Byfleet Cruising Club to Hampton Court Palace, River Thames
The fast people on the M25 didn’t relent all night, at least this meant it lulled us to sleep with it’s repetitiveness. A lady was sat out on her tug deck in front of us as we came to pull out, she gave me a few pointers of things to do whilst on the Thames, along with suggesting that I might want to dunk the bow rope as a dog had just relieved itself on it.
We met boats at each of the locks on the Wey today, there seemed to be a constant stream of boats heading upstream. Maybe it’s because we’re on a river that people don’t look to see if anyone is coming when a lock is set against them, we had another couple turned in front of us today.
An elderly couple worked their cruiser up at Coxes Lock as plenty of gongoozlers watched on, one young chap helped the lady out with gates and paddles which she was very grateful for.
At Town Lock, the last we’d work ourselves, crew from an upstream boat appeared and helped with the gates. It was their first trip up the Wey in about ten years. The lady wondered why she’d been given a long handled windlass, give me a fulcrum and a lever,that is until she started to try to lift a bottom paddle with her normal windlass. I asked if they’d been told about the yellow posts, they had but didn’t see why. I explained that it was a very good method and it had worked well for us. Later on I found out that they like you to do it because the National Trust don’t board their top gates, so recesses can catch your bow and a lot of damage can be done to both boat and gates. She asked if we needed one gate or two, two please, them’s the rules!
Her boat was eager and already turning the sharp bend to enter the lock, not having realised we were in the lock and in his way. He soon spotted us and reversed back to give us space.
We pulled in where we’d stopped on our first night opposite the very posh houses for a bite to eat and to let the Lock Keepers at Thames Lock have their break too. Then we waved our posh neighbours goodbye and cruised the half mile to the lock.
Ian and a volunteer were seeing a cruiser into the bottom pound/chamber. Water was let down to give them enough depth to get over the cill. We’d not been on their list of boats for today, our licence still valid for a few more days. I handed back our windlass and we watched as the cruiser came up the lock. We weren’t the only ones, three benches face the lock and every space was occupied.
Ropes round bollards and the chaps let the water out into the lower pound for us, there’d be more than enough depth for us. We paused to top up with water in the bottom pound as the level was dropped for us down to River Thames level.
It felt like we’ve been on the Wey for at least a month, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time and would highly recommend it. We look forward to returning to hopefully do the Basingstoke earlier in a year when they have more water, plans are already being talked about.
From the narrow quiet river we came out to the wide Thames, masses of ways we could go, numerous boats of all shapes and sizes everywhere. Blimey it’s busy!
We headed down stream, first overtaking a paddle boarder, then being overtaken ourselves by a trip boat who then proceeded to wind in front of us. Plenty of traffic out and about, lots of people finishing off a Sunday cruise.
At Sunbury Locks the lock gates were open and waiting for us, several other boats were already with their bow and stern lines round bollards. Mick mentioned to the Lockie as we entered that we’d be needing a licence, he was told to tie up the stern loosely and go to the hut to settle up. A volunteer set the lock in motion all the time keeping an eye on our stern rope whilst Mick paid for a months licence.
On we pootled down stream keeping an eye out for moorings, not many available but we were hoping for a space further on. Molesey Lock was waiting for us again, several boats waiting patiently. Five boats in these locks is no where near a tight squeeze. Under the first bridge and a short distance on we saw a possible gap just where we’d hoped. Mick winded Oleanna and brought her round to the gap. It would be a tight squeeze but the chaps from the boats either side popped out to see if they could help. The one in front pulled forward a few feet and in we slid. We’re on a bit of a bend, so neither our bow or stern are into the side, but it will do us, just where we wanted.
Tilly for some reason had got herself into a Tilly Tizzy, shouting at the back doors as if we’d come through a tunnel. No chance of her going out in such a state, especially as she clambered so much to get out that she managed to give me quite a scratch. After a few minutes she calmed down, but the decision had been made, she’d be staying in today and having her flee treatment. Bast**ds!!!!
Back on the Thames. A three bedroom chalet. How much is it on the market for? It has moorings both front and back!
6, maybe 7 locks, 10.72 miles, 2 rivers, 1 right, 4 days early, 31 days licence, 1 galleon, 1 last space, 1 Tilly Tizzy, 1 roast chicken.