Saturday, 10 May 2014

Olympic Waterways

Today we went up to London to join Doug and James on Chance for the inaugural cruise round the Olympic Waterways.  It was organised by the St Pancras Cruising Club, and more than thirty boats took part.  We got to Three Mills, and waited for all the boat to arrive.  They'd overnighted at Limehouse.

There's not currently a circuit possible of the Olympic Waterways, because Carpenter's Road Lock is un-navigable, and there's also a blockage because of Crossrail being built.  So today's trip was two there-and-backs.  Half the boats did one arm first, while the other half did the other.

We turned first up the Bow Back River, and quickly reached City Mill Lock, which was open at both ends as the water was level.  Beyond the lock is tidal.

You're soon on the Waterworks River and into the Olympic Park, with the Aquatics Centre on one side, and the ArcelorMittal Orbit on the other.

We turned in front of Carpenter's Road Lock, which has a mirrored bridge over it, then headed back the way we'd come.

After returning to the Lee Navigation, we then turned onto the Old River Lea, just before Old Ford Lock.  The Olympic Stadium is immediately beyond.

You then come to the other side of Carpenter's Road Lock.  After turning onto the City Mill River, you're then on the other side of the Orbit.

 There's lots of work being done to reduce the capacity of the Olympic Stadium, and there were people at work high up in the scaffolding.

It was a really great trip, and the forecast heavy rain didn't materialise.  There was just one heavy shower, and we happened to be under a big road bridge at the time.  It seems that doing an organised trip will be the only way to do these waterways.  They revert to CRT ownership next year, but they have only remainder status, and they're also flood relief channels, so are unlikely just to be opened up for public use.

Many thanks to Doug and James for inviting us to join them, and thanks to the SPCC for organising the trip.

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