Farewell HS1. Hello Hackney! Breach 55 17th July

St Pancras Cruising club to Marshgate Bridge 15, River Lee Navigation

Aire and Calder Breach Site 17/7/2021

Back in Yorkshire it looks like it’s been a lovely day and a good one for drone flying, Mark has been back to the breach site today. Thank you Mark for letting me use you photos.


The breach site has been without water for quite sometime now, there are plants growing on the silt on the southern side. The little boats are back that were used to get across the canal in the early days of the cofferdam, it also looks like the small tug is back on site.


In the above photo you can see that the access road has had a change in direction. It now leads across the eastern side of the cofferdam to what looks like a little pool of water.


This is where, when the cofferdam was built, they discovered a void behind the original piling on the south side. This had a temporary fix done to it to make the dam water tight. Now the top has a new concrete edge, a more substantial fix having been made.


Back on the north bank it looks like they have started to remove some of the aggregate that was being used as an access road. Parts of it have been dug out.


The piling now has a top edge, capped off to neaten it off. The concrete over the drain below has now been brought out to meet the level of the piling, neatening it all off. The surrounding bits of towpath have been filled in and levelled off.


Here’s hoping that when they raise the water levels everything remains water tight. Then the next stage will be removing the cofferdam and reopening the navigation.

Meanwhile back in London

Mick in the blue

We dropped into the Geraghty Saturday morning zoom for about ten minutes before paying for our mooring and making ready to push off. Graeme had his crew arrive, Roy and Jamie.

Mick walked down the gunnel of the boat in front of us and pulled our bow rope, pivoting Oleanna so that her nose poked out from the other boats. Terry from NB Flora Dora gave us a final push with a pole as Mick cranked the engine up, our extrication from the basin far easier than we’d thought it would be.

Oleanna leaving St Pancras

The sun was out, the sky blue, we were both lathered in sun cream, the world looked good. Once in the lock Mick got out his new propmate ready to clear the prop, making sure he put his hand through the string. There had been no point in doing so before we got out past all the weed in the basin.

Misty Blue

NB Misty Blue soon followed us out and the two boats were ready to descend towards the Lee Navigation.

St Pancras Lock

With plenty of crew our cruise would be plain sailing. We dropped down St Pancras Lock and said our goodbyes to the basin, thank you all for making us feel welcome and giving us somewhere to be whilst we headed to Scarborough, Huddersfield and attempted to sort the washing machine. But I have to say I won’t miss the trains early in the morning.

Last of the gas holders in their original place

A short distance on by Goodsway Bridge there is part of one of the gas holders left to mark where they had originally stood. Then on to Islington Tunnel. A lady moored on the offside just before the tunnel ask if we could lend a hand. Last night they had their rowing boat stolen, it was used to break in to a charity boat on the other side of the tunnel. If we could see it could we make sure it was tide up safe for her to collect later.

We had to wait for a trip boat to come through then the way was clear, NB Misty Blue following on behind. The rowing boat was tied up on the moorings so safe for now, maybe the lady would be able to get someone to tow it back through the tunnel for her.

Swapping at City Road Lock

A boat was just coming up City Road Lock, so we swapped over and waited for our lock partners to join us.

Lots to see. Interesting boats, graffiti all with the sun beating down on us.

A couple of volunteers were on duty at Old Ford Lock, they helped us down meaning we could stay on board and get ready to turn left onto Ducketts Cut, The Hertford Union Canal. With only three locks and 1.2 miles long the canal is easy, it cuts the corner on going down to Limehouse Basin and back up to the Olympic Park, which is 4.7 miles and 6 locks.

Misty Blue led the way, onto new waters for her and her crew.

More colourful boats, the Dad of the flamingo we’d seen up near Tring a few weekends ago and C&RT signs that are now totally unintelligible! We think the mooring sign used to say 4 hours, but we’re not sure!

Loads of spray cans, it must cost a small fortune

At Old Ford Lower Lock a chap was busy creating on the wall alongside. For as long as we can remember this wall has always had graffiti on it. Today it was getting a refreshed look. The face of a green man was appearing as the chap worked away. I was interested in how they work.

As a Scenic Artist I usually have reference to work from, a scale model, this chap kept looking at his phone. The chap said the wall was usually planned out before hand, but not always sometime it was just how the mood took him. He was however following whatever was on his phone quite religiously. I said I looked forward to seeing how it turned out when we return in a week or twos time. He said it was going to be a really good one, but that it would have been painted over by the time we come back.

Here is where the two boats parted company.

Misty Blue heading south

Graeme and crew on NB Misty Blue turned southwards with the aim of cruising round City Mill River to see the stadium, his crew being West Ham supporters.

We turned northwards up into Hackney Wick. Blimey the river was busy! Moo canoes filled the water, the towpath was chocka, bars and restaurants were filled to the gunnels, the whole area alive and buzzing.


The graffiti artist who has the ‘I ♥ Eggs’ as their tag has decorated one of the bridges. They have moved on from just their tag that appears near St Pancras, now there are fried eggs to accompany it.

We moored by the Copper Box for our first Christmas afloat in 2014, large areas of the land surrounding it have changed so much. It was what felt like desolate wasteland before, now it is filled with buildings.

Gainsborough School and footbridge

We passed under the footbridge from Josh’s old junior school where we once moored on Lillian, this stretch now permanent moorings. Onwards northwards the only gaps in the moorings were too shallow, but we knew somewhere we’d be able to moor.

Up ahead tucked in behind a bush we could make out a riveted hull, then the red and green of the cabin side came into view, we slowed down and prepared to pull alongside NB Billy. An exchange of messages yesterday with Clare meant we’d be passing today, but they had decided to stay another night at Hackney Marshes and offered for us to moor alongside.

See you somewhere up the way

We’d only really just got settled when NB Misty Blue came past, sadly Old Ford Lock was closed on the Lee so their trip around the loop hadn’t been possible. As we are heading in the same direction our paths are likely to cross again in the next week or so.

Clare and Pete returned from a bike ride round the Marshes. We decided to do a do-si-do, for us to be on the inside and them on the outside. This would mean we were ready for them to push off in the morning and Tilly could have shore leave without passing over another boat. We swapped sides, possibly confusing a boat who thought it’s luck was in as both boats pulled out, but then snuck back into the same spot.

NB Billy

NB Billy should have been long gone, but they had had an incident with a large chunk of tree and their prop a week ago. A lot of damage was caused and necessitated being in dry dock for a day, their prop blades were distorted, it sheared off 8 bolts from the shaft coupling and dumped their propshaft into their bilge. But all is just about right now, just a bit of packing needed in Billy’s stern gland.

As we chatted Tilly came and went, her calculations went slight array when she attempted to leap from the stern which os moored out at quite a distance. A big splash, one soggy cat extricated herself from the cut onto the bank and ran inside, to be grabbed by me with a Tilly towel. I’d told her not to go off the back! It was all planned, a nice cooling dip!

Tilly having a bath after her dip

Now we have yet another dirty towel needing washing with no washing machine!

8 locks, 5.83 miles, 1 tunnel, 0 mysterons, 2 lefts, 3 canals, 1 Goole escapee partner, 5 crew, 1 propmate, 1 hot day, 1 prearranged mooring, 1 Billy, 1 soggy moggy, 1 do-si-do, 1 noisy towpath, 1 bouncy castle, 54,674 cases!


2 thoughts on “Farewell HS1. Hello Hackney! Breach 55 17th July

    1. Pip Post author

      Blimey that would be a bit of a swim to get out! I bet the ferry doesn’t have a handy button fender to aid feline escape.

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