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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 – Day 36 & 37 – Limehouse to Teddington

Posted by indigodream on 20 August, 2016

Rewind to Wednesday 13th July

Getting ready for the off...

Getting ready for the off…

The mooring concession that had allowed us to stay on the Waterbus Pontoon ended on Wednesday, and while we could have stayed until Thursday, when we needed to get to Limehouse, we decided to move on time. Richard and I popped up to the boat in the afternon, minus the hounds as we’d only be a few hours.

We drove up to Three Mills – I moved the boat while Richard took the car down to Limehouse. We knew that the weather forecast was mixed; in practice that meant dry and blustery when we were in the car and soaking wet and gale force when I was on the helm! Turning the boat round was a challenge as a squall pinned me to the wall at Three Mills, then, as I poled the bow off the wall, I realised that if I followed the line given to me by the wind, the boat would squash a moorhen’s nest on the far bank, so on to plan B. I got lined up for the turn slightly further upstream and a big CRT tug and butty combo hove round the bridge – change to plan C! I did eventually turn above Three Mills Bridge and headed off down Limehouse Cut, feeling very sorry for myself indeed!

Out on the tideway - conditions were perfect :-)

Out on the tideway – conditions were perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

I had a good but wet trip down the cut and met up with Richard near Violet Road Bridge. The rain miraculously stopped but the pontoon on the wall at Limehouse was occupied and the boat moored there was very reluctant to let us breast up. There was room on the wall, though we hoped we’d be able to move to the pontoon for loading the hounds onto the boat on Thursday.ย  Never mind, it was just one of those days!

We headed for the service pontoon to take on water and do a pump-out. The visitor pump-out is only operational during office hours (apparently it’s been misused by boaters making a lot of noise on the service pontoon late at night), so we had to get this done today as we were unlikely to get to boat in time on Thursday evening. As it had stopped raining, we had taken our waterproofs off, confident that we’d be in the car before it had time to rain again. Silly me! As we finished at the pontoon, it started to rain again, then it became torrential, then it really chucked it down, with hailstones – we were soaked! We moved to the wall, moored up quickly and squelched our way back to the car – we were wet, cold and dismal – meh!

Rewind to Friday 15th July

Archie loves looking - he is a great tideway veteran...

Archie loves looking – he is a great tideway veteran…

Herbie was none too impressed with hiis life-jacket - he had no intention of leaving his sofa - even if the boat sank!

Herbie was none too impressed with hiis life-jacket – he had no intention of leaving his sofa – even if the boat sank!

Iconic view and a big rubbish barge.....

Iconic view and a big rubbish barge…..

Much as we’ve loved the company of our local boating friends, we were looking forward to leaving London and heading upriver. We had an ambition to get to Lechlade so that we would have cruised the navigable (by narrowboat!) Thames from end to end this Summer. We can’t get any further down river then Sheerness but one year we may take a couple of chain saws with us . . . .

We congregated at the boat on Thursday night – the usual canine crew and Steve, our favourite vet, with his new springer spaniel Molly. We joined the crew of Peace of Pearce at the Cruising Association and toasted our convoy cruising – it was a good end to our Southeast adventures. We checked that nb’s Tempest and Enbee were moored up and ready for the tideway transit in the morning. When we got back to the boat, we expected Archie to join Steve on the guest double bed, but to our surprise, Herbie joined him and Steve let him! Molly the springer was a bit disgruntled but she’s a hardy spaniel and doesn’t need the intensive cosseting demanded by the greyhounds!

Some more famous landmarks - it's a wonderful river :-)

Some more famous landmarks – it’s a wonderful river ๐Ÿ™‚

We were up bright and early – we were booked to lock out of Limehouse at 7.15am. It all went smoothly though they were running late, but the new lock-keepers at Limehouse are much more laissez faire than Jeremy and his team, who were always informative and solicitous. However, we learnt a lot from the previous team and had briefed our companion boats thoroughly. It was still a thrill to see the great lock gates crack open to let the water cascade onto the tideway below. All too soon we were off – the river was calm and quiet – although I’m not a morning person, I think that between dawn and 8am is THE time to be on the river.

