02:45PM, Wednesday 20 July 2016
Adoring crowds greeted the Royal Swan Uppers as the annual census of the swan population on the River Thames took place this week.
The Royal Swan Upping is a tradition dating back to the 12th century which sees swan upping boats travel 79 miles from Sunbury to Abingdon to check on the royal birds.
The six-ship flotilla of row boats arrived at Romney Lock on Monday before setting off from the Windsor and Eton Bridge yesterday (Tuesday) morning.
Swan uppers passed through Boveney Lock, in Dorney, before stopping off at the Oakley Court Hotel, in Windsor Road, to give a demonstration to children from Braywood First School and Maidenhead’s Oldfield Primary School.
Excited students got a surprise as a family of swans with two cygnets arrived on the scene.
The young swans were taken out of the river so they could be tagged, weighed and checked for injuries before they were released back on to the water.
David Barber, the Queen’s Swan Marker, said: “We’re short of cygnets this year so that’s not so good.
“But the point of events like this is so we can educate the children. It was a real bonus for them to see the cygnets.”
The swan uppers also passed through Boulters Lock, Cookham Bridge and Marlow Lock.
Wargrave resident Sue Milton, 69, has been following the Royal Swan Upping every year since 1989. She told the Advertiser: “I like to cover the whole journey if I can, it’s just magical. I’ve taken thousands of pictures down the years and my aim is to make a book out of all of them.”
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