Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Tidal Thames

The forecast for Sunday had been less than promising, so it was no surprise to wake up to a dull, damp, day.  It was raining as we walked down to Limehouse basin, for another redezvous with Indigo Dream.  On the way to the boat, we met Halfie, preparing for the same trip as us: up the tidal Thames to Teddington and beyond.  There was a convoy of around fifteen boats setting off, and we'd be in the last locking.

As we went round to Limehouse Lock, where we picked up another couple of passengers, Bea and Henry, who'll be doing this trip on their shared boat next weekend, the sun came out.  Then it was into the lock with two other boats.  They hadn't done the trip before, and wanted to follow Indigo Dream, so we were first out onto the tideway.

The water was a little choppy, but not too bad.  It's only really when you look back and see how small narrowboats look on the river, and how they're bobbing up and down, that you realise that we must look the same.

There was plenty of boat traffic, so Richard was at the helm.  He's done this several times before.  It wasn't long before a Thames Clipper loomed up behind, although he both slowed down and waved.

Tower Bridge is the first real landmark.  To be absolutely correct, you should go through the right hand span, but as there was no traffic around, we treated ourselves to the centre span.

After that, the landmarks come thick and fast: City Hall, the Oxo Tower, the South Bank Centre, the London Eye, and the Houses of Parliament.

After Vauxhall Bridge, I took over on the helm.  There's much less commercial traffic on this part of the river, although I did still have to steer into the wash of some large boats.  It's noticeable, though, that the water is much calmer, because there's less traffic.  Soon we were passing the Battersea Power Station, and then on through Putney, Fulham, and Hammersmith.

Before long, we were at Brentford, where the other boats from our locking were leaving the Thames to join the Grand Union.

They were replaced by boats who were just joining the river from the GU, so we still had quite a convoy on our hands as we continued towards Teddington.

The next part of the journey will be in another blog post, otherwise this one will reach ludicrous proportions.

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