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Tour 2003

Index

38 - Beale Park to Harefield Marina. River Thames, Tidal Thames to Limehouse, Limehouse Cut, River Lea Navigation, Bow Back Rivers Loop, River Lea, Hertford Union Canal, Regent's Canal, Paddington Basin, Paddington Arm and Grand Union Canal.

Monday 25th August 2003

The final crew change was at the National Waterways Festival, Tina and Bill departed and Brian and Anne Goggin arrived by fly / rail from Dublin. Martin Clark had to be chained up, as he was getting homesick!!! 
We were booked out of the Festival for a 15:00 locking at Whitchurch Lock, seeing as it was quiet on the river we left early at 14:10. We had to wait for one lockfull to go down, then just got in the second lockfull. Having shaken off the slower narrowboats we had a pleasant trip down to Reading. 
A fair queue at Caversham Lock, but after about half an hour wait we were through, onto a fairly quiet river. We met Anne Coleman on NB Vital Spark above, but she went off up the Kennet and Avon Canal, along with another narrowboat. 
Through Sonning, Shiplake and Marsh Locks we kept up with a medium sized cruiser, just making Marsh Lock before the keeper knocked off for the night. Seeing as it was late and we were shoving off early the next morning we moored above the Town on the 14 quid for 9M!!! Town Moorings expecting to get away without paying, which proved to be true. 
On the walk into town, we checked out the handy railway station, seeing as Anne had to get off early in the morning, to get back for work in the afternoon! Brian treated us all to a nice meal in the Eat As Much as you like Chinese restaurant, not bad value - 13.80 quid per head.

Tuesday 26th August 2003

Anne was getting the 06:42 train to Reading, so we managed a 06:30 start. We caught up with a medium sized cruiser - "Silver Bream" at Hambledon Lock (power left on 2 hours each side of lockies working hours), so had a quick passage through. We kept up with Silver Bream through Hurley and Temple Locks, which we cranked probably quicker than if a locky had been present. Silver Bream's crew consisted of two mum's out with the kids. After this Silver Bream moored up and we arrived at Marlow Lock at 09:00, at opening time. 
A fair queue at Boulter's Lock meant a longish engine off shuffle along the long lock waiting layby. Queue yet again at the small Bray Lock, but after this it was straight in, all the way until we stopped for the night. This was just below Shepperton Lock, on the right hand EA moorings, leading up to the River Wey Entrance at 17:40. 
That night Ed Mortimer met up with us, seeing as there was a promise of a Teddington to Limehouse and the recently dredged Bow Back Rivers Loop. We tried for food at the Old Crown, but they were not doing it that evening, so went the short walk back to "The Minnow" (This has recently become an "Inn Keeping" pub / restaurant, so will probably changed names) OK food and Tetleys / Bass. After we wandered back to the rather quiet Old Crown for a pint of Youngs.

Wednesday 27th August 2003

Seeing as it was to be an afternoon passage from Teddington to Limehouse, we set off late at 10:30, giving Martin and Brian a chance to wander up to the first pretty lock of the Wey Navigation - Thames Lock. Not much traffic about, we filled with water on the rather slow Molsey Lock waterpoint. We arrived at Teddington at 13:50, with so many narrowboats about, we had to breast up. 
About 10 narrowboats all shoved off at the same time, so the Teddington Lockies had to use the Barge Lock as well as the Old Lock. We were marginally the first out from the Old Lock (15:20). So much confusion below that Neil floored Earnest and we were soon in front of the whole heaving mass of narrowboats. 
Most turned off for Brentford (pass 16:00), while 4 carried on down to Limehouse. Below Chelsea the river got a bit lively due to the combination of the usual thrashing about trip boats (and fire rescue boat) and wind over tide. Ed and Brian stayed put in the front well deck and got rather wet at times! 
It was an 18:10 arrival at a pre booked and opened Limehouse Lock. No sign of the stragglers, so we were first up. Just as well, seeing as we got the last of the decent towpath side visitor moorings - tied up at 18:30. That night it was a few beers and a rather off hand meal at a bar overlooking the Thames - Booty's Bar, then virtually next door to the Grapes for a couple of nice pints of Adnams. Here we managed to get a couple of seats on the tiny balcony overlooking the Thames. Much boat activity, but sadly all trip boats, apart from one Thames Sailing barge that crept past.

