Friday, 27 August 2010

River Wey

Here's the final instalment of Sunday's Thames trip on Indigo Dream, in which we turned off the Thames onto the River Wey.  Immediately after the turn, there's an array of possible ways to go, of which the correct one is the least likely looking.  Then it's just a short distance until you reach the stop gate.

I'd read about this, but it wasn't until I'd seen it in real life that I fully understood what was going on.  Through the gate is a reasonably sized pound, with Thames Lock just round the corner, under the bridge.  There's not enough depth to get boats over the cill into the lock, but a lockful of water let into the pound raises the water level enough.  Having spoken to the lock keeper, a little narrowbeam Dutch barge and Indigo Dream went into the stop pound.  A boat was coming down, and once they'd left the lock we went in.

The rule in Wey locks is to turn off the engine, use ropes, and leave the gates open on exit.  The lock keeper does all the work at Thames Lock, and she was quite gentle with the paddles, which is probably just as well, as they let a huge jet of water into the lock.

Next to Thames Lock is a lovely little cottage, which doubles as the lock keeper's office.  Once we'd risen in the lock, Richard went to get a Wey licence, and ask the lock keeper about moorings.  It took a little while, and we suspected that our locking companions would have already gone up in the next lock, Town Lock, which is approached across a large pool.  In fact, they'd had to turn the lock, and we arrived just at the right time.

The third Wey lock is Coxes Lock, which has a huge mill next to it.  The building has been converted into flats, and at ten storeys tall it must house a lot of people.

By this time it was beginning to rain, and by the time we got to New Haw Lock it was quite steady.  Consequently, I seem to have omitted to take its photo.  The lock has angled metal arms as balance beams, because the road bridge is too close.  It seems they've been there only a couple of weeks, replacing ropes, which by all accounts made opening the gates very hard work.

We moored up just above the lock, in front of the old working boat Fulbourne.  It was just after 8pm, and getting dark.  We'd planned to go to the pub next to the river, which has a Thai restaurant, but they don't do food on Sunday evenings so we all went to the Chinese restaurant instead.  It had been a long but very enjoyable day, with some great boating and excellent company, topped off with good food.  Adrian and I then got a taxi to Woking station, and a train back to Guildford, where my car was parked.

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