Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Contrasting Cruising

I spent an hour or so sprucing up the outside of the boat this morning. Brushing off the dead flies, clearing out the cratch, mopping the decks and cleaning the windows.

The side paddle wheeler I photo’d at Kingston yesterday passed, on it’s first scheduled run of the day. It was then I realised that the paddle wheels are a sham, she’s actually driven by a conventional propellor.

MV Yarmouth Belle

If you look closely you can see the prop wash under the stern.

Liberty Bell arrived at around 10:30, so we untied and chugged down to the lock.

Teddington Locks. Skiff lock on left, launch lock in the middle and the barge lock on the right.
The barge lock is 650 feet long, built to accommodate a tug and a string of barges.

Elegant suspension bridge over the weir stream.
Frankly it was a bit of an anticlimax, being on the tideway. It was pretty much like the river above the locks. No significant current, at least not at the top of the tide.

Fine views of Richmond Hill, though.
Someone’s taken over a tiny island on the edge of the channel.
There’s a boat under there somewhere!

Three bridges at Richmond. Rail, road and foot.
The foot bridge is over the half-tide weir and lock. To maintain a reasonable level upstream of here, the weir gates are closed at below half tide, and the lock must be used instead. As we’re chasing the tide down, the gates are open so we went straight through.

Richmond half-tide weir
The gated are lowered from below the bridge.
5 miles and about 55 mnutes after leaving Teddington Lock we were turning in to the cut to Thames Lock, which took us back onto BW canals.

Brentford Junction
Thames Lock, Grand Union Canal

The lock keeper brought us up the foot or so onto the canal, into the contrasting scenery of Brentford. The canal is built up to and over, claustrophobic after the wide open spaces on the river. Time for a change of gear.

Queuing at the Gauging Lock

That far, eh.
Brentford transhipment warehouses.

For the first couple of miles the canal intermittently shares it’s course with the River Brent, easing you gently into the transition. But then the first of the “proper” locks is reached, and you know for a fact that you’re back on broad canals.
Now, where did I put that windlass?

2 locks, separated by a few minutes, took us to the bottom of the Hanwell flight of 6.

Hanwell Flight
The gates are heavy, but we met a couple of boats coming down, which helped. With the assistance of Diane and Christine, we made good time.

Near the top of Hanwell

Clearing these we had another couple, spaced out again at ½ mile intervals, before reaching the long pound.

The last lock of the day, Norwood Top Lock
This pound runs to Cowley Peachey on the main line and also to Camden on the Paddington Arm. 27 miles in all.

There are some lengths given over to residential moorings, with some unusual craft tied up.

Someone must have thought it was a good idea…

Another couple of miles and we moored, breasted up, outside the large Tesco store at bulls Bridge.

Moored at Bulls Bridge

This used to be a maintenance and repair depot, but was bought and redeveloped by the supermarket chain.
Whatever your views on the change of use, it’s undeniably handy being able to moor 100 yards from a superstore. I made 2 trips to top up the cupboards.

It’s been very warm today, the hottest so far. There’s a change coming, though…

Locks 13, miles 12

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