After the pleasures of yesterday -- the excitement of a journey into Central London, the sunshine, getting a good mooring, and seeing family -- today was always going to be a bit of a let down. The last day of this part of the trip, combined with the difficulties of getting everything back where it needed to be. Plus the weather forecast, of the remnants of Hurricane Bertha bringing heavy rain and strong winds.
Things didn't look too bad when we got up, but by the time we were ready to set off just before 8, the rain had started. We were going in different directions: I was taking the boat back along the Paddington Arm, while Adrian was going to get the car from our marina. The exit from our mooring was text book, but it was early so there was no-one to see it! As Adrian headed off to the underground to Victoria and the coach station, he took a photo of me leaving the basin.
At first the rain wasn't too bad, and there are always things to see, like this cormorant drying its wings, just along from Little Venice.
Further on there were torrential downpours, plus thunder and lightening. Combined with the less than picturesque scenery along parts of the Arm, it all looked rather depressing.
Adrian was also having a frustrating time, as the coach to Milton Keynes (there were no trains because of engineering work, and the replacement bus only started from the end of the Jubilee Line) was stuck in traffic because of flooding on the North Circular.
As I passed through Alperton, I had a very welcome text from Kath from Herbie, offering the assiatance of her and Neil along the Slough Arm, where I was headed. They know it well, having moored along the arm, and are familiar with coping with the legendary weed, which can clog props and bring boats to a halt. It made me wonder quite how bad the weed would be, but gratefully accepted -- pointing out that they must be mad wanting to come boating in such foul weather.
I reached Bull's Bridge Junction on schedule at 12 noon, and turned right. It was another 40 minutes or so before I reached the bridge where Kath and Neil were waiting. By now the sun was out, although it was still pretty breezy. It's quite a tight turn into the Slough Arm, immediately after a bridge, and I was a bit too busy turning to take a photo. But although there's quite a lot of floating pennywort, the blanket weed which has blighted the Arm in the past didn't seem to be there at all.
The Slough Arm is pleasantly rural, has aqueducts over a couple of rivers, and then passes under the M25
We were soon at High Line Yachting, where we came alongside a boat outside the office and I went in to pay our fees and find out where we'd be staying. The linear moorings stretch a long way, and we had to go half way along. As we did so, we could see a torrential downpour heading our way. It looked as though the canal up ahead was boiling, and we could see the storm coming for us. it was in this torrent that we found our spot, and moored on the outside of a residential boat. I was really grateful to have Neil and Kath with me, as it was very helpful to have an extra pair of hands at this stage.
Once moored up, we had a late lunch. Adrian arrived in the car to take things home, and Kath and Neil headed off too. I had a sleep, as I'm starting night shifts tonight.
19 miles, 0 locks. (106 miles, 102 locks)