Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Autumn Cruise - Day 12

There was heavy rain overnight, although we didn't hear it, and the morning was very misty and murky.

From Teddington Lock we made the short trip to the John Lewis moorings at Kingston, for shopping.  When we set off again, we played leapfrog with the New Southern Belle, which stopped at various jetties before overtaking us again.

We passed Hampton Court (with Epiphany on the moorings outside) and made for our first lock, Molesey Lock.  As we waited, a large barge arrived; we were glad when it was called into the lock in front of us.

By our next lock, at Sunbury, the weather had improved a lot.  We stopped for lunch on moorings at Walton on Thames.  At Shepperton Lock, which is very pretty, the lock keepers appeared to be touting for votes -- albeit discreetly.

As we approached Chertsey, we were on the flight path for Heathrow, and spotted an Airbus A380.

We stopped for the night on a National Trust mooring at Runnymede, and a man in a Land Rover came to collect the £6 fee.  At first sight, it wasn't a great mooring, with the A308 running alongside and planes leaving heathrow overhead.  But when the traffic, both road and air, quietened down later on, it was very peaceful.

Brian, Mike, and I, set off to see the Magna Carta Memorial and the John F Kennedy memorial which is in woods nearby.  The Magna Carta memorial was easy to find -- indeed, it's visible from the river.

Our hunt for the JFK memorial was unsuccessful, largely because we headed off in the wrong direction.  We climbed the hill, where there were great views across London, and took a footpath which went to the top of the hill to the Air Forces Memorial.  The top of the tower is visible from the river, but in fact there's a significant cloistered building which contains the names of 20,000 air force personnel from the Second World War who have no known grave.  It's immaculately kept, and is a very tranquil and moving place.

I went up to the roof of the tower, from where there were spectacular views of Heathrow Airport and, in the far distance, the skyline of London from the BT tower at one side to The Shard at the other.

18 miles, 6 locks.  (168 miles,  121 locks)

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