Wow! What a trip, 22.9 miles and 3 locks. We worked in the morning and then made ready. We put everything away in the lockers and anything loose on shelves we put on the floor. At 12:55 we headed for the Lock with a strange mixture of excitement and dread, Frances said “you have got me to do some very scary things over the years and this is one of them”. The lock did not have any sluice gates, the main gates just open and the water pours out. From the very first moment when the gates opened the boat began to pitch in the river swell we thought well here goes. My main concern was whether the engine would fail as we had heard of a number of cases when the narrow boat had got as far as the Houses of Parliament and their engines cut with a fuel blockage due to the pitch and roll of the boat throwing up sludge and crude from the bottom of the tank. We had been told that it can be quite a shock as you pull out into the main channel and catch the flow, but we didn’t particularly notice it.
We had spray coming over the cratch cover at the bow and waves coming over the stern as the large passenger catamarans sped passed us. We did get the impression however that they were giving us a wide birth and slowing as they did so, so it could have been worse.
We had a check sheet which had all of the bridges and duly ticked them off as we passed, in case we forgot where we were, which added to the tension and excitement.#
Here we are going towards the Tower of London:-
Lazy Days approaching Tower Bridge
It was interesting seeing the famous sites from the river and we began to relax and enjoy the experience.
Keeping clear of the Houses of Parliament
I was glad to see the back of the houses of Parliament as I felt that that was a mile stone and it should get easier from here on in and Lazy Days engine had held out. After Westminster Bridge the river traffic reduced significantly and with it the large waves that had been buffeting us and causing a low pitched resonance along the bottom of the boat.
After about two hours we approached the Brentford junction where three other narrow boats pulled out in front of us and we all made our way up to Teddington Lock. In the lock there were 6 other boats, I couldn’t say whether we went up or down as we were still tying up when the gates were opened, it couldn’t have been much more than a foot difference.
We did have a mild panic about moorings as we made our way up the Thames as everywhere seemed to have been taken, it was after five o’clock in the afternoon and we were wishing that we had stayed at Teddington. At Kingston however there was plenty of moorings. We are now off for a well deserved drink.
I may have understated how are day has been. It has been one of the most exciting days we have had in a long time, yes bring on more.
Statistics so far
73.2 Miles, 60 Locks, 1 Swing Bridge, 2 Tunnels.