Thursday 28th August 2003

We decided to just get to Little Venice that night, so it was a late start at 10:05. Ed had met a French lady in the hotel when he was last working the Waterbus and had invited Celine along for a rather bizarre look at the waterways of London. She also experienced the English delicacy of bacon and egg sandwich, which amazingly she seemed to enjoy! 
The projected route was: Limehouse Cut, Bottom of River Lee above Bow Lock, but taking in the Bow Back River Loop, coming back out onto the Lee just below Old Ford Lock, then Hertford Union (Duckett's) back onto the Regents Canal. Rather slow trundle down Limehouse Cut - now somewhat dredged. Bizarrely another narrowboat overtook us while passing under the last bridge before Bow Lock, glad to report that his meanderings came to grief upon the weed present at the bottom of the River Lee, something Earnest just shrugged off. 
The turning for the lower part of the loop (10:40), more correctly called St Thomas's Creek is DIRECTLY after the long and low A11 Bow Bridge. Easy passage up to the derelict City Mills Lock, where were got out and had a wander about. Evidence of earlier tidying up, complete with interpretation boards, now completely overgrown, so much so there was no evidence of yob activity. 
Off again on the deep and recently dredged City Mill River, passing under the rather low Northern Outfall Sewer. In no time at all we were at Carpenters Road Lock, where we also decanted to have a look at this strange structure, complete with rusting vertical radial gates that would have just raised high enough to get a barge under. It would appear that this structure was more designed for water control. 
Beyond here is a sharp left hand turn into the top of the loop - the Old Course of the River Lea. We had an attempt at reversing into the Pudding Mill River stub, where we got to in 2001, but soon ground to a halt with a tyre neatly fitted round the prop. Rather amusing removal of weed hatch bar - as it was unscrewed the weed hatch jumped up!
The tyre was soon dispatched, with the rudder set one way the blades were rotated out of the tyre, which was then pushed out of the side and removed with the boat hook. Soon our "New bit" was finished (11:40) and it was up the still confused electric Old Ford Lock. 
Much floaty duckweed infestation above the lock. Ducketts Cut took from 11:55 to 13:05. Celine was soon under Ed's windlass guidance experiencing those strange small English locks without keepers. No traffic up the Regent's, apart from one rather confused small workboat, complete with hapless young local volunteer crew with fenders trailing in the water. 
It was quiet at Camden Lock, not many gongoozlers. Ed, who was steering correctly predicted the exact passing timings of the Waterbuses, who were rather surprised to see one of their own hacking along in another boat! Another new experience awaited us at Little Venice, the recently re-watered Paddington Basin. 
This was now infested with many mooring pontoons (obviously all new visitor moorings HA HA!) and much new architecture. 
Rain started as we were leaving Camden Market and continued intermittently over the evening. Having checked the lack of Visitor Mooring beyond Little Venice - Brownings Pool, we decided to moor in the pool on the far bank, seeing as Ed knew Barry on NB Bilster, who was the mooring warden. That night we wandered down to Crockers Folly. This was somewhat quiet, OK meal, but limited real ale. London Pride was OK. After the meal we got roped into the pub quiz, where we did not do too well.

Friday 29th August 2003

07:40 start from Brownings Pool. The overnight rain had washed all the horrid Lime tree sap off the trees and onto Earnest, Neil spent the best part of the journey to Kensal Green with a bucket on a rope and the broom washing the boat...........well at least that would do for another year. 
Both the useless new gravel barges were laid up at West Drayton, much going on to repair the split loading compartments that had been damaged by gravel removing machine buckets. Many, many more boats moored up opposite Kensal Green cemetery. 
The rain held off in the morning and it brightened up after that. At Cowley Lock Ed recognised Dennis Suleman, on his way back up North, after the National. At Uxbridge Lock Neil and Brian jumped ship, Neil showed Brian where Uxbridge Bus station was (A10 to Heathrow) then carried on home to pick up the Passat, to meet up with Earnest as it made it's triumphal return "home" to Harefield Marina (14:45)

Click here for a link to Mike Steven's excellent Bow Back Rivers Map.

Click here for a link to Mike Steven's Bow Back Rivers page.


Exiting Limehouse (Regent's Canal) Basin along the 1960's link to Limehouse Cut.


The 1960's link to Limehouse Cut.


Limehouse Cut used to exit onto the River Thames via it's own lock, which was just to the right.


Looking back to Limehouse Basin from along the Limehouse Cut link canal.


DLR Railway Bridge and the A13 East India Dock Road Bridge. Limehouse Cut.


A13 East India Dock Road Bridge. Limehouse Cut.


The A 1205 Burdett Road Bridge. In the distance is Morris Road Bridge. Limehouse Cut.


 DLR Railway Bridge. Limehouse Cut.


Just before the A12 Bridge we overtaken by this daft bloke, who does not complete his manoeuvre, until we are under the bridge. He soon ground to a halt with weed problems. Note the new floaty towpath under the bridge. Limehouse Cut.


Looking back up Limehouse Cut.


The junction with Limehouse Cut, Bow Lock and the River Lea Navigation.


Looking back at the A12 Bridge and the floaty towpath. Limehouse Cut.


Bow Lock. Since the flood prevention works, involving raising towpath walls between the Navigation and Bow Creek, only the right hand Bow Lock is functional. River Lea Navigation.


Looking back at Bow Lock. Note the raised wall and the tidal Bow Creek to the left. River Lea Navigation.


