On the canals, if you choose to continuously cruise, you can stay almost anywhere for free for up to two weeks at a time. On the Thames it’s very different.
There are occasional free public mooring places but they are for 24 hour stays only and are few and far between. Almost everywhere charges a mooring fee. In Windsor, where I’m currently moored, it’s four pounds a night. On one side of the river the leisure centre takes payment, on the other side Eton College takes your money. In Maidenhead it’s eight pounds a night and the local council collects it. And that’s just to stay there, don’t expect electricity, mooring rings or even a straight bit of towpath to moor against. Is Maidenhead really worth twice as much as Windsor? Since Windsor is so crowded with boats and it’s hard to find a mooring there, shouldn’t it be the other way round?
I put the boat in Reading’s Better Boating marina recently so it would be safe while I went to the Big Green Gathering festival. It cost about ten quid a night and that didn’t even include an electrical hookup. Nice location on an island though with the added charm of having to take a rowing boat out to reach the boat.
Money is the main reason I’m going to have to leave the Thames and return to the canals soon. The Thames has been a fantastic place to live for a couple of months, an experience I’ll never forget, but I just can’t afford it any more. I’m broke!