Monday, 2 June 2014

Onto the Grand Union at last!

Thursday 29th May

High tide at Teddington is at 4.15, so we spent the morning doing some of the jobs which have been backing up.  Dave started work on repairing the side hatch doors, which have bad water staining, and I cleaned the floor, which was covered with bits of grit, grass and dog hair as well as general dust and dirt.  I left Dave working and took Meg for a run in Home Park.  The entrance was only 100 yards from the bridge and I could let her off the lead for a good run.  We ran up the side of the Long Water towards Hampton Court Palace, with a short detour to avoid some deer.  Most of them were lying down, hidden behind the grass.

am deer 1  am deer 2

There was a pair of swans nesting on the Dew Pond, but they couldn’t see the dog so I could take a photo without disturbing them.  Unfortunately I only had my phone with me and the resolution is too poor to publish the photo.  We ran up as far as the railings round the palace garden where the folks who had paid were wandering.  I love those clipped yew trees.

am H C Palace through the railings 1

As we ran back, the fountains at the far end of the Long Water had sprung into action.

am HC palave through the fountains

We set off for Teddington at 2.45, passing some strange craft which could be houseboats but also looked quite similar to the stealth boat we saw at Stockton Top last year.

1 houseboats or not

We made good time to Teddington, and were the only boat in the lock, having waited for a group to go down before us.  We passed Eel Pie island, which was much larger than I had expected and with much more building on it.

5 eel pie island

We passed the imposing Ham House up on its hill -

8 ham house 2

and through Richmond, where we could see the roads and paths where the tide had started to recede.  One unfortunate motorist would have returned to find his car rather wet inside  – the water, though dropping, was still up to the hubcaps.  As it was still close to high tide, the weir at Richmond Lock was raised and we passed under the bridge – but instead of a road on top it was full of machinery to raise the weir. (Around high tide, there is sufficient depth of water over the underwater part of the weir for navigation so you don’t need to use the lock.  As the water level falls, the weir gates are lowered to block passage under the bridge so you have to use the lock.  I think.)

10 richmond weir  11 richmond weir 2

Trees obscured the view on both sides of the river for much of our journey, but I did manage a snap of Syon House.13 syon house

Soon we could see the welcoming sign at the mouth of the river Brent -

14 welcome to grand union canal

and battled against the current to get up the Brent and bid farewell to the Thames.

15 bye bye thames

With a lovely cheery CRT employee at Thames Lock to welcome us back to proper canals we were relieved to have successfully completed our first trip on this part of the Thames, and continuing on new-to-us waters we enjoyed our first taste of a proper canal lock since last summer (K and A locks don’t count, they are horrible!) – here is the lovely Clitheroe’s lock.

17 first proper lock

We moored below Hanwell locks and as it was almost 7 o’clock, we repaired promptly to the fabulous Fox for a celebratory pint (or two).  It was quiz night unfortunately, so we had to eat at the bar as all the tables were booked, but the food was great and the dog enjoyed her treats too.

2 river locks (including Richmond), 4 canal locks, 8 and a half miles, and an excellent evening in the pub.

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