Thursday, 7 August 2008

Teddington to Brentford run

Moored at Hampton Court outside the Palace
You can just see us behind the white gas guzzler!

Wednesday morning I took a gentle stroll around the free grounds of Hampton Court Palace. At one point I managed to tag myself onto the end of a guided tour to pick up some pearls of wisdom!.. One of which was that the huge bundles in this tree below were mistletoe.

On my return we took a gentle cruise down to Kingston to be slightly closer for the trip to Teddington on Thursday. We managed to moor just upstream of Kingston bridge.
Geoff went off to do his customary exploring to town and reported that it was a fantastic shopping centre. He also visited his old school, Kingston Grammar School. He said it hadn't changed a bit...the "new" science block was now 50 years old. I spent a very relaxing afternoon just sitting in the cratch with my crosswords etc and watching the world go by on the river.......far better than crowded shopping centres!
Moored Kingston (Middle Boat)
Kingston Shopping Centre
Thursday morning we departed at 0615. We had been told by the lock-keeper at Teddington to be there at 0730 as High Tide was then and that is when you are let through. However on talking to another boat they had been told to be there at 7 as we could be let out at 0720 so we decided to go early. We were not at all sure about this Tidal bit, never having done it before. The boat I had struck up a conversation with was called DRECKLY which provided the obvious opening. It turned out that the lady on board had indeed been born and brought up in Cornwall.
Departing Kingston
En route to Teddington we saw several interesting sights. The house below certainly made it difficult for their window cleaners!

The work barge below fascinated me with it's own portaloo aboard.

Church with old tower and modern additions.

A houseboat?

Strange live aboard boat


The houses we passed were quite varied, most of which we decided we couldn't afford!

Suburbia on the water

We reached Teddington just about 6.45 and went into the lock straight away and joined several other narrowboats. Thinking we would not be let through until 7.30 I fed Ellie and got her ready to go ashore whilst we waited. However on coming up top again I discovered we were already going down. She would have to be patient. We were then let out about 7.

Approaching Teddington

Gaggle of Narrowboats on the Tidal stretch

Garages flooded at top of tide

We passed these garages partly underwater at the top of the tide. This on a day when the river was not particularly high. I am not sure I would want to live somewhere like that.

The trip down to Brentford was interesting and completely uneventful. Admittedly it was a lovely morning(despite the forecast to the contrary). Father Thames showed us a gentle face and we didn't even notice the Richmond Flood Sluices. Since we were in company with several other narrowboats we just followed the crowd. Most were going to Brentford, only one was continuing down to Limehouse. We had invested in a VHF radio since it is now obligatory for all vessels over 45ft to carry one on the Tidal Thames, we tuned into CH14. However no one asked if we had one. We shall see what happens when we come to do the longer run from Limehouse back to Brentford, which will be in about 3 weeks time.

We followed everyone into the mouth of the Grand Union at Brentford and went up in the second load. Back to smaller locks again.

We then continued up to the Brentford Gauging Locks. The stretch between the two is semi tidal and there is a very low bridge just before the gauging locks which can be problematical. However the tide had dropped sufficiently by then and we passed through easily.

Brentford Gauging Locks

We moored just around the corner as all facilities were there. The intention had been to continue up the canal but it was quite pleasant there and we decided to stay the day. Geoff went off to do his customary explore. One of the boats we had come down with was Roman Lady with David & Jenny aboard and we arranged to join forces for the 10 locks up to Bulls Corner the following morning. This make life so much easier when there are two of us in the lock. They had had their boat for 20 years (makes us seem like real novices) and had first come through here then. They said how very different it was then, the new flats opposite which we were moored had just been derelict land. The present facilities had not been there and these were quite good now. At least they had the potential to be....there were washing machines (both out of order), showers, loos, elsan disposal and pump-out(out of order). The head lock-keeper was very helpful and full of good advice on the following 10 locks and timings for the Limehouse run etc.

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