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Tours 2000, BCN, Severn Estuary, K&A and River Wey

41 - Wednesday 9th August - Teddington to Harefield Marina. River Thames and Grand Union Canal.

Weather - Hot and sticky, overcast in morning

We left Teddington Visitor Moorings at 8.35. The narrowboat in front, who had braved the wasp nest, was going to Limehouse, still did not want to leave early with us, strange! Neil had been told that Richmond Weir should be down at 8.40, though it may be later as the tide had been "late". It was virtually Neaps anyways. Left Teddington Small Lock at 8.55, with Lock Keeper still muttering about us going too early. The new waiting posts / rails and steps for the Barge Lock were nearly complete. We trickled down to Richmond and started to feel the incoming tide just before the bridge. Richmond Weir was indeed down, and we passed the only other boat we saw moving on the river, not soon after. Neil went fairly down stream from Brentford Gut, to turn, sending Linda into paralysis, when he said we were booked in at Limehouse! Shot up Brentford Gut, having just passed a narrowboat leaving for Limehouse (we would have had perfect timing to go to Limehouse!)
 Neil is horrified at the  approach to Brentford Thames Locks! (10.20) what has happened!!!! What has happened indeed! the locks have all been painted up, there are BW "Welcome to Brentford" signs up, The beaming lock keeper has a smart BW shirt on, there are flower baskets EVERYWHERE (including on the footbridge and along the weir barrier above!), There was a post card rack out (actually it was full of free leaflets, telling boaters about the wonders of London Waterways, the Southern GU and BRENTFORD!) Neil can't stop laughing! even the lock keeper joins in! He said it was all due to the approaching re-development of the area, Neil enquires about shed demolition in the basin. Apparently it was still mostly untouched. The lock keeper warns about a new influx of weed in the basin and on the River Brent section. He can not understand it. The EA were conducting tests to find if there was something in the water. Cranked ourselves through the Gauging Locks as is now the norm. The weed was indeed worse than we have ever seen it, but it came off the prop with a few blasts of reverse. A bloke was indeed seen sampling the water, just below the Gauging Locks. The Basin was indeed still virtually untouched. 
Coming out of the Basin the HUGE new office complex, going up on the old Trico site was found to be the new Galxo Smith Kline headquarters (so Stockley Park lost out!) The new weed problem, stops at Hanwell Locks. We go up the flight, not meeting another boat until Norwood Top Lock (13.10). Just before the next bridge there is a minor riot going on. Things are seen flying over and into the cut. Neil battens down the hatches, goes on "Red" alert and increases speed. As we pass the flying objects stop! It is a sad case of internal squabbles! A bunch of Somalis (Linda can now recognise them) were being attacked by some Asian youths and their mother! We wave hello! and speed off. Things start flying around again, we were sure they were coconuts! 
After this Neil starts an early "put the boat to bed" attack. The big fenders are removed, the decent ropes removed and the floors swept and washed. The gang plank and all exterior stuff comes inside and hunt the rear cover game was started (It was found under the fixed double, on the top of the bog tank!) After Neil has done all he can, Linda takes over to pack up. We pull into Harefield Marina at 17.00 and at 17.15 we are in our mooring spot. There were a few well wishers out wondering if we had "done it". YES! was the now usual answer. It took ages to even moor up, all Neil's bit of junk rope, left on the mooring posts have been nicked. There was THREE trips required to get all the basic stuff home and there was still a load of mostly junk left on board!


Teddington Locks. Barge lock to right. River Thames.

Approaching Richmond. Star and Garter home is the large building on the right. Tidal River Thames.

Richmond Bridge. Tidal River Thames.

Richmond Railway Bridge and Twickenham Bridge beyond. Tidal River Thames.

Richmond Half tide lock and weir. Tidal River Thames.

Richmond Half tide lock and weir. Tidal River Thames.

"Brentford Towers". Tidal River Thames.

We have turned downstream and are heading up Brentford Gut. Tidal River Thames.

The sad remains of the old EC Jones shipyard. Tidal Brentford Gut.

Tarted up Thames Locks! Tidal Brentford Gut.

Tarted up Thames Locks! Flower pots everywhere! Brentford. Grand Union Canal.

Tarted up Thames Locks! Brentford. Grand Union Canal.

Brentford Road Bridge. Grand Union Canal, Semi tidal River Brent.

Gauging Locks, Brentford. Grand Union Canal. Semi tidal River Brent.

The new Galxo Smith Kline headquarters. Grand Union Canal, River Brent.

The Tour has ended.
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