Which Wey To Go? 4th June

Shepperton Village Visitor Moorings to Pyrford Marina

This morning we needed to leave the Thames, once we’d breakfasted we pushed off into the current still flowing quickly around the island. As we passed the top of the island we tried to count the number of woofers, we couldn’t as they were all too busy having fun running around with their walkers making a blur of wagging tails.

Quite a pack!

People were already enjoying a morning coffee at D’Oyly’s on D’Oyly Carte Island, the sun doing it’s best to show it’s face. We brought Oleanna round to the junction below Shepperton Lock, here so many channels weave around, weir cuts, islands, it’s quite confusing as to which wey to go. Having been here before we knew which wey the Wey was. Straight on, but left of straight on. There is a green sign to help you.

The stop lock gate was open, so we pulled in to moor below Thames Lock and walked up to find the Lock Keeper. We’d arrived at a busy time, the lock was just about to be filled for two boats coming down off the River Wey, there were two Lock Keepers, one in training. We were asked our draught, 2ft 6″, the Stop Lock would be needed to raise the level below Thames Lock to get us over the cill. The gate behind us was closed and we were instructed to mind our lines when they emptied Thames Lock, the two downhill boats would then come into the stop lock, keeping to their left and once we could get round and into the lock we could do-ci-do with them.

Getting ready to do-ci-do

The stop lock rose by about a foot, giving us enough depth over the bottom cill of Thames Lock. Our ropes were taken up to the top of the lock, popped round bollards and returned to us, the stern line passed round a yellow post, the gates closed behind us and then we had to wait for the other two boats on the stop lock to be set free out onto the Thames. Then we were gradually raised up in the lock, the sluices giving a big arc of water into the lock, finally after several minutes the plume of water was submerged and quiet returned.

Waiting to go up

Time to sort out our licence. We explained to the Lock Keeper what we were wanting to do and it was decided we’d be wanting a return transit licence and then maybe a single transit licence when we returned. We paid a deposit for a windlass to fit their sluices, a very long handle, we’ll compare our collection to see if we have anything already suitable for the next time we visit.

Then we were on our wey, just as another boat was arriving wanting to descend. The lady who was in training has waited three weeks with no boats and now today was the busiest day this year!

A much slower river than the Thames

I sent a message ahead to inform crew of another boat that we were now on our/the Wey (I’ll stop this soon I promise!). It was 2019 when we cruised the River Wey, run by the National Trust. Here you are asked to leave lock gates open when you leave a lock, but always close the sluices. You must use fore and aft lines and turn your engine off, when ascending a lock the stern line must be passed round the yellow post right at the back of the lock, this stops your boat from being dragged forwards as the lock fills. All these things we remembered, this time it didn’t feel wrong leaving gates open.

This wey!

Weybridge Town Lock goes off the river at a right angle just after a bridge, you can’t see if the bottom gates are open, so I walked up to check, it was in our favour. With the bow line on the roof of the cratch and a boat hook to grab it we were sorted and made our way up the lock.

Coxes Lock

On to Coxes Lock below the big mill. The lock was against us so we made use of the lock landing being on the port side to empty the yellow water tank whilst we could. This did mean another boat came from above and reset the lock for us just as we’d finished our chores. This is the deepest unmanned lock on the River Wey and the bottom gates are really quite heavy, a bar on a chain means you can pull them closed without having to stand right on the edge of a large drop.

Mick helping out

A message from ahead, filling with water and then they’d be on their wey towards us.

New Haw Lock

New Haw Lock with it’s awkward cranked metal beams requires some umph to close, the road most probably an addition after the navigation was built. But as the lock fills you have time to admire the pretty lock cottage.

Without!

A long straight passing under the M25 again, we were now without. The graffiti here was worth taking note of, well about half of it, some very fine work. Past the end of the Basingstoke Canal and straight on. Was this where we moored for our day out to Brooklands? Woods surround the canal, but the sound from the M25 lingers totally out of place with the view.

Up ahead the bow of a narrowboat came into view. Two people sat in the bow, was this them? Someone else stood up in the welldeck, it was! A wave between boats and then a slowing down. Ann-Marie and Dave on NB Legend were giving Mum and Dad a cruise down to New Haw. There was chance to say a quick hello and that they would come and find us later on.

Dave and NB Legend

Soon we arrived at Pyrford Marina, we turned in and pulled up onto the service mooring, the water tank started filling, rubbish disposed of and the button pressed to call the office. No answer came so Mick walked over returning with someone to fill our diesel tank, £1.05 at 10% split, the cheapest we’ve had this year. Mick had been given instructions as to where we were to moor, we could then head back to the office to pay.

Bow tied to a short stumpy pontoon and stern to a post, we had a late lunch before going to pay our bill. The marina isn’t cheap, but no marinas are in this part of the country, they did come and put £10 electric on the post for us. The washing machine went into overdrive. Washing was hung up to dry all over the place by the time Ann-Marie and Dave arrived for a cuppa and a catch up.

Ann-Marie is from this part of the country and a few years ago they got stuck on the Basingstoke Canal for months, a lock gate was broken and by the time a new one could be made the canal would not have enough water for them to be able to fill the locks, then there was winter maintenance on the horizon and a lot of lock gates were going to be removed. A window of opportunity arrived with enough water before the canal closed. As they made their way down the locks gates that would normally be firmly closed behind them and ashed up to save water leakage were actually being taken out by crane.

Bye!

Mick last saw them in Goole October/November 2021, they kindly kept an eye on Oleanna for us whilst I was working on Panto and Mick returned to the house for a few days. I’d last seen them in 2019 as we were both heading for the Thames from the Kennet and Avon, they would be following us up stream. That however didn’t go according to plan. Mick and Oleanna managed to battle their way upstream with the Thames in flood, NB Legend didn’t have enough engine power and they ended up mooring on the high sided bank at Wallingford. Here they stayed with the river in flood, adding posts to keep them from going over the bank, then lockdown happened, they were moored there when the levels went down, stepping onto the roof from the bank, seven months in all. There have been other stories of incidents, go to their blog to read about the Trent, Eeek!!

Earlier this year they made the decision that they would move back onto land, the network just about cruised and grandchildren to watch grow. So this was most probably the last time our bows would cross as NB Legend will be going on the market later this year. So glad we ended up in the same place at the right time. They have projects planned, converting a van into a motorhome, there’s no keeping them still. All the best for your future adventures.

4 locks, 5.8 miles, 1 long windlass, 2 bows passing for the last time, 4 loads washing, 75 litres, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 1 very bored cat!

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One thought on “Which Wey To Go? 4th June

  1. SAM

    Yeahbut…..
    Does that green sign point hard left or straight on, to the left of the sign?
    We wondered that when we were there.
    SAM
    NB ‘Red Wharf’

    Reply

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