Sunday, 22 April 2012

Riding the Thames through London

It has been a few days since our last posting.  We have been distracted by visitors and for a few days my connection to the internet was not working properly.

We enjoyed our stay of two nights on the Slough Arm of the Grand Union and one afternoon we took the Bromptons out and rode to the Thames at Eton.  Here we are on the bridge over the Thames looking at where we will be in a few days time:

On the bridge between Windsor and Eton
We enjoyed a quiet return trip using part of the Jubilee River bike trail and just caught the end of one of the many April showers we've had lately.

The following day we met up with David and Victoria when their boat Pas Mèche finally came down the Grand Union Canal towards us.  We had walked up the canal expecting to see them very soon, but had walked around 3 miles before we saw them coming towards us just on the edge of Uxbridge.  Since then we have been travelling together first along the Paddington Arm spending two nights in Paddington Basin just behind the station of the same name.  Lucy came to join us for a few days and we enjoyed a walk in Hyde Park and then a meal with another welcome visitor, Angela, our niece.  Working the two boats through the locks together makes life much easier and we had an enjoyable day following the Regent's Canal down through Camden and Islington to Limehouse Basin meeting Ian's sister, Ruth and husband Peter on the way.  The canal at one point goes right through the middle of London Zoo passing the Snowdon aviary.  It also goes through two tunnels - the first we have been through with Leo.

From Limehouse Basin we had booked our passage out through Limehouse Lock onto the tidal Thames about a mile and a half downstream of Tower Bridge.  This was the scary bit of the journey that we had been both fearing and looking forward to.  The first part was really choppy and, after first wondering if the boats were going to be swamped and sink we became more confident of how they were riding the waves, largely created by passing Clippers and other fast steamers.  Here is a shot of us approaching Tower Bridge and one of the waves washing over the bow of Leo.

Tower Bridge
Look at the waves!

I'm pleased to say that things calmed down after this and we really began to enjoy the ride travelling at speeds unheard of in a narrowboat by virtue of the strength of the tide.  Tonight we are moored just above Kingston Bridge safely onto non-tidal waters once more.

Our plans from here are to carry on up the Thames for the next week or more.  We'll keep you posted.

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