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Archive for February 26th, 2010

Boat Blog: Summer cruising plans

Posted by indigodream on 26 February, 2010

Tuesday 23rd February

With a month to go before we rejoin the ranks of the rootless vagabonds, we’ve been tossing around various ideas for this year’s summer cruise.

With the cancellation of the BCN challenge, we were left floundering with the vast richness of the cruising choices available to us. Luckily, Andrew Phasey, of the St Pancras Cruising Club, stepped in with typical ex-military efficiency and sorted us out with an offer of an adventure on the Tidal Thames. With the club’s cruising programme confirmed, we can now plan around the fact that we’ll be back in London in late summer.

If you’re coming south for the IWA National in Beale Park then why not join one of the St Pancras Cruising Club ‘convoys’ on the tideway. They’re planning two sets of cruises on the two weekends before the show – the Saturdays will feature a cruise to the Thames Barrier and Bow Creek; the Sundays will see the convoy going up the tideway to Brentford or Teddington.

Here are the dates:

Saturday 14th August – Thames Barrier Cruise

Sunday 15th August – Transit to Brentford/Teddington

Saturday 21st August – Thames Barrier Cruise

Sunday 22nd August – Transit to Brentford/Teddington

It’s a great opportunity to explore the tidal Thames in good company, cruising with boaters experienced in negotiating the tideway. We’re joining the convoys as one of the ‘experienced’ boats – Belgium here we come 🙂

So that’s our first milepost. But we’ve also been seduced by the cruising club’s cruise to Barking Creek in July – it’s a great chance to explore new waters and, of course,  I can’t imagine ever getting bored with the grand passage through the Thames Barrier!

That leaves us with 3 months between the time we vacate our winter home and the first of the Thames cruises. We used the ever-useful Canalplan, which has a very jolly setting – tell it where you are and how much time you’ve got and it will tell you where you can get to. Many of the places that it came up with are on the BCN, the Avon (Stratford) and the Kennet and Avon – all places that we’ve visited before. Actually, we’d be happy to visit them again, but Cananplan came up with some new waters for us – the trip up to Peterborough and thence to the Fens, Cambridge, Bedford – there’s a LOT of choice. Of course, we’re very obedient – in a recent comment, Lesley from Caxton TOLD us to come to the fens so we will!

Once we get back to London in July then we’re planning to explore the Lee and Stort between our Thames adventures and then a trip to the Wey, and possibly the Basingstoke Canal, if it’s open.

Now, this may be the most weather-dependent of all our cruises – there’s a fair bit of river work and if this rain continues (please, nooooooooo….) the extra flow may make it more thrilling than we originally planned! I passed over the Thames by train in Kingston yesterday – the river’s on red boards and it looked terrifyingly awesome. Of course, once you’re on the tideway it doesn’t matter – the tide cancels all and is a relatively predictable flow 🙂

Previous experience had taught us that since we escaped the fixed week tyranny of hire and share boating, our cruising plans have been more flexible than a conference of contortionists so we’ll see what happens…….

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