We set off at around 10 this morning, along the long straight which cuts through the old gravel pits.
The goose family were grazing on the towpath as we came past…
Still a round dozen goslings!
Just before taking the gentle right bend before Denham Deep Lock I looked back and spotted a boat in the distance, so slowed down and ambled to the lock. By the time I got it filled and opened up he was with us and pleased to be able to go straight in.
Leaving Denham Deep Lock.
There are lots of boats moored between here and West Drayton, probably taking advantage of the railway alongside.
Most are what you’d expect…
…but some throw up a surprise!
Below Uxbridge Lock we pulled on to the service wharf at Denham Marina for diesel. We don’t really need it, but we could squeeze in 60-odd litres at 56p if we had to! Considerably cheaper than we’re likely to pay on the river…
But they’d run out. Again, eh, Carol! It was due in later today, and we debated whether to hang on, but in the end chose to push on.
Reversing back onto the cut from Denham Marina.
The service wharf is on the right, the lock out of shot to the left.
More boats keep the speed down to a tickover as we head out of Uxbridge, but the slow progress gave me plenty of time to appreciate the sinuous curves of the Parexel building.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that it dates from the 1920’s and ‘30s art deco period, but in fact it was built in 1991 on the site of a railway station.
Tjalk-style Dutch barges are becoming more numerous as we approach the Thames.
Adding a fore-cabin with windows rather than portholes can be an uncomfortable compromise due to the curving shape of the hull, but this conversion gets it right by tapering the frame of the windows to match the roof and hull lines.
Cowley Lock was our last today. After filling with water we were helped down by two volunteer lockies.
“Hungry? Oh yes! If only I could walk on water…”
Below Cowley there’s a long pound. Six and a half miles to the top of the eight locks at Hanwell, and about twenty to Camden Lock on the Regents Canal.
A horse drawn packet boat ran from Paddington to Cowley in the early 19th century. Pulled by four horses it made fast progress on the lock-free pound, and had priority over other craft.
The entrance to Shackles Dock, which once served several factories, among them Scott’s Jam and Smith’s Crisps.
Today’s destination, Bull’s Bridge Junction, with the moorings outside Tesco on the right.
Room for us there, too!
We got a phone call this afternoon from Simon, the gentleman who helped me from Stone to Rugeley when Mags was convalescing from her “bit of a do”, then more recently with his partner Ros, up the Rothersthorpe Flight out of Northampton. Anyway, he'd just dropped a client off at Heathrow, only 15 minutes away, so joined us for a brew and a chat. We’re planning for them to join us for a cruise once we’re on the river. Looking forward to it, both of you!
And a hello to Trev, thanks for shuffling up a bit so we didn’t obstruct the water point. Enjoy the chair!
Locks 3, miles 8½