1000. 30th September

Shepperton Public Mooring to Windsor Road Bridge

That’s a big un

Coming round Desborough Island we came across a huge boat, Magna Carte a luxury hotel boat, prices are stated in US dollars a more stable currency at the moment. They must have just come through Shepperton Lock, the bottom gates wide open. Next year we hope to be turning left here to head to the Basingstoke Canal, water levels permitting.

Kath and Sean to the left, Chippy straight on

I was just getting ready to step off and work the lock when a chap appeared from the Lock cottage, more like house on the Thames. He waved us in and worked the lock for us.

More houses for sale today, small properties which no doubt will be bought and knocked down to build something more modern. The house on the end of Pharoah’s Island that was for sale a few years ago is having extensive work done to it, several boats moored alongside used to bring building materials over to the island.

Chertsey and Penton Hook Locks were both manned, a helpful reminder from a Lock Keeper about the side filling locks coming up today. We passed two chaps in a canoe who are working their way from Bristol to London, we wondered which way into London they’d go. A friend of mine once canoed downstream of Tower Bridge on an organised event!

The trees are still very well clipped in Staines-on-Thames. Was that a platform for a duck disco? We pulled in at the first lower mooring and Mick bobbed off to pick up a prescription and some fruit. As soon as he was back we were on our way again, hoping to reach a good mooring before the storm arrived mid afternoon.

Mick spotted a familiar flag on the bow of a cruiser, a fellow Reflection Flotilla boat. I spotted a polar bear.

Then we were going under the M25, we were now without! Bell Weir Lock is the first of the side fillers, an extra turn around a bollard helps a great deal at these locks. But our position made it impossible to get the bow rope round twice without intervention from the Lock Keeper, who just walked on by to open the sluices. I clung on as best I could, dodgy grip in one hand and cranky shoulder complaining. Must try harder at the next side filler!

The little backwater

Harry Roberts had a little holiday caravan and a rowing boat that Mick and friends used to row down a little back water, far too small for Oleanna to fit down. Runnymede and all it’s history remains on the ‘next time’ list. Maybe we should get a gold Licence again next year!

All the trip boats were tucked up as were the Bugsy Malone cars under the posh house on stilts!

Old Windsor Lock was on self service. The first time we’d done this one without a Lockie, blimey there’s a load of steps here! I forgot about holding the button for ten seconds on the control panel, so it took a while to fill, giving me time to adjust the bow line and chat to a couple who’d just moved to the area from Lincoln. The lock had a big sign beside it requiring you to close the top gates and leave it emptying.

Albert Bridge, the start of the Royal park land. Today a black car with two chaps followed us on the bank, perimeter security maybe?

Shallow was an understatement!

By now the wind was starting to strengthen, it was time to pull in somewhere and batten down the hatches before the storm really got going. The public mooring just after Kris hire boats had one boat moored on it, would we fit in there too? Two chaps sat on a bench said it was shallow, as did signs on the low wall. We soon discovered how shallow it was as we ran aground several meters out. It took a bit of umph to get us back afloat, next possible stop Eton above Romney Lock.

He’ll get soggy later

A dad and young lad stood at the control panel as I approached with our boat hook in hand. He was closing the bottom gate sluices with the intention of filling the lock. They were from one of the big Le Boat hire boats and it was most probably their first self service lock. It took a while for me to get through to him that it would be really good if we could use the water he’d be filling the lock with as it was in our favour.

Filling up

In we came, I hooked up the bow line that had been left resting on the cratch board and tied the bow to a bollard securely. Mick passed his rope round a bollard at the stern a couple of times, this was a side filler. Only one push of the button was required for it to start the process of filling and the sluices continued to rise at intervals. We were soon up and on our way to find a mooring.

The first time we came through Windsor people moored in the lock cut, but that is not allowed anymore. We pootled along thinking we’d end up mooring on the Brocas infront of my Aunt and Uncles old flat. But we quickly spied that the free mooring just before Windsor Road Bridge was empty, we headed straight for it.


