About Me

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After thirty years of hiring, I finally bought my own 50ft boat in 2005, which was built in 2001 by Andicraft at Debdale Wharf. I mostly cruise single handed and have no problem with that, although it does take a little longer than with a crew. My mooring is on the Wey Navigation, so I have a choice of routes on the Wey or the Thames.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Grand Canal Tour 2014. Up The Tideway.

We locked out of Limehouse at 9.30 am on the Monday with two other boats, one of which was Guelrose captained by my NBT mate Mike Moorse and Jenny, his No.1. I was about to call London VTS to inform them of my departure, but Mr P. E. Chilvers (no Christian name!) on Kandahar, who was a mine of information this weekend even if you didn’t want to know, informed me that it was no longer necessary. I have to admit, it had been about five years since last doing this trip, which can be done to Brentford in about 3 hours. Whereas, the route through the Regents Canal and Paddington Arms takes about two days. The wind had dropped from 17mph the previous day to about 10mph, but the water was still a little choppy outside the lock. Kandahar of course, led the flotilla........who else but Rear Admiral Chilvers?

All went well through Tower Bridge and all the other 24 that we were to pass under. We were keeping a good lookout fore and aft, because these powerful tugs pulling a pair of barges can certainly catch up with a narrow boat very quickly and catch you unawares with their wash.

I have on board booklets from the Limehouse lock keeper denoting all the bridges upstream in order and downstream in order, so you can keep track of where you are. I am not sure if they still issue these at Limehouse, but they are very useful to have.

We turned into Brentford Lock once again for me within two weeks and this time the tide was not so high and we got under the High Street Bridge with ease and moored above the gauging locks. Barry then admitted that he had had some doubts about doing the tideway on a narrow boat, although he had done it previously on a ‘proper’ boat.

Barry left us then to tackle the Hanwell flight on our own the following day, but even that was easier with Terry lock wheeling than me trying to do it solo.

Terry and I went off to O’Brians pub for beer and a meal, which is always good for a hearty feast. We managed to get to The Brewery Tap as well, where there is normally home grown music most nights and very much a locals pub.

We tackled Hanwell the following day without incident and moored for the night just through Cowley Lock on the right. It appeared later that we were on a lockable mooring as the towpath was on the other side. Anyway, no one complained  so off we went to The Malt Shovel for food and well deserved beer. I have been past this pub so many times and have never been inside, which is strange, as it is right on the lock side. It is far larger than expected and is a Vintage Inn, so looks much older than it really is. Although there were two beer pumps off, Doombar was on! The meal was very acceptable and it looked like things have improved over the years in Vintage Inns. At one time, I refused to eat in one..

Terry was due to leave next day and we were only a mile or so to where he could catch a bus to Victoria, so we cruised to a mooring opposite Uxbridge Boat Centre, where I wanted to fuel up. Just for a change we had wall to wall sunshine and things were looking up on the forecast.
No pics taken by me on the Thames, having done it all before. However there are some on No Problems blog here:- http://noproblem.org.uk/blog/river-thames-limehouse-to-teddington/. I am sure sue and Vic will not mind me doing that. Better ask first though!


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