Indigo Dreaming

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Archive for September 4th, 2010

Boat Blog: River Wey (2)

Posted by indigodream on 4 September, 2010

Tuesday 24th August

Cartbridge to Guildford and back

Polo enjoying the view - it was almost impossible to get the three dogs in the same photo!

Danusia, Martin and Polo joined us for a day’s cruise today, arriving at a civilised 10.30am-ish. nb Fulbourne had moved off shortly before us and we were looking forward to another day of locking with them.

We set off in good spirits along an increasingly beautiful riverscape – this stretch around Send is outstanding.

We’d hoped to get as far as Godalming and back, but we had another day of bobbling after nb Fulbourne and tugging her off the odd weir when she was grounded. We got a real insight into how hard this navigation is for a 72′ deep-draughted working boat – it is shallow with acute bends and lively weirs – it is also very overgrown – emulating the Kennet and Avon in places.

Martin was a competent helm – he soon got used to the amount of heft needed to shift a narrowboat – I think his yacht is a lot more responsive!

Guildford is attractive from the water, with secure moorings and a fascinating waterways museum at Dapdune Wharf and ample moorings along the towpath nearer to the town centre. Sadly the guides recommend that you do not leave your boat unattended overnight on the town moorings but I guess they’d work as a stop ‘n shop. Past the town centre, Millmead lock is flanked by a pleasant park, which the dogs enjoyed tremendously. The river above Millmead lock was heaving – it’s the site for the Guildford Boathouse – hire centre for full-length narrowboats, little day boats and rowing boats, and turning point for local community boats. There was a degree of chaos here, especially as the weir above the lock exerts a ferocious pull, despite there being no obvious flow. Getting into the lock moorings (coming downstream) is quite an effort.

We turned Indigo Dream at the open bend above Guildford Boathouse – out of the way of the rowers (who varied from cheerful incompetence to concerned incompetence).

Once we were clear of the traffic below Millmead Lock, we had a good trip downriver – seemingly moving twice as fast with the downstream flow.

We stopped at the New Inn again and had dinner at the pub – it’s got the great Fuller’s combination of good beer, very good food and it’s dog-friendly. Nowadays we actively look out for Fuller’s pubs because they tend to deliver exactly what we need. Richard has talked to Martin about Danusia’s birthday presents. Now Martin already has one thing in mind but brother Richard thought he should point out that perhaps Martin was not doing enough especially as they have not been married very long. Turns out he had already bought a couple of other items, a new belt and a bag. The man in the shop put up a very convincing sales pitch and he had assured Martin that the vacuum would work so much better with them. Richard meanwhile was suggested a whole list of other useful presents including a posh washing up brush from M&S but after due deliberation he settled on a bottle of bilge cleaner. Danusia, I am so sorry for you.

On his evening walk with the dogs, Richard got chatting with one of the weir-keepers and got some useful tips on how to navigate the river with a long, deep boat (such as the working boats that they use to keep the navigation clear). We wondered how we can suggest to the National Trust that they incorporate such practical tips into their cruising guide…..


Fulbourne moving off from the Cartbridge moorings (outside the New Inn). The river lever had dropped overnight so she was grounded again but got off eventually. We were fine - we have a foot less draught..

Sunk! I wonder what the story is....

Elegant statuary in a garden adjacent to Worsfold flood gates - it's a beautiful spot...

There is an abundant crop of hops in the hedgerows this year....

Tall mature trees flank the river as we approach the boundaries of Sutton Place - we didn't see the house (now a private home) but the grounds are fantastic....

Overgrown towpath - a haven for wildlife but not for boaters!

Lou and Lynx ready for their close-up

The church at Send

Lovely view

Martin, Polo and a propful of weed in the deck bin!

Lynx taking to boating life....

On the border to Sutton Place's grounds - 'elegant' is a word you'll use a lot of on this navigation!

Giving nb Fulbourne a snatch off the weir opposite Broad Oak Bridge - it's an awkward spot - a 90 degree bend with shallow edges and a strong weir...

Another 90 degree bend - the approach to Bowers Lock, which is on the left before the footbridge!

Martin looking very dodgy in Richard's long raincoat - he is clothed underneath, honest!

nb Barnaby - we've met her on the Royal Docks convoy - they're cruised the Wash, more than once....

This mill building is now the office of the Surrey Advertiser - nice place to work - maybe I should study journalism....

The National Trust are working hard to preserve this wooden 'Wey Barge', now moored at Dapdune Wharf

Classic 'wharf' waterfront in Guildford

Sturdy mooring point - anther industrial remnant on this ancient navigation...

This wonderfully organic bench gives walkers a chance to watch the action above Millmead Lock in Guildford...

Busy and attractive waterfront above Millmead Lock, Guildford

Polo looking cute while confined on the back deck - he's very mischievous

There's a considerable pull from the weir to the left of this photo...

Zoom in on the footbridge - girls getting ready to jump off the bridge - high jinks rather than high drama!

Isn't this is a great sculpture (Guildford waterfront)?

And a whole 'park' of wooden carvings downstream of Guildford...

Country scene around Send

Green-grey trees at their best in the billowing breeze

Hunting kestrel (I think) - it's at times likes this that I want a bigger zoom lens!

Polo and Lynx keeping an eye out for interesting creatures on the towpath...

Another view around Send

More views - around Send, again!

Lynx is quite curious about his surroundings and seems very happy on the boat.

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