlotte got to meet Rocky the Marina watch dog!
Thank you to Dave for sending in his beautiful photos of Bourne End Regatta.