Here there are several signs, EA signs saying not to run your engine/generator/ play loud music, 24 hour mooring. Others from Eton Riverside Management Ltd saying to only tie to the rings not the railings as it’s a public right of way. Then two new looking signs saying Private Land, they didn’t say ‘No Mooring’. Hmmmm! The official signs out numbered the other signs and a storm was just starting to take hold and we’d be quiet anyway. We stayed put suspecting the new signs were from a boat hating flat owner, hoping to put boats off mooring.

Tilly was disgruntled not to be let out as we battened down the hatches and bang on 3pm it started to rain. It rained, then rained some more, the sound on the front panel of the pram cover suggesting it was very heavy. If anyone did have a problem with us mooring here, they certainly weren’t going to come out to tell us so!

Our view of Windsor Castle

On checking our trip computer at the end of todays cruise I noticed that the total mileage for this year so far had just passed 1000 miles. We’re actually likely to have exceeded 1000 miles as the trip computer tends to cut corners. Add to this the miles yet to come returning to Yorkshire, so around another 300 miles, I don’t think we’ll have C&RT on our backs for not moving enough!

Our trip computer works using Water Explorer, which come the end of the year will no longer exist. It’s been handy knowing how many locks and miles we’ve done each day. Sometimes it gets things wrong, you very often go through Beeston Lock twice and omits others. But as a general tally of where we’ve been and what what miles we’ve covered it’s been good, I will miss it. We just need to sort out what we’ll use instead, not many GPS programs will count the number of locks you go through.

6 locks, 2 self service, 13.68 miles, 6 nights 8 people $40,500! 1 pause for pills, 1 duck disco, 2 shallow, 3pm rain, 0 shore leave, 1 wet night, 1000.55 miles this year.


7 thoughts on “1000. 30th September

    1. Pip Post author

      Water explorer is going. We may have to bin our trip computer as it runs on windows xp, quite happy on its own little network.

    1. Pip Post author

      Hi Dave

      I’ll quote from the email the site owner sent us:

      Back in 2007 I started a project called Water Explorer, to provide the first UK GPS based canal maps & “sat nav”. This was at a time when phones were running on 2G services, WAP was the most popular mobile tech and the iPhone had only just been launched !

      I’ve had thousands of visitors to the site in the past 15 years, with several thousand route recordings made, covering hundreds of thousands of miles.

      The website and Windows application needs a significant rewrite and improvements made to keep up with modern technology and legal requirements.

      I don’t have the free time to dedicate to this project, so I’m making the reluctant decision to close the site at the end of 2022.

      Once again, thank you to everyone who has helped build it, suggest improvements and use it.

      I will be retaining the domain name, and in the future I may restart the project using modern tech, but no timescales on that decision!

      Regards, Stuart.

      I’m not surprised by this. There has been no development work on this site for quite some time and I did wonder if it was sitting on a forgotten server somewhere happily running all by itself.
      It has been very useful for us. It is the only GPS based app I’ve found that counts the locks you go through. We may have to do this manually from January.


  1. Dave (Scouts)

    As he is keeping the domain it seems to me that he is thinking of upgrading in the future. I’m ok with building websites and have access to colleagues who could help but a windows app or android app is beyond my skills

    1. Pip Post author

      Yes, beyond my skills too. I’ve learned a small amount about WordPress and hosting in setting up this blog but once we get into coding it is mostly gobbledegook. If anyone were to set up something these days an iphone app and an Android app would be the way to go because that’s what everyone has available. Water Explorer is a Windows programme (could be persuaded to work on Linux) that uploads the days cruising data gpx file to a web site. We have an old old little Dell notebook that runs Windows XP and is fine for the job. I’ve got until the end of December to decide what to do but at the moment I’m thinking to keep it simple and just put the days data (gleaned from an Android phone) and enter it on a spreadsheet locally.


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