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Boat Blog: Tidal Adventures (2)

Posted by indigodream on 20 August, 2010

Sunday 15th August

Are you having a good day?

Today was our longest sojourn ever on the tidal river – we were to ‘tail end’ the convoy from Limehouse to Brentford (though many boats went on to Teddington), then we turned back and went straight back down to Limehouse at speed to catch up with nb Doris Katia and nb Peace of Pearce because we needed to be back in place ready for next week’s cruises.

Greygal and A joined us again but this time they left their pack at home – we’d be non-stop on the tideway for several hours so a potential challenge for doggie bladders! As it happens, Lou and Lynx took the trip in their stride, especially Lou, who loafed on her sofa all day, showing a supreme disinterest in the historic river sights – and the tideway turbulence.

As ever, the photos capture more that I can put into words. Needless to say, it was an awesome journey and we’ll never spot all the sights, even if we cruised this way a hundred times. As usual the first part of the journey was a little choppy but it is surprising how well narrowboats handle a few waves providing you turn so that the wave hits your stern or front first. We set a reasonably fast speed, slowing down every so often when the following boats had slowed in turns to avoid to avoid trip boat wakes. We got waves from people on bridges and people on the various trip boats, we had a bit more time to look around then previously. London from the river looks fantastic, it is wonderful to go past all the sights and under so many of the bridges that we have driven over many times. The weather was a little dull on the way up but cleared to a nice sunny evening for our way back to Limehouse, we particularly enjoyed the glow of London’s iconic riverscape in the luminous sunset. The tide was unusually high today, making for some low headroom under a few of the bridges – there was plenty of room for us but craft much higher would have been stuck.

As ever, there was a fair amount of turbulence on the approach to Limehouse, an adverse breeze had sprung up and was whipping the river into little whitecaps – hmmm. We were vexed by a close encounter with an ignorant Clipper Ferry just outside the lock, but we couldn’t let that spoil an otherwise awesome day. nb Doris Katia and nb Peace of Pearce were waiting for us in the lock – we slipped in between them. Jan, from nb Peace of Pearce looked elated – an apt response for their first trip on the tideway, and a big trip at that. We were grinning a bit ourselves! As we came up the lock, the lock-keepers presented us with some cakes – we were the 50th boat to have passed through the lock that day – it’s the busiest day in Jeremy’s time as senior lock-keeper – a cause for celebration and a suitable end to a great day.


Richard had contrived a meeting in Westferry on Monday morning so he stayed on board overnight. It worked well, he was so close to his meeting place that he had time for a little lie-in and to take the boat round to the service pontoon for a pump-out – he has some guests coming on board for a mini-cruise on Thursday. I drove home with the doggies on Sunday evening – it was exhausting but the roads were quiet and I was well-placed to get the house in order before a mega-invasion of family on Monday evening.

We were excited and exhausted by our tideway adventures – we’ve always said that the river is more interesting than fun – it’s such an intense experience and therefore unmissable!

Note: I’ve added some historical bits to the photo captions – the sources I used were:


Saturday afternoon: The swingbridge being opened at Limehouse (for the outward bound cruiser)

nb Peace of Pearce heading for the tideway - always a few gongoozlers here....

There are a few of these ancient and characterful hostelries along the tideway - that lower deck will be awash at high tide....

The juxtaposition of modern development and old converted wharf buildings is characteristic of the tideway....

Thames Tunnel Mills - named for the nearby tunnel built by Marc Isambard Brunel in the 1830s and completed on the 3rd attempt, the first two scuppered by quicksand and lack of money respectively...

The met on the water - we didn't get boarded on this trip though..

As Greygal said "there's no better way to see iconic London"

We've passed under Tower Bridge - wheee!

And one of the sights that bus will be seeing is a convoy of narrowboats!

nb Ryeland and nb Two Hoots passing under Tower Bridge

Great views in all directions - looking back the HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge...

The bridge are close together here....

nb Ryeland and nb Two Hoots coming under the Millenium Footbridge - watch out for the wobble!

Famous vista....

Duck Tour - glad I'm on Indigo Dream!

Lynx lobbying on behalf of the retired greyhounds....

Vauxhall Bridge has some great statues - hadn't realised they were there....

More graceful bridges - the river gets a bit quieter here.....

That yellow buoy gives you an idea of how fast the tide is running...

I love the ornate details on some of these bridges...

Old buildings, new buildings and new industry - recycling by barge..

Trust Lou to come up on deck when there are no famous landmarks in the background!

Imposing riverside development....

Container wharf - glad to see the river being used commercially but equally glad that their mega-barges weren't on the move today.

River users come in all shapes and sizes....

Elegant shading...

I wonder how much you can see from this observatory given London's nightly glow?

Hammersmith Bridge - note the water level - it's a good our away from high tide...

Hammersmith Bridge at high tide - mind your head!

nb Doris Katia and nb Peace of Pearce heading downstream - we were still going upstream but we caught up with them at Limehouse!

nb Ryeland and nb Two Hoots turning off the tideway at Brentford - happy cruising - it was a pleasure to travel with you....

The river's very green here - that island would be a perfect greyhound rummaging ground...

More ornate detail - on a railway bridge (Kew) - fab!

That could be a seaside promenade!

Mind your head - Hammersmith Bridge

Bit low here as well!

Heliport - we rather be on a narrowboat!

Fine old church, or is it housing now?

Battersea Power Station - such a landmark - wish it could finally be developed.

Wouldn't it be grand to moor in the lion's mouth - of course, at low tide the water would be 7.2metres lower!

Why we don't inhabit the front deck between Wandsworth and Limehouse!

Sunset and the city

The restored Globe theatre

New icons emerging along the skyline.....

Impressive lifting gear on this bridge...

nb Doris Katia approaching Limehouse lock..

The tideway equivalent of the '19th hole' - the ancient 'Grapes' pub....

An inverted triangle of red lights means that the arch is closed to navigation...

Two orange lights means that the arch is open to navigation (keep to the right where possible)

One Response to “Boat Blog: Tidal Adventures (2)”

  1. Greygal said

    I’m going to hire you as our official photographer – you always take such nice ones of us! Fab trip, fab company, fab sights, fab to be back in the marina safe and sound!! THANK YOU!

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