About Me

My photo
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.

Monday, 5 May 2014

The Grand Canal Tour 2014. An Early Start.

It is very rare for me to be awake at 04.30 and even to get out of bed, but the sun was shining and I wanted to take some early morning photos with no one about. So I walked down Paddington Basin and met a security guard doing his rounds there, plus a few early morning travellers going into the station.
An 05.30 view from the Horse Bridge.
All ready for the fray.
I wonder if all those air bubbles are there to keep the flotsam back? Hope that is cleared up later!

I hope they get this fixed shortly too!
After a late breakfast, Jo and Phil arrived just in time for the decorated boaters’ pageant, one of two competitions that I had entered in the Cavalcade; the other being the boat handling competition. Stronghold was only decorated with bunting, as I am not interested in winning this one, but it was a chance to charge the batteries and heat up the hot water. Some of the boats go for this event in a big way and are very successful. One boat even had a Nelsons Column erected, with a figure of Nelson on top and another had the Queen on the bow; then there was Boris on a bike on a third boat. We cruised through the Maida Hill Tunnel with no problem and then through the London Zoo and under ‘Blow Up Bridge’, where a gunpowder barge exploded some years ago and finally winded in Cumberland Basin. The return through the tunnel was not without incident, as I still had the bunting up. The sun was in my eyes as I entered the tunnel and it takes some time to get used to the darkness, consequently I got too close to the wall twice and had to stop and fend off to get back in the channel. I dropped my visitors off at the Horse Bridge, as I had to travel quite a distance to wind the boat and get back on the mooring. That was confusing, as I failed to recognise my mooring, because another passing boat had stolen my place. I contacted the Water Space manager, who arrived almost immediately and we moved the offending boat further down the line and affixed a ticket asking them to move, which they did later.

I had a walk up to the boaters' bar for a pint and met John Fevyer there briefly and offered to buy him a pint, but he was busy being in charge of Area 1 and actually refused a beer. It was not long before Adrian and Hillary turned up after their trip to Twickenham to meet up with some old friends and watch the Army v Navy rugby match. We had a few laughs and that was about the end of the day for me, having been up so early.

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