Swan Upping in Henley

Swan Upping in Henley or Littlehampton beach? So, our day out at Littlehampton beach today turned into a slightly closer trip to Henley on Thames, and we spent the day in Henley by the river, and as it turns out, experiencing Swan Upping in Henley. More on that later.

First thing we did was pack the picnic, then get Alfie out the garage, and get the roof down ready to enjoy the sun.

Alpha Romeo Spyder Roof Down

Roof Down, ready to go










Fuelling up the Alpha

Filling up 

After a quick fill up, petrol for Alfie and drinks for me and Suz, we hit the road. It still took us 90ish minutes to get there, as I wanted to enjoy the drive in Alfie, so we steered clear of the motorways.

Driving along with the wind blowing was very pleasant. Stopping in traffic or at lights with the sun beating down less so. After many windy roads, we made it to Henley, without using sat nav!!!

Before we left home, one of the websites we looked at suggested we park at a car park at the end on Mill Lane, and then walk through Marsh Meadows to the river bank. We found the car park, and unusually for the UK, there were no parking charges to pay.

We put the roof up, headed through the trees, and out onto the clearing that was Marsh Meadows. The meadow was drenched in sun, and we could see the river the other side of the expanse.

Marsh Meadows

Marsh Meadows

We headed left, and eventually arrived at a clearing called Mill Meadows. We found a spot of shade under a small tree and set up for our picnic.

After a few minutes it was clear something was happening. Henley Mayor was in residence, and a crowd (micro crowd maybe the best explanation) was gathering. There were people with walkie talkies coordinating everything, and even what appeared to be a film crew. There were also a few photographers, presumably from local papers. After a quick chat to one of the film crew, I found out it was the time of the year for Swan Upping. Swan Upping basically consists of collecting data, assessing the health of young cygnets and examining them for any injuries.

Swan Upping in Henley – What is it?

This snippet was taken from the official website http://www.royalswan.co.uk

Swan Upping plays an important role in the conservation of the mute swan and involves The Queen’s Swan Warden collecting data, assessing the health of young cygnets and examining them for any injuries. Cygnets are extremely vulnerable at this early stage in their development and Swan Upping affords an opportunity to help both adults and cygnets that might otherwise go untreated.

The Royal Swan Uppers, who wear the scarlet uniform of Her Majesty The Queen, travel in traditional rowing skiffs together with Swan Uppers from the Vintners’ and Dyers’ livery companies. Many schools are invited to meet the Swan Uppers on their journey up river. The children involved may have the opportunity to view cygnets at close quarters and ask questions about swans, the boats used and The Queen’s ownership of mute swans. The participation of school children is a positive element of Swan Upping and their enthusiasm for wildlife is always to be encouraged.

We watched the Royal Swan Uppers approach, and “dock”. All of a sudden, Henley by the river, became a very popular place. Sort of. The mayor attracted a crowd, they had a local school come out for a Q&A session

Swan Upping in Henley
Swan Upping in Henley
Swan Upping in Henley

Can’t we teleport home!

What appeared to be the Chief Swan Upper, then gave a quick talk to the school children, which culminated in a Q&A session. The school children then went back to the river side, to see the boats. I think it was a long, hot day for some of them. As they started to get ready to head back to their school, I saw and heard one boy groan “Can’t we teleport home”

By this time, Suzanne and I had decided it was time for a walk, so we headed up the river, towards Henley Town centre and found a nice little riverside pub called The Angel, www.theangelhenley.com. Pimms and Lemonade for Suzanne, Shandy for me… I was driving after all! After a refreshing cold drink, as oppose to the luke warm Capri Sun we had in our ever warming cool box, we walked back along the river, towards the car park. Hot, sweaty, but a nice relaxing day by the river. A day when we had seen Swan Upping in Henley, a age old tradition. And we say it by accident. Don’t you love it when that happens!!

Here are a few more images of our day:

Henley072013-02 Henley072013-03 Henley072013-04 Henley072013-05 Swan Upping in Henley Henley072013-07 Henley072013-08 Swan Upping in Henley Henley072013-10 Henley072013-11 Henley072013-12 Swan Upping in Henley Swan Upping in Henley Henley072013-15 Swan Upping in Henley Henley072013-17 Henley072013-18 Henley072013-19 Henley072013-20 Henley072013-21 Henley072013-22 Henley072013-23











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