|Min, John, Angela and Liana at Old Ford Lock, East London|
Monday, 14 October 2019
September 13 down the Tidal Thames to Brentford and the London Ring
Friday September 13 - 21 from Shepperton through Teddington Lock and down the tidal Thames to Brentford (16 miles, 6 locks)
We woke at 0900 to bright sunshine, so walked Honeypie across the park to Shepperton high street and had good coffee and pain au raisin again at Mocha D. Saying farewell to the two chaps on NB Clara (one had lived on her for 34 years), we motored steadily downriver, enjoying the sun with John taking photos of interesting scenes, houses, boats, etc. We soon reached Sunbury Lock, behind a widebeam which overtook us as we approached the lock. They moored and the lady waved John on, he thought – he was wrong! She had words with Liana. They were clearly in a hurry! She gave the lock keeper a mouthful too, he told me.
There were lots of craft of all types on the river, including workboats and tugs towing cranes. John had to keep a careful eye on things. We caught up with the widebeam at Molesey Lock, after which it zoomed off again. We passed the imposing Mississippi Paddle Steamer at Hampton Court. Thames Ditton and Kingston upon Thames passed by, with John choosing which side of the various islands to travel. At Kingston the Mississippi paddle steamer passed us and the widebeam went through the town bridge and turned 180 degrees upriver again ….. not sure why they were rushing earlier!
Reaching Teddington about 2pm, we checked in with the lock keepers (High Tide 3.30 so leave at 3pm), then walked to the nearby Anglers pub and had beer / coffee.
We locked down with a widebeam hotelboat and cruiser, and John soon passed a tug hauling a floating crane. There were plenty of small boats, canoes, paddle boats, cruisers and trip boats about, plus long row boats being craned into the water at NT Ham House, Twickenham, for a weekend boat race. The huge imposing red brick building at Richmond is the Star & Garter Home for injured service personnel.
After Twickenham Bridge, Richmond Lock was being worked on. It is VERY unusual, as there are three arches beside the lock, which have sluices across to raise the water level of the river between Richmond and Teddington – except 2 hours before and after high tide, when they are raised high above, so we were able to pass through the arch beside the lock (on the right going downstream, which seemed correct). The arches have two orange lights glowing when sluices are raised.
Isleworth has another huge island. Syon House is a NT mansion on the left as you approach Brentford.
John couldn't contact Brentford Lock using two numbers supplied, so passed Brentford Marina and turned sharply into the lock cut, which is barely a trickle at low tide, but deep now. The lock keeper spotted us and opened the gates as we approached. We were soon up the second electrically operated lock (using a CRT key) and moored in the basin. John sorted the boat, watered the flowers and emptied loo holding tanks while Liana prepared a tasty pasta Bolognese, and the girls on the boat next door squealed as they messed about! Liana chatted to newly returned daughter Jo, and later to her mum Flo – all well with them both, happily.
Saturday 14 September Brentford to Bulls Bridge (6 miles, 10 locks)
Sunday 15 September Bulls Bridge to Alperton (7 miles, 0 locks)
Monday 16 September Alperton to near Victoria Park (10 miles, 6 locks)
Tuesday 17 September stopped above Mile End Lock (2 miles, 2 locks)
Wednesday 18 September Mile End to Limehouse and up the Thames to Kingston (25 miles, 7 locks)
mile end to Limehouse and Thames (1.5 miles, 5 locks)
Limehouse to Brentford 17 miles 0 locks
Brentford to Kingston 7 miles 2 locks
Thursday 19 September Kingston to Laleham (11 miles, 4 locks)
Friday 20 September Laleham to Teddington (13 miles, 4 locks)
We moored just before the charged moorings, against a good concrete and grass riverside, using pins.
Saturday 21 September Teddington to Brentford (5 miles, 4 locks)
We had an early start at 0615, to catch the 0700 ebb tide from Teddington! Richmond Lock was bypassed again, as the sluices are raised for two hours each side of high tide there)
By 0830 we were through Brentford Thames Lock and passing through the Gauging Lock into the basin, where we used the services and moored under the historic shed roof (which was missing!). It took an hour to sort the boat out before all four of us took the train into Waterloo, the tube to Paddington, then train to Oxford. There, we walked to Norman's car at a friend's house, and drove to Leicester to our own car and daughter Sarah, who made us a delicious tea of Dim Sum, which was an interesting and tasty new experience.