Today saw the arrival in Marlow of the Swan Uppers – the annual ceremonial swan census.
This year we had a special guest- HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne was onboard the lead boat from Cookham to Marlow with David Barber, the Queen’s Royal Swan Marker. After talking to the lock-keepers, and town Mayor Chris Funnell, the Princess was dropped off at the Compleat Angler, for a short drive to a waiting helicopter.
We also bumped into Chris Evans, who told us he was there to see the swan uppers and he had seen Princess Anne.
What is Swan Upping?
Swan Upping is the census of the swan population on certain stretches of the Thames, which takes place during the third week of July every year. This historic ceremony dates from the twelfth century when the Crown claimed ownership of all swans, and they were regarded as a delicacy at banquets.
Nowadays the cygnets are weighed and measured to obtain estimates of growth rates and the birds are examined for any sign of injury.
The Queen’s Swan Marker and the accompanying Swan Uppers of the Vintners’ and Dyers’ Livery Companies use traditional Thames rowing skiffs in their five-day journey upstream.