Looking back at Three Mills. River Lea Navigation.


Approaching the A11 Bridges. River Lea Navigation.


After the A11 bridges is a sharp turn to St Thomas's Creek, the lower part of the Bow Back Rivers Loop, which we have just taken. Cooks Road Bridge


Looking back at the Lea Navigation. It is easy to follow in the duckweed our course from under the A11 Bridge. St Thomas's Creek.


Marshgate Lane Bridge. St Thomas's Creek.


The derelict City Mill Lock. St Thomas's Creek.


Looking up the tidal Waterworks River from the tail of City Mill Lock. Northern Outfall Sewer Bridge


Looking downstream from the tail of City Mills Lock. The A11 Bridge over Three Mills Wall River.


Blaker Road Bridge, over the tail of City Mill Lock.


Disused weir beside City Mills Lock, looking up at City Mill River.


Looking back from City Mill River at the junction with City Mill Lock and St Thomas's Creek.


Looking up City Mill River at the Northern Outfall Sewer Bridge.


City Mill Lock.


Blaker Road Bridge, over the tail of City Mill Lock and it's exit onto the tidal Three Mills Wall River.


City Mill Lock.


City Mill Lock detail.


Moored just below City Mill Lock. Looking back at Marshgate Lane Bridge over St Thomas's Creek.


Looking back at City Mills Lock from City Mill River. The derelict boats are signs that there was once a boatyard here.


Northern Outfall Sewer Bridge (Aqueduct?) over City Mill River.


DLR Railway Bridge. City Mill River.


Looking back at Northern Outfall Sewer Bridge. City Mill River.


City Mill River.


City Mill River.


City Mill River.


In the distance - Marshgate Lane Bridge. City Mill River.


A115 Carpenters Road Bridge over the tidal Waterworks River, from the tail of Carpenters Road Lock.


Carpenters Road Lock. The vertical radial gates are still in position.


Marshgate Lane Bridge Downstream on the tidal Waterworks River, below Carpenters Road Lock.


A115 Carpenters Road Bridge. Railway Bridge beyond. Looking upstream on the tidal Waterworks River, Carpenters Road Lock to the left.


Carpenters Road Lock.


Looking from the head of Carpenters Road Lock. Marshgate Lane Bridge to the left, over City Mill River. Old Course of the River Lea to the Right.


Carpenters Road Lock.


Carpenters Road Lock.

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Carpenters Road Lock.


Heading round the top of the Bow Back Rivers Loop - The Old River Lea.


Looking back at the junction with City Mill River. Carpenter's Road Lock to the left. The Old River Lea.


The Old Ford Flood Gates used to be here, these were in operation until the relatively modern Carpenters Road lock was built. Old River Lea


The still to be dredged Pudding Mill River - well we did get a boat length up it!


Looking back up the Old River Lea and the towpath bridge over Pudding Mill River.


Old River Lea, approaching the junction with the River Lea Navigation, below Old Ford Lock.


Old River Lea, the junction with the River Lea Navigation.


Waiting for Old Ford Lock on the River Lea Navigation. We have just come from the River Lea Old Course, under the towpath bridge.


Old Ford Lock on the River Lea Navigation. The right hand one (heading upstream) in the powered one in use..............and yes......it is still as neurotic as ever!


We have just come off the River Lea Navigation, heading up The Hertford Union Canal (AKA Duckett's) to Lower Lock.


Hertford Union Canal, Middle Lock. Top O' The Morning pub to the right.


Hertford Union Canal, Upper Lock.


Hertford Union Canal, beside Victoria Park. Skew Bridge in the distance.


Hertford Union Canal, looking back at Three Colt Bridge.


The other Old Ford lock, on the Regent's Canal.


Sturt's Lock. Regent's Canal.


Wenlock Basin. Regent's Canal.

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City Road Basin. Regent's Canal.


Looking back at the Islington Visitor Moorings from Islington Tunnel east portal. Regent's Canal.


Islington Tunnel west portal. The young lady is Celine, our French guest for the day. Regent's Canal.


The flats beside Camden Town Sainsbury's. Waiting for Camden Lock. Regent's Canal.


The Pirate Castle water sports centre above Hampstead Road Locks. Regent's Canal.


We are about to enter Brownings Pool - Little Venice. Regent's Canal.


Brownings Pool / Little Venice.


We are exiting Brownings Pool into the recently re-opened Paddington Basin (in fact it was NOT open at the time!)


A "Business Barge" and The Westway Bridge. Paddington Basin.


Bishops Bridge No 1. Paddington Basin.


The basin takes a sharp left after the office built over the cut. Paddington Station is to the right. Paddington Basin.


 Paddington Basin.


 Paddington Basin.


 Paddington Basin.


 Paddington Basin.


On our way out of Paddington Basin.


 Paddington Basin.


 Paddington Basin.


Bishops  Bridge No 1. Paddington Basin.

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