Lived onboard Hadar

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Dapdune Wharf to Above Shepperton Lock.

Monday 2nd June.

Dapdune Wharf to The Anchor Pub, Pyrford. 9.8 miles and 6 locks.

Last night we went to the cinema and saw the new Indiana Jones movie and we thought it was brilliant. We both liked the way it incorporated some of the other Indiana movies into it, so you knew the other characters already, well worth seeing but that is just our point of view.
As we woke up we could hear a sprinkling of rain on the boats roof, but it came to nothing much, just a few spots.
We were already for the off at 9.30am and tried to leave the Dapdune Wharf mooring, but Hadar was stuck fast. It appeared that the level of water had dropped over night and we were on silt. But with the help of two guys working on the renovation of one of the River Wey Barges we managed to push and pole Hadar into the flow of the river and we were off. Thanks guys for your help it was much appreciated. If you’re ever in this neck of the woods you really should call in and see the wharf and the exhibits, it really helps you understand the history of the place and the barges. You can also take a boat trip out on one of their trip boats for 35 minutes. If your going to stay overnight on your boat, it is a really safe place to moor. We past by what must have been an old mill in the past, but is now the home of the Surrey Advertiser. It is a good use of an old building.I bet that place alone could tell a few stories. Let alone the ones that are being told through the paper these days.
In a field right next to the river, there were a field of pygmy goats; these two were having fun on an old log. They looked like they were practicing for gladiators. A first for this trip was the chance to share a lock with another Narrowboat. Two were already coming up through Papercourt lock, and we would share the lock with NB Wingingit going down. A nice young couple and their young daughter out for a few days using their parent’s boat.As with all the pretty lock cottages on this navigation, the National Trust has plagues on the buildings explaining what part they played in the navigations history, which I think is a fabulous idea, and something BW should take onboard. It is so important to keep this countries history to the fore and this is a good way of doing it.
After leaving the lock we then pasted Newark Priory, or should I say the remains of the priory. Before entering Newark Lock.Newark Augustinian Priory was built out of flint in the 12th-C, it stand in a buttercup filled meadow by the river and is really beautiful. You cannot however get to the walls from the navigation. I took the opportunity to make us some lunch whilst on the move.
We then passed NB Foxglove, which we know quite well as she was built by Roger Fuller a couple of boats before us and we saw her in her final stages of finishing off. It was lovely to see her again.The navigation then passes Pyrford Place, with its lovely Elizabethan Summerhouse with a pagoda roof.It was here that John Donne, Poet and Dean of St Paul’s, lived from 1600 till 1604. We then passed through Walsham Flood Gates which were open now that the river was at a normal level. This is the last remaining turf sided lock on the navigation.
Our last lock of the day was Pyrford lock above The Anchor Pub and our mooring for the night. There were plenty of people sitting outside the pub with their cameras poised as we exited the lock. NB Wingingit did not join us on the decent; they moored above the lock and only came down later. We moored up and it was a chance to get the jobs done at the beginning of the month. At the start of each month we like to do boat checks and get the grease pot and oil can out. Keith went around oiling the door hinges and then greased all the grease nipples on the propshaft and checked the gearbox oil. We make it the start of the month, then it is always something we remember to do. After all a boat will not look after itself. Tomorrow we will leave the River Wey and go back onto the Thames. It has been a lovely visit to this beautiful navigation. The National Trust is certainly making sure it is well looked after. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone we have met on this trip; it has been an experience which we will repeat again one day no doubt.

Tuesday 3rd June.

The Anchor Pub to above Shepperton Lock, 6.7 miles and 5 locks.
Oh what a morning we woke up to. During the night we had heavy rain fall and it was still the same as we got up this morning. I had been woken up at 4.30am by Marmite playing with her ball with a bell in it. She obviously thought it was time to get up. Having got up and put the ball away, Marmite then settled down at the end of the bed on my fleece jumper. So Keith and I eventually got up at 8.30am. We decided we would sit the heavy rain out before setting off to exit the River Wey and get back onto the Thames again. That did not happen until 11.45am once the rain had stopped and we saw a glimmer of hope for a dry run.
The run back to Thames Lock was uneventful, and even though the weather was overcast, the River Wey and surrounding countryside was still looking fabulous. We arrived at Thames Lock for 1.45pm and waited for the lock keeper to arrive, he was on his dinner break. Keith in the meantime walked down to see if he could see how fast the weir was running out onto the River Thames, because when we came up last Thursday it was running very fast and gave us a roller coaster of a ride to get onto the river. Unfortunately he could not get far enough down on the towpath to see, so it would a suck it and see moment.The lock keeper arrived, just as the rain began to fall again, this time it was the drizzly stuff, you know the drizzle that gets you wetter than proper rain. We manoeuvred Hadar into the lock, tying up allowing the lock keeper to work the paddles for us, Keith on the stern and me on the bow. We then left the lock, said goodbye to the lock keeper and carried on towards the weir and Shepperton lock. As we approached the weir, Fire and Rescue were carrying out manoeuvres and there was a fireman actually swimming across the navigation and through the weir. I thought they maybe useful if we do not make this crossing successfully. The weir itself looked very mean and unforgiving, causing a very strong flow across the navigation. But not being faint hearted we went for it with me still on the bow, holding on for dear life to the fireman’s hose over the sheeting. Keith wound Hadar up and ploughed through the water. The sheer force of the water was pushing us over to the bank and some concrete steps were looming fast. Tiller over full Keith managed to get Hadar under control and we slide around the bend and back onto the Thames. On approaching Shepperton Lock, the lock keeper opened the gates and let us in along with two other boats which had come from Hampton Court. Once again we tied up in the lock and turned the engine off, whilst the lock keeper opened the paddles and let the water in. Once out of the lock it was clear there was a strong flow on the Thames and it would be hard going, especially with the wind and rain, soon after though we found a mooring place past Pharaohs Island and decided to stop for the day it was now 2.50pm.
So not a long day but an exciting one, the weir coming out off the River Wey is certainly not for anyone to tackle if they do not know what they are doing. Thankfully Keith has had many years of boating experience on and off of the Thames. It would normally be fine but due to all the rain we have had lately it is running really fast, with copious amounts of water being thrown out of it by the minute.

2 comments:

Jay said...

Gosh, a couple of sticky moments there! I usually think I'd love to be living on a narrowboat .. then I read something like the Thames lock episode and think 'maybe not!' LOL!

The pygmy goats are very sweet!

Keith & Jo said...

Hi Jay.
it is those sticky moments that make living aboard an exciting prospect. There is never a dull moment for us hahaha.
BUT it would not suit everyone thank goodness. We are now stuck with the Thames so high, the flow is to fast for us to go anywhere.
Oh well thats life hehehe.

Jo