This week saw the arrival in Marlow of the Swan Uppers – the annual ceremonial swan census.
On Tuesday evening they arrived, led by David Barber, the Queen’s Royal Swan Marker, with Marlow’s mayor Richard Scott onboard too.
MyMarlow was there to get some photos of the arrival, but we were privileged to be onboard one of the boats for the departure on Wednesday. Starting at the Compleat Angler hotel, local schoolchildren had Swan Upping explained to them and they were delighted to see some cygnets close up. Then we set off to Henley, checking , weighing and measuring swans as we went…. drawing crowds of onlookers all the while.
It was a fantastic opportunity to see everything close up, having photographed the event from a distance for many, many years. Check out our gallery below.
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 – it is all about conservation and education. 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.
More info is at www.royalswan.co.uk