Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Archive for September 7th, 2010

Boat Blog: River Wey (5)

Posted by indigodream on 7 September, 2010

Saturday 28th August

Guildford to Shepperton

I'm sure this gate wasn't leaking this badly on our way up - has someone used it as a brake???

It was a fine day on Saturday though we were very slow to get moving. We said a reluctant goodbye to my family, making sure that they stocked up with home-made jam. I’d put them to work as fruit pickers when they’d stayed with us the previous week on their way to France so they’d earned a few pots! I’ll be seeing them again soon – I have to go to Cardiff for my uncle Dave’s funeral next Thursday so we’ll have another get-together then, though in less happy circumstances.

We came back to Guildford by train – we were aiming for Limehouse on Sunday evening and we had a car waiting for us there. Lynx seems to enjoy the train, in fact, he seems to enjoy just about everything!

We were a bit bemused by the kayaks on the river today. They seemed particularly ignorant when portaging around the locks – there was a group above Stoke lock that were busy launching their canoes into the water in front of AND behind a boat waiting at the lock moorings, causing congestion and inconvenience to us, approaching the lock, and to the boat coming out of the lock, who had to travel a way upstream before he could pick up his crew. If the kayaks had waited  few minutes the oncoming boat could have been out of the lock and us in without any bother to anyone. They told us they were beginners and asked us to hover while they launched directly in front of us – we refused as Indigo Dream was drifting in the combination of a stiff breeze and downstream flow. The next best thing we could do was to brest up to the other boat on the lock moorings – that got us stable while the kayaks launched all over the place and drifted upstream on all sides of the navigation. Now, I know it’s a fine thing to assert your rights on the waterways, but we thought that the kayaks were particularly ignorant and cause an unnecessary log-jam which would have been prevented if they’d just waited for two minutes for our narrowboats to get set in the lock and out of the way. The canoeists told us that we should hover in the stream ‘for our safety’ but WE weren’t in any danger! I think that the Wey could take a lesson from the Nene, which has canoe portage platforms separate to the lock moorings – safer all round.

Anyway, that’s my rant over, though we did encounter a similar situation with a different group of kayaks a little further downstream.

Lovely bridge just downstream of Weybridge Town Lock - when you see this bridge in front of you then turn sharp right into the lock - you can't navigate under this bridge!

We shared locks with various boats today – the hirers were out in force and moving at different speeds (all slower than ours). Snow Goose in the photo above was doing her first solo lock and it was a tricky one – we’d brested up to them so went into the lock first, they then had to do a sharp turn  and come in alongside us. The steerer did an expert job – would have looked like a veteran if he had not looked so concerned and worried over much about not touching us! There was also some upstream traffic with numerous cruisers enjoying a jaunt. One had a particularly happy lurcher loafing on the bench seat at the back – it’s a dog’s life on the water!

Pyrford Lock was typically busy with gongoozlers from the local pub – it was very windy here and I was glad to bring Indigo Dream smoothly into the lock! Pyrford Marina is just below the lock – we turned in here to get a pump-out. It’s a self-operated machine – get tokens from the office. It’s not a very good machine – the bit that connects to the tank outlet isn’t very tight and it timed out before our tank was fully empty. The dogs were confined on board – Lynx spotted two dainty red deer in in the undergrowth and was very keen to go and see them. I quickly locked him in – the doe was very cute but the hind had foot-long antlers which would have made short work of a marauding greyhound.

We meandered downstream, meeting relatively few boats once we were past the main canalside watering holes. Fortunately we got to Thames Lock just as the lock-keepers were thinking of closing for the day. They let us through and our little sojourn on the Wey was over. It’s been interesting to come back here (we moored at New Haw for a year when we first got Indigo Dream). I felt a bit oppressed by the pedantic rules and frustrated by the shallow, weedy, unkempt ‘navigation’ and lack of properly dredged mooring places. But you can’t deny the river’s beauty and the loveliness of the surrounding countryside. I’m glad we came back for a visit, it is well worth visiting but I’m equally glad to be moving on.

We stayed the night at the newly restored moorings just downstream of the entrance to the Wey (below Shepperton Lock on the Thames). Bah, I made a silly error coming into moor, poking the bow in, as I normally would, without considering the strength of the downstream flow from Shepperton Weir. I just couldn’t get the stern in and I finally did what I should have done to start with – I let the boat turn around until the bow was pointing into the flow and moored neatly! We ate on board – there are pubs to be explored in nearby Weybridge but I was too tired to contemplate it. The new moorings here are very smart though there aren’t any services. It’s a nice spot and generally quiet; unfortunately on Saturday night loud music drifted across the water from the boating club opposite – at least it stopped at midnight, leaving us with just the soft roar of water rushing over the nearby weir.

Photoblog:

Lots of photos of Lou today – she was especially photogenic!

Nice portrait of Lou...

Lou having a contentment 'rub' - when they rub their faces on the ground it usually means that they're happy, or that there's a juicy bit of fox poo on the ground!

Lou enjoying a rest...

Gongoozlers....

Greyhounds are so photogenic...

Deer at Pyrford Marina - Lynx was very interested indeed but those antlers would make short work of a hound....

Lynx watching out for the deer. Doesn't Pyrford Marina look serene in its tree-lined basin?

A commotion of kayaks - at least this group launched from one spot, communicated well and were expert - the group I was ranting about was all over the lock moorings and the lock cut...

This ugly edifice is the entrance to Weybridge Town Lock!

The approach to Thames Lock - there's no denying the Wey's beauty...

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