Sunday, 14 September 2014

Home Counties Cruise: Day 9

We weren't due out on the tidal Thames until mid afternoon, so we had a cooked breakfast, and then got the DLR to the Tower of London, to see the ceramic poppies marking the more than 800-thousand people who died in the First World War.

The installation won't be finished until 11 November, and more poppies were being 'planted' today.

We noticed that there was a classic boat festival going on at St Katharine's Dock, which is almost next door to the Tower.  There were lots of fascinating boats to look at, and we were impressed at the good quality information boards next to each one.

Back at Limehouse, we made final preparations for our trip.  My former colleague, Peter, who came to see us off three years ago came for a repeat performance, and as I haven't seen him for a while we had a good catch up too.

We were due out of the lock at 2.45, and on schedule the lock was prepared for us.  We were joined by Mick on Jubilee, who needed to go in a convoy as he doesn't have a VHF licence.  Within a couple of minutes we were entering the tideway, with Jubilee following behind.

Immediately I felt the river was much rougher than the last time we did the trip on Briar Rose, three years ago.  Then the stretch through Tower Bridge had been surprisingly calm; today it seemed very lumpy.

The reason may have been the amount of boat traffic, perhaps because of it being a Sunday.  The ribs in particular create a lot of wash -- indeed that seems to be the whole point of them.

Peter had got on his bike after we left, to try to get to Tower Bridge before us.  He later sent me a photo of us passing HMS Belfast.  We look very small!

There were lots of City Cruisers boats around.  One came right up behind us before turning onto a pier, and another made Jubilee look very tiny.

A few things have changed since we last did the tideway.  Beyond Blackfriars Bridge is the Bismarck, with a camoflage paint job.  And further up near Tate Britain there's a large wooden hippo.

It's always quite exciting going past the London Eye, under Westminster Bridge, and past Parliament.  There were lots of tv and radio trucks on the bridge, to cover the cycling Tour of Britain.

We made sure Jubilee was always within sight behind us, although sometimes he seemed quite a way behind.  He later said that at times we seemed to speed away from him, and then he'd catch up -- although neither of us changed our engine speed at all.  It must just be the flow of the tide through different bits of the river.

Before long we were passing through Richmond Bridge, where the half tide barrier had already been raised.  Richmond itself was very busy with people making the most of a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Then we were at Teddington.  A boat was already going up in the lock, and then it was our turn.  A cruiser and a narrowboat from Brentford arrived and came up at the same time.

We moored up just after the lock, and my colleague, Paul, came to meet us.  I went back to the lock office to buy a licence and pay for our night's mooring.  Then the three of us adjourned to the pub for a drink and a meal.

20 miles, 2 locks.  (106 miles, 77 locks)


KevinTOO said...

Hi Adam & Adrian,
Thanks for posting the photos of your tideway cruise, isn't boating on the Thames great? :)
Did you know that the poppies at the Tower are made in Derby (where I live) and that they can be bought for delivery after the 11th November?

Adam said...

Hi Kevin
As it happens, we'd seen they were made in Derby. Adrian went online and bought one when we got back that lunchtime. Well worth a visit to the Tower if you're down Londom way.