Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Hampton court to Brentford and a trip on the tidal Thames.

After a lovely day being all historical yesterday, when the sun rose this morning we had the tidal Thames to look forward to.

Knowing that our passage from Teddington lock could not commence until 1625 due to the tide, we were in no particular hurry, but thought we would have a short stop at Kingston for some shopping, then onto Teddington lock for lunch and a recce of the set up.

Arriving at Kingston, we spied Lady Esther moored up, so we swung across the river and moored behind them. No one at home, so we had a stroll over the bridge and into the town centre heading for M&S. The initially cloudy start had given way to strong sunshine. Whilst in Mark's we bumped into Dave and Angie, who were also making passage today and left them stating we would see them later.

This chap must have excellent balance

Towing them upstream before releasing them

Kingston upon Thames bridge

By noon we had hopped down and moored on the extensive lock approach. After a spot of lunch we walked down to the lock and had a chat with one of the very friendly lock keepers. It appears that the tide was to be somewhat higher than is usual! At the time we were there, the empty lock was about ten foot deep, with the weir drop a similar height. Anyway, with nothing to do but wait and chat to other boaters, we went back to the boat and did just that.

Teddington lock approach

Later in the afternoon Dave and Angie arrived but the news was not good. They had a problem with the engine, it would not switch off and the control panel was dead. So Dave was onto RCR ( River canal rescue) who would attend, but not until late afternoon and after the window to reach Brentford before the lock closed. So we said a second farewell to them and at 1620 we were in the lock and descending to river level.  This was all of a couple of feet and the tide was still coming up! So the initial run was against the incoming tide and it had quite a punch.
Its a big lock, the red life ring in the distance is at the far end and there were boats behind us

By the time we reached Richmond, various establishments riverside had water covering the footpaths in front of them, so high was the tide. We sailed past Richmond lock, it's use redundant today and past more stunning Riverside properties.

Royal Star and Garter Home Richmond

Richmond nearly under water

It did not seem too long before we spotted the first of two red buoys. The tide had by this time reached its peak and was ebbing, fast. We skirted the first buoy, pulled towards it by the current, and on the approach to the second it was time to swing to port in order to enter the lock approach. We had the good fortune to have a boat ahead of us who knew the river and so we followed him in. It was a surprise upon reaching the river lock to see both sets of gates open and we just sailed through. After a few bends and negotiating numerous moored craft, we arrived at the pair of key operated locks that are Brentford gauging locks. Leaving these we stopped at the services just around the corner, then it was find a mooring time. The place was full, but we spotted a CRT wide beam work boat moored up and it is hosting us for the night....Not ideal, but beggars must and all that. Railway ahead of us, flight landing path to heathrow above, I think a good nights sleep is not on the cards.
Our mooring tonight (view not so bad)

Er ....location
It took us an hour and ten minutes to negotiate the tidal river, which was no way near as bad as some people led us to believe. Now the Grand union awaits us and our journey north begins.

Dave and Angies problem is now thankfully sorted and they will make passage later tomorrow.

Miles  10
Locks  03


  1. Do you want to rendezvous at the Fox at Hanwell tomorrow night? We are at Bulls Bridge tonight.

  2. So sorry both, but we do need to crack on and we are only a mile or so from the Fox now. As we are brested to a working boat, early start called for! Probably see you at the locks tomorrow and we WILL have that pint before the end of the season. :)


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