We had a smooth passage up the tideway – the tideway demands concentration so Richard and I take turns at the helm to avoid fatigue and keep us fresh and vigilant. Steve is a competent helm, so he took turns with us, making the passage very easy. We kept and eye on our companion boats, but they were hanging back a bit but keeping pace easily and all too soon we were waving them off at Brentford. We carried on up to Teddington – one of my favourite mooring places. We had a brief stop here to walk the dogs, and were hailed by the crew of a Cotswold Cruising Club boat whom we’d escorted up the tideway some years before! They were just off on a dutch barge to Europe …..

Richmond always looks so grand from the river....

Richmond always looks so grand from the river….

Steve’s wife, Helen and son Alfie were due to join us in the evening so we stopped off at Waitrose in Kingston to top up on our supplies. Richard stayed with the boat while Steve and I went shopping. I think that the layout has changed and it took us ages to find the way in to Waitrose – then it took some time to navigate our way out. At one time I thought they might just find our skeletons in a lonely stairwell, having eaten through the supplies in our trolley then perishing as we failed to find the exit!

With the boat well stocked (with hot chickens for the hounds, of course!) we set off upriver. It was a glorious day and we enjoyed, again, the sense of freedom and wonder of cruising a big river full of fascinating sights. The river had enough boats to be interesting but not enough to cause congestion – perfect! We did have a little wait at Molesey lock, where we took the dogs off for a pitstop. Steve let Molly off for a paddle in the river and she, being a water dog, headed off after some geese – she swam fully halfway across the river then headed off downstream under Hampton Court bridge. Cue a panic as the towpath goesย  over the bridge and if she went right through to the other side it would be difficult to recover her. Luckily she eventually decided to swim back to Steve – I think she’d decided that she’d shown the geese who was boss so she could return with her head held high ๐Ÿ™‚

The hermit's boat is still here - it was in pieces last time we passed by...

The hermit’s boat is still here – it was in pieces last time we passed by…

Our target for the day was Staines, which seemed a little ambitious at the start of the day, but by the afternoon it seemed entirely possible We got there by about 4.30pm but we found that the moorings were already congested – we were a bit indecisive and did a few circuits up and down river as we contemplated mooring a little way downstream by the Riverside pub. In the end, nb Mochyn Du called us over to the town moorings and invited us to brest up – they seen us cruising in circles and took pity on us! We explained that we had dogs, but they did too, and were happy for us to traipse across their back deck. We chatted for a long while – well, the lady of the boat was Welsh, so chatting was inevitable!

By 6pm we’d walked and fed the dogs and wandered over to the dog-friendly Anchor pub to join Helen and Alfie for dinner. The food was good pub grub and the service was friendly; there was plenty of room for the dogs and a kind waitress brought them a bowl of water. Molly decided that she wanted to be a greyhound as they scoffed the sausages that we bought for them – such luxury!

It was still light when we piled back on board and got the beds sorted – four adults, one large teenager, three greyhound and a spaniel filled almost every inch of the boat though it felt contented rather than congested – it had been a great day.


Some thing are eternal - like the wonderfully eccentric houseboats...

Some thing are eternal – like the wonderfully eccentric houseboats…

The new road bridge at Walton - they had just started building this when we last passed by - it's far more attractive from the water than from the road...

The new road bridge at Walton – they had just started building this when we last passed by – it’s far more attractive from the water than from the road…

Molly loving life on the river :-)

Molly loving life on the river ๐Ÿ™‚





2 Responses to “Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 – Day 36 & 37 – Limehouse to Teddington”

  1. A few photos (link below) from the bank – my favourite is this one

  2. indigodream said

    Playing chicken with a clipper? Brilliant photos, thank you

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