Brentford to the Pelican Pub on the River Wey. 18.3 miles………. 9 locks.
When you know you are going to do the Thames, what do you pray for at night?
Sunshine and calm conditions, and that is exactly what we woke up to at 6am, we could not believe our luck, after the past few days of wind and rain.
So it was with a spring in our step that we made our way through the Brentford Gauging Lock which is electric and down to Thames Lock which we were booked into lock out at 8am. Now for me this is a major first in my life, cruising down the Thames, so when I say I was awe struck I really mean it. Keith however was much more laid back about it all as he and his family have cruised the Thames for many years. To use the Thames locks you must tie up in the lock and turn your engine off, so I was on the bow and Keith stayed on the stern. We locked out at 8am and turned to go up the Thames, with NB Sorted and NB Halcyondays behind us locking out at 8.15am. I was totally amazed out the sheer scale of the Thames. Yes I have seen it in photos and on TV, but I have never cruised on it. I was taken aback by the scale of the river and some of the boats. I stayed on the bow with my life jacket on, just in case we should need to put the anchor out. I got to see first hand some beautiful scenery and waterfowl. Everywhere we looked there were Herons, Great Crested Grebe, Egyptian and Canada Geese.We went through Teddington Lock and moored up with NB Sorted and NB Halcyondays to go and pay for our licence, not only did we have to pay for a 15 day licence, we also had to pay for the coal we were carrying which was another £50 on top (Ouch). Still it would all be worth it. I did sell two bags of coal, so that made up for the toll on cargo he he. We said goodbye to our fellow boaters and had not gone more than half a mile, when we were flagged down by another boater on a large boat, which looked like it was in need of some TLC, the gentlemen on board asked if we could give them a tow as they had run aground. So it was Hadar to the rescue dah dah dah LOL. Keith secured their stern rope to our stern and put Hadar into reverse whilst they did the same with their boat, and hey presto it pulled their boat off of the mud. With a cheery thank you from them, we said fair well and set off once more. Being it is half-term this week there were a lot of kids out in boats with local boat clubs, learning how to sail. Catch them young that’s what I say. There were also a lot of pleasure boaters out in their gin palaces and on trip boats.But it all added to the enjoyment. It was really lovely not having to do the locks, a kind lock keeper did all the work, although it is hardly work, they just press a few buttons. One lock keeper we almost put to sleep with the thump, thump of Hadar’s engine. He reckoned he could nod off to her engine quite easily.We ate lunch on the move and enjoyed watching the gongoozlers taking photos of Hadar. It was almost as if they had never seen a working boat before. We had thought about stopping at Hampton Court Palace, but as it was still early in the afternoon, we thought we would carry on to the River Wey. Not only that with it being half-term the place would be very busy. So we will do it another time. The weather had now decided to turn from a glorious day into one where rain began to fall, at first it was light but it soon turned heavy, so no photos at this point. We arrived at the fork, River Wey to the left and Shepperton lock straight on, so we turned onto the River Wey to be met with a very angry weir coming from the Thames. Keith’s words were “This should be fun” and it was. Keith revered Hadar’s engine into life and she ploughed through the turbulent water, sliding as she went but making it seem pretty easy. Oh deep joy at having a powerful engine. We arrived at the first lock on the River Wey and met the lock keeper Dave, Keith did the necessary paperwork and we were on our way. The River Wey and Godalming Navigation was built in 1653, it was built 100 years before Canal Age. It runs for 15 1/2 miles from the Thames at Weybridge. The Godalming Navigation, opened in 1764 and runs a further 4 miles to Godalming. We only did one further lock before mooring up outside The Pelican Pub, where we had a nice evening meal, before settling in for the night. It had been a long day but a very enjoyable one.
Friday 30th May.
Pelican Pub to Dapdune Wharf, Guilford. 13 miles….. 8 locks.
8.50am we set off from the pub on a dull but dry morning. It looked like we would be in for a nice day weather wise. So we would be doing the River Wey Navigation to Guilford and it was certainly beautiful. At the first lock we were greeted by a fantastic mill, which is now apartments in a beautiful position. The only drawback is the sewage treatment yard next door.The lock gates are easy enough; it is just the winding of the paddles which is hard work. When we signed Hadar in with the National Trust who owns the navigation, they gave us a long handled windlass to operate the paddles. The problem I have is I only have short arms and you have to operate some of the locks leaning over the canal, so it can be a little precarious. Another thing you are told by the lock keeper when you set out, is you do not need to shut the gates. You are supposed to tie up in the locks and turn your engine off. When opening the paddles you have to do it really slowly because the force of the water is incredible.
We pasted the Basingstoke Canal junction as we carried on with our journey; there were a few other boats on the move in the opposite direction. But sadly there was only one lock in our favour through the day.
We noticed that the banks are full of bamboo, what they are missing are the panda’s LOL. There is also a lot of rhododendron, which are now out in bloom. A bit of colour in a lot of green.The Wey is beautiful and gives some stunning views along the way, it also gives you some very tight turns as well, one of which has an under current making it very difficult to enter the lock. Keith did struggle with that, but managed to manoeuvre Hadar into the lock chamber.
We finally moored up at the Dapdune Wharf at 3.50pm and were immediately into conversations with visitors to the Wharf, one family coming from Hamburg. Keith checked in with the Wharf Warden to make sure it was ok to stay, which it was and we sorted ourselves out with dinner. I spent the evening cleaning the boats brass and now I am sitting here typing this before bedtime.
Wildlife we saw today.
Swans and young.
Mallards and young.
Swans and young.
Mallards and young.