Monday, June 01, 2009

Past Kingston to Teddington

The traffic on the river quietened down by evening, so Meg could relax. We had a bit of a lie in this morning, there’s no rush to get off with only 4 miles to go to Teddington. This is the lowest lock on the Thames; below here it’s tidal.

We knew that Dave and Barbara were going to be arriving at some point. Their guests had arrived and they wanted to have a look around Hampton Court Palace being joining us tomorrow morning. So we hung around till they arrived, not long after 11.
The guests are D & B’s daughter Christine, and her Canadian friend Diane. They flew in from Canada on Saturday.

Liberty Bell crew posing outside the Palace “Golden Gates”.
We were in about the best spot, so they breasted up alongside till we moved.

On the mooring
We pulled out around 12:15, to let them get on the wharf and get on with the sightseeing.

Liberty Bell on the Hampton Court wharf.
Today’s cruise only took an hour. Steadily plodding downstream through Kingston Upon Thames. Although there weren’t that many boats about, there were plenty of people enjoying the sunshine on the riverside.

Ravens Ait is an island in midstream opposite Hampton Court Park. Until last November it was a wedding and Conference Centre, but went into administration.

Ravens Ait
A group of “eco warriers” took possession of the unoccupied island and buildings in February, much to the annoyance of the local population and the local council.
Read the Independent from 20th April here.

Then on May 1st, the “squatters” were forcibly evicted by a team of police officers, arriving under cover of darkness by inflatable.
2 differing viewpoints of the operation here (the establishment one, the Surrey Comet) and here (the eco-warriors one, ).
It’s interesting to compare the differences…..

3 different types of cruise boat on the wharf at Kingston. Paddle wheel, conventional screw, stern wheeler.
Kingston road and railway bridges.
Unusual houseboats for sale.

Details here (don’t bother looking unless you’re prepared to shell out £625,000 – for a lease!)

There are EA moorings on the small Steven’s Eyot a bit further downstream. 24 hrs free, next 48 hours £5 per day, after that £50 per day. I think that’s a non-too subtle hint!

Want to buy an island? Stay here for a couple of weeks and you might as well!
A long bend in the river took us past the sluices at Teddington, to the lock cut and the extensive moorings opposite the weir.

Teddington river sluices
I had a walk up to chat to the lock keeper, to confirm passage in the morning, and to pay for the mooring as per the signs. I said earlier that the moorings were extensive. Substitute the t for a p. £8.50 a night! The most we’ve paid all the way down the Thames, by a considerable margin. If we’d known, we’d have stopped on those riverside moorings near Kingston Bridge.

I asked about VHF radio requirements (again). I was advised to ring London VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) to get the information straight from the horses mouth.
And here it is.
If you’re travelling by narrowboat between Brentford and Teddington in either direction, there is NO requirement to have marine band VHF radio aboard. However, it is recommended that ANY vessel travelling on the tideway should have it.
So there you have it.

Meg and I had an enjoyable walk up the Thames Path to Ham House, and then back across the grounds (now a nature reserve) to the river.

Locks 0, miles 4.

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