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Saturday, 30 July 2016

River recall.

A short post tonight as I am feeling bereft, Helen has left me. Well she has gone home for a couple of days to carry out her training as a volunteer for Hull City of Culture 2017. It is getting ever closer. I did mine a couple of weeks ago and came back energised by it. As they said to us, the thing most people who went to the London Olympics are the volunteers, and yes that is very true as I did go down for a day. There has been a programme on TV recently about the build up to the Opening ceremony from the volunteers view. When you think that the organisation for that event that lasted for a month or so, not counting the training, rehearsals etc, and then think what it will be like providing volunteers for hundreds of very different events, large and small, over a whole year it will be a very different thing. I am looking forward to it now, but it will mean that we don't get so much time on the canals and rivers.

I am sitting at Brentford visitor moorings and we should now not be venturing on to another river this year. Well not a 'proper' river as the Grand Union in these parts is actually a canalised River Brent. I can there fore reflect a little on our time on rivers etc this year. All rivers have limited places to stop and so sort of become a way of getting from A to B. I enjoyed the River Avon despite limited places to moor up.

With the limited moorings and the windy nature of the river I'm not sure I would want to here in the school holidays.

As it was we managed to meet one of the few boats we had met when rounding the Hook and also being followed by another. There are some lovely towns and villages to explore when you do stop though and well worth the time.

We then penned out on to the River Severn which is obviously a bigger scale all together. We headed up river with a stop at Upton which we found to be a nice town. It was good to see that there is still some commercial traffic no matter how small it is.

The banks are largely higher and wooded but you do get some great glimpses of the distant hills. We acted as a tug to a broken down narrow boater and so made an unplanned call in Worcester before heading up and leaving the Severn for the Droitwich Barge canal.

After making our way down the Oxford Canal we entered the Thames at Oxford. This had been our objective, if we had one, for the year. We headed upstream to find the source! The river again had fewer moorings spots but luckily we were still out of peak time so managed to not get stressed by it all. The river is nothing like that of the London area and was even more windy than the Avon with some beautiful stretches.

We made it as far as we could and this is the Round House at the start of the Thames and Severn Canal. It will be a fantstic journey when they get this canal open. I hope I am still able to transit it though.

Heading back down past Oxford the river gets wider and more regal and stately. The towns on the banks get more expensive too. There are some great spots to go and have a look round, and to be sure there are loads that we missed this time round so could easily justify coming back again

We had an abortive trip up the Bsingstoke Canal when a lock stoppage defeated us for time so the next leg was the River Wey Navigation. This seemed to have more places that you could just moor up to the bank at and Guildford and Godalming were nice places too

It was then back on the River Thames and from Weybridge heading east. We had planned to stop a night on the passage to Teddington but the planning went a little awry when sorting dates and times out. It meant in the end we went straight to Teddington and then the next day onward to Brentford. It is good to see that there are still new bridges being built over the Thames like this one at Walton on Thames

The passage from Teddington to Brentford is extremely easy and takes only about 90 mins at the most. Leave about 30  mins before HW Teddington and make sure that Thames Lock Brentwood is manned and bob's your uncle. The river is now taking on the look of that through London it's self, wide and populated. The entrance to Brentwood Creek is easier now there is the wave sculpture on the point too.

Our time on the rivers has been very enjoyable and we have seen many new navigations this year. We are looking forward to being back on the canals proper after what seems such a long time. Mind you after a few dozen wide Grand Union Locks we may be wishing to be back on the Thames with the keeper come push buttons.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Tony, Interesting info in here. Based on a couple of your previous posts we have booked a few days on a hireboat on the Wey in the last week of October when we have the grandsons with us. No Waka Huia for us this year, but back for almost a full six months next year, no question! Work will HAVE to be over by the beginning of May come hell or high water!
    The volunteering for the Hull culture year of events sounds fascinating - we may have to come and take guided walks with you both ...
    Cheers, M&D

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    Replies
    1. Hi Both, I'm sure you will enjoy your time on the Wey. There is plenty to do off the canal with Guildford Godalming, Woking and Brooklands all handy. There are enough locks to make it interesting and too many to make it hard work. I'm pleased to hear that you are resuming cruising next year and you are more than welcome to come and stop with us to sample the delights of the City of Culture Cheers for now Tony and Helen

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    2. Hi Both, I'm sure you will enjoy your time on the Wey. There is plenty to do off the canal with Guildford Godalming, Woking and Brooklands all handy. There are enough locks to make it interesting and too many to make it hard work. I'm pleased to hear that you are resuming cruising next year and you are more than welcome to come and stop with us to sample the delights of the City of Culture Cheers for now Tony and Helen

      Delete