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Tours 2000, The Lee and Stort October Trip

1 - Harefield Marina to Islington. Grand Union Canal, Paddington Arm and Regent's Canal.

Friday 20th October

Weather - Nice morning, at the time we shove off, very dark and constant rain starts!

Neil spent morning readying Earnest for week Lee and Stort trip, Neil has not been to the boat for weeks. This will be a first for Earnest as we have not been beyond Little Venice in it, due to duff Mikuni boiler last New Year. The first thing that was checked was the boiler. Worked faultlessly all day. Had the normal hour water tank fill up. Did all the 101 other things we have to do before going away on family trip, cats to two places, hamster to Linda's old dears, Parrot into boating cage (unlike other animals it knows it is going away and gets excited, lots of "slow down" screeching!) Linda is not well, as she has had horrible allergic reaction to something (might be MORE fleas at the bloody Hillingdon Civic Centre!) She spent all day going to doctor's / chemist / Hospital for blood test. It was decided, when she got back at 15.00, that we would still go off tonight, but she would have to lay down a lot! Neil went back to boat with all stuff and Linda picked up kids from school. We actually did get off at 16.05. The rain got worse and by 17.30 it was as good as night. Fair amount of traffic, as we have often found this time of the year as a lot of final cruising / boat positioning being done before stoppages. Got out of Cowley Lock at 18.00. When we were finally free of all the Cowley residential moorings Neil opened up Earnest and we ploughed on in the dark. Eventually got to Bull's Bridge Tesco's at the same time as another boat coming up from Brentford. They got the last mooring with rings. Neil was undeterred, so used sledgy and old big pins to go through some of the bloody pavoirs. (As many of you know, since our Dudley Tunnel Ballasting farce, Neil has a dislike of these items!) Eventually very secure at 20.00. Went straight into Tesco's cafe and all had one of the dishes of the day (special offer, two for 3.75 GBP!) Very edible, well if you have just sat at the tiller for solid 4 cold, wet hours, anything was nice. Did shopping. Neil spotted junk trolley. Had some nice looking raspberry lattice pies for 25p - today was expiry date. Bought two. Stocked up beer and wine supplies as well. Got all food to under road bridge over the "non working example of a dry dock". Absolutely tipping it down now. Did quick human chain to dump stuff under cratch cover. Neil still hungry, so had entire raspberry tart! Every one retired very early, to the satisfying sound of lashing rain, as we were finally snug and warm and were not about to go on a river the next day!

Saturday 21st October

Dull all day, occasional fine drizzle in morning.

Linda feeling a bit better, so she starts off at 9.05. Still a fair bit of traffic. Three (4?) Adelaide Marine hire boats have gone off down the Paddington Arm in front of us. By past experience, these will soon be far ahead! There was one wide beamer, one narrowboat and the 50ft pair Albert and Victoria. Neil stays in bed until 10.00 (Greenford) as his back is not too hot after yesterday's cold damp steering. Many boats moored by the refurbished Black Horse in Greenford, we have not checked this out yet. Uneventful trip to Little Venice. Virtually all the moorings taken  before the pool, about four boats  before the footbridge. The Autumn colours are just about out on the trees and it looks quite picturesque up to Maida Vale Tunnel. All of the "lock in" Camden visitor moorings taken. Most of the boats seem to be there for the "sorry we can't move due to the stoppages" winter duration. We moor just above Camden Market / Hamstead Road Locks for lunch (13.35 - 14.25). We all have a quick wander around the packed market, but do not buy anything. Much gongoozling around the locks, a couple of burley blokes help the fragile Linda with gates. Soon through the locks. We get a couple of handful of path gravel chucked at us by Elm Park Village, from a couple of kids hiding behind wall. Not a serious attempt. At St Pancras lock we notice the new covered dry dock and the nearly re-furbished lock cottage. This attractive single storied cottage was for many years boarded up, with fake windows painted on the window boards. It is nearly finished being re-furbished into an attractive dwelling again. We stop for the night at the lock-in Islington visitor moorings, just the other side of Islington Tunnel. That night we wander off to Islington High Road for a meal in Cafe Uno.

Little Venice, approaching Maida Hill Tunnel. Regent's Canal.

Maida Hill Tunnel. Regent's Canal.

Looking back at Lisson Grove Bridge. Regent's Canal.

Residential moorings after Lisson Grove. Regent's Canal.

Going through Regent's Park. Regent's Canal.

Macclesfield Road Bridge. AKA "Blow Up Bridge". Regent's Canal.

We pass Waterbus Perseus. Regent's Canal.

Prince Albert Road Bridge, where the Regent's Canal does a sharp sweep away from the park. 

Oval Road Bridge. Pirate Castle watersports centre beside. Regent's Canal.

Waterbus Gardenia is just mooring up in Camden Market. Just above Hampstead Road Locks, the only paired ones still left on the Regent's Canal.

Earnest moored up for lunch, just above Hampstead Road Locks. Regent's Canal.

Hampstead Road Locks. Regent's Canal.

Looking up from Hampstead Road Locks. Regent's Canal.

Waterbus Gardenia in Camden Market dock.

Looking back at Hawley Lock. Regent's Canal.

Approaching Kentish Town Road Lock. Regent's Canal.

Old wharf buildings exposed by development. Regent's Canal.

Regent's Canal.

We have just had a spray of yob stones, while passing Elm Park "Village"! Regent's Canal.

St Pancras Lock. St Pancras Cruising Club house to left. Regent's Canal.

St Pancras Lock. The lock cottage has finally been saved from it's derelict condition. Regent's Canal.

St Pancras Lock. Linda waits above. Regent's Canal.

St Pancras Lock. Regent's Canal.

The old railway buildings have been refurbished!! Below St Pancras Lock.  Regent's Canal.

Residential moorings before Somers Bridge. Regent's Canal.

Battlebridge Basin. Regent's Canal.

Caledonian Road and Islington Tunnel in distance. Regent's Canal.

Islington Tunnel. Regent's Canal.

Islington Tunnel. Regent's Canal.

The peaceful Islington Visitor Moorings. Regent's Canal.

City Road Lock. Regent's Canal.

City Road Lock. Regent's Canal.

Looking up at City Road Lock. Regent's Canal.

The tour continues.....

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