Saturday, 27 August 2011

September planning

In two weeks, we'll be setting off on a three week cruise.  For some time, we've planned to do the Thames Ring, heading down to London on the Grand Union, going to Paddington Basin, then doing the Tidal Thames from Limehouse the Teddington, up the Thames (all the way to Lechlade if there's time), and returning via the Oxford Canal.  That would be 346 miles and 199 locks.

The most crucial point of the trip is the Tidal Thames, and the tide times during the week in questio aren't very helpful.  In order to do the trip on a day with a reasonable tide time, we've had to sacrifice a trip down the Aylesbury Arm.

But our big trips wouldn't be the same unless we had to replan (two years ago we were scuppered by the closure of the Shroppie; three years ago the floods on the Avon and the breach on the Stourbridge made us rethink).  This time, it's water shortages on the Oxford.  BW have imposed restrictions on the locks each side of the summit, and would really prefer people not to go that way at all.

So we've come up with an alternative plan.  After the Tidal Thames, we'd go and do the River Wey.  The we'd return to Teddington, do the tidal section to Brentford, and return up the Grand Union.  That would be 315 miles and 282 locks.

Of course it's nice to do a ring, but this route does have a number of plus points.  The Wey is the connected waterway closest to home, and we've walked quite a bit of it.  It would be good to boat it.  It would also mean that we'd complete the GU, by including the bit from Brentford to Bull's Bridge Junction.  And we'd probably be able to fit in the Aylesbury Arm.

We'll probably wait until we get to London, assess the latest situation, and decide then which route to take home.


Neil Corbett said...

Hmmm herein lies the dilemma. If we get lots of rain, then the Thames to Oxford and the Wey might not be navigable. If we don't get lots of rain, then the Oxford canal would be a problem. Sods Law prevails. Hope for a modest amount of rain I suppose.

I don't mind out and back trips as opposed to rings. There is always something to see on the way back that you missed on the way out.


eeyore said...

I hope that you can do the whole ring. Water shortages have affected us at Marsworth on the GU rising to the top level at Tring in the past. BW restricted hours at Cowroast Lock.

If you do come up the Oxford Canal I hope to see you in Banbury on Day 17!