The annual Swan Upping census of the swan population on the river Thames event is believed to date back to 1189, when The Crown claimed ownership of all mute swans for food for banquets and feasts.

Swan Uppers from the Worshipful Company of Vintners and Worshipful Company of Dyers (Barge Masters in blue blazers) row up the Thames from Eton in traditional skiffs with the Queen’s swan marker David Barber (scarlet blazer).

Today the cygnets are weighed and measured to obtain estimates of growth rates and are examined for signs of injury, usually caused by fishing hooks and line.

There were no catches on the short stretch of the river I was with them near Windsor.

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