Today was a complete contrast to yesterday’s bright sunshine. It’s been grey, wet and windy from start to finish. We wanted to get past Nash Mills before work starts there tomorrow: without that imperative we would have happily stayed put and had a nice cosy day in.
The first few locks were set against us and we seemed to be the only boat foolish enough to move. Then at the fourth lock, North Grove, we met a boat with three seemingly inexperienced narrowboatmen as crew. They told us that they had just bought the boat, which was fairly scrappy looking, in order to do it up and sell it on. They said they were heading to Maidstone via the River Medway and asked if we had taken our boat on the tidal Thames down to Gravesend. One said that they knew they had to head towards London and branch off somewhere to get to Limehouse rather than going towards Brentford: I wasn’t sure that they realised that they had a fair way to go until they got to Bull’s Bridge. One of the men had a lot of experience with cruisers and the route from the Thames to the Medway however this was his first time on a narrowboat and he had found it hard to steer and very powerless compared with cruisers. They were obviously struggling with it and Alan said they hadn’t managed to get into the wide open lock as we rounded a corner quite a distance away. Alan thought that the boat didn’t look in very good condition to be taken out past the Thames Barrier and wondered what state the engine was in.
At least the rest of the locks were set in our favour and we passed the area that BW call Sappi Graphics between the two Nash Locks (not sure why as there is nothing there to indicate that) and decided that was where the work was to be carried out as there was a large pontoon with what appeared to be a pile driver. There was just room for a boat to pass by. The old warehouse buildings are almost completely demolished and it is to be another of the big canalside housing developments.
We moored at the end of a long line of boats after the second Nash Lock. Over the next couple of hours a few more boats passed to get through before the closure. We can go on towards Berkhamsted (past Lock 56 before it closes on the 21st) but can’t go further until Bushes Lock re-opens next Saturday. It’s all a bit of a juggling act at present.
Today we did 4.16 Miles and 8 Locks
Statistics so far:-
2153.10 Miles, 1228 Locks, 120 Swing Bridges, 82 Lift Bridges, 36 Tunnels