Monday, 19 May 2014

Big Weekend on the Tideway.

This is a big blog for a big weekend. On Saturday, bright and early at 07:00 nineteen narrow boats were let out of Limehouse lock and onto a a very calm and considerate River Thames. We were given the honour (for the first time) of leading six of the ‘novice’ boats during the day’s cruise – a responsibility we hoped we aspired to!

P1030138

Heading down river on the outgoing tide we soon passed the first of many well known London sights – the Cutty Sark with the domed entrance to the Greenwich pedestrian tunnel to the right.

P1030139

The magnificent buildings of Greenwich College.

P1030145

Just past the O2 Arena is the Emirates Skytrain, a pile of nails and one of the City Clippers just about to cast off and do it’s best to create a great big wash for us to enjoy  ………..

P1030146

…….. there it goes!

P1030156

On the mirror calm waters of the early morning we passed through the Thames barrier ……

P1030167

…….. and then on to encounter the Woolwich ferry.

P1030172

Downstream, as the river got wider the freedom and joy of calm open water is something difficult to explain.

P1030175

At the briefing the evening before, all boat owners were warned of the dangers of the giant yellow buoys, with their powerful electro magnets, which attract narrow boats with alarming ease (joke!). However, sometimes it doesn’t register!  The force of the outgoing tide can easily broadside a boat into the buoys – and they got three of us in total on Saturday! (No – we weren’t one of them)

P1030182

Getting as far as Margaretness, we turned and stemmed the last of the ebb tide before taking the incoming tide back up through the city.  This 30 minutes interlude, on tick over, is perfect for preparing bacon sandwiches for breakfast.

P1030184

Heading back up stream we were inspected by the Police and all seemed to be in order. 

P1030185

One happy-chappie sitting on the well deck while he can (there are some rough waters ahead!)

P1030188

Olly, another happy-chappie, as we approach the Thames Barrier again.

P1030192

Olly takes the strain as we pass the O2 Arena and head towards the city.

P1030204

What a sight - nineteen narrow boats, are they ready for us!

P1030215

Heavier waters as we get into the busy area around the Pool of London.

P1030216

The RNLI start an emergency dash right past our stern.

P1030221

How many buses can you get on a bridge?

P1030223

Choppy waters towards the Palace of Westminster.

P1030233

Small though we might seem on such a big river we were spotted, by many bystanders, as something a bit different.

P1030237

Vauxhall bridge has the most wonderful and huge bronze statues which only the river users can ever see properly.

P1030241

Some situations require fortitude!  It’s ok at this level but not much more!

P1030244

James and Olly’s favourite (Albert) Bridge. A joy of cast iron architectural design. 

P1030246

After the Albert Bridge the waters calm down and we can get on the with next exciting part of the day.

P1030247

Cheers!

P1030251

Two helicopters landed at the city pad while we cruised past – an impressive sight.

P1030259

Further up towards Richmond Olly’s sister Fleur, and partner Gren joined us on their boat and escorted us to our final destination ……..

 

P1030267

……… which was Teddington.  Nineteen boats in the big lock!

P1030269

We had a few nibbles and a drink on board Fleur and Gren’s boat before having a meal in the local pub with our cruise leader Andrew and his wife Frances. A great end to a really great day.  Nine hours of unique excitement – thanks go again to Andrew and Frances for their superb organisation.

On Sunday we walked the three miles into Richmond from Teddington Lock where, by chance, we caught up with Doug’s school friend Caroline and her husband Geoff …………

 CIMG9952

……. and joined them in the grounds of their lovely home on the banks of the river.

CIMG9954

We had Champagne and a catch up chat before leaving …….

CIMG9957 

……. and having to wade through the floods caused by the exceptionally high tide!

CIMG9959

We had quite a time getting to dry land! ……….

CIMG9961

…….. and back to the town centre where we decided to have dinner at the floating restaurant.  Even that was fraught with some difficulty as we negotiated the high water again! 

CIMG9963

Still, it was all worth it as the meal in the evening sunshine afloat on the receding tide was a wonderful way to end a wonderful weekend.

5 comments:

  1. Great post.... I was tempted until I saw how the bows were punching through the choppy water... !! For future reference how do you get onto one of the trips and is there any special boat preparation needed?

    Nev

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nev, Have sent you an email in reply, regards Doug and James

      Delete
  2. How we loved our trip down the Thames last year, we will have to cadge a lift off you one day.
    Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know you guys are always welcome! x

      Delete
  3. Jill, Matilda Rose21 May 2014 at 11:22

    Perfik

    ReplyDelete