Seven years steering an unassuming narrowboat through the waterways of the "longest, friendliest village in England"  


Brentford solo descent to Bow Creek

Posted on October 12, 2017 at 4:55 AM

Including almost being rolled by a City Cruiser.

A previous phone call from Lennie to lock in on Weds morning tide. At 6oc!. meant having to go down on Tuesday as there are no [working] nav lights on Pentargon. Sunset is 5.20pm today in London.

Tues.10th October. Sunrise 7.15am BST 

6.20 Tide reaching top at John's boat but still flooding. Cast off at 6.30 and tied up outside Thameslock by 6.45am. Walk to Morrisons for 7oc opening and a bottle of milk and change to canary suit. Cast off at 7.30

Chiswick bridge 8am and Hammersmith 8.30. Albert Bridge 9.30. Tower 10.30 and Cutty Sark 1130 on slack side of the river. For the first time today the engine was revved higher than tickover. 12.10 rounded Blackwall Point in VHF with VTS on Ch14 and crossed over. With some difficulty as the last of the outgoing was on the north side right across Bow Creek mouth. Eventually cleared the lightship about 12.25 at a crawl and then hit the outgoing of the River Lea as the tide was gone from the Creek. Recollections of the Avonmouth entry into Bristol but much more tedious as the wind was competing with the flow to impede progress. 

Could not be arsed by 1oc and I got 17hrs to get to Bow Lock so I tied up and went for a siesta. By 14.30 there was plenty water under the boat and an inward tidal flow. By 1500 Pentargon was off BowLocks but unable to get in due to a very intrusive mudbank and fukn shopping trolley; in exactly the wrong place. But half an hour of faffin abart got the boat alongside and tied after a fashion. The next two hours was spent cleaning up the landing ala lengthsman. The site is in rag order. 

The four hour estimate from Brentford to Bow was well withing compass. I intentionally chose to use tickover all the way. But Greenwich reach and the outflow of Bow Creek put a full hour on the trip. The climb to Bow Locks is entirely down to tide lift, just as is the case at Dartford. 5m actual at Silvertown is needed to float Pentargon outside of BowLock. In the event Lennie arrived early the following morning and had opened the outside gates before 5.30, so befoe 6am I was already trawling up through duckweed scummed Three Mills with an hour and a half to go til sunrise.

later I'll tell you how a city cruiser tried to roll Pentargon over abeam Surrey Quays by powering past with no thought at all for what the bastard probably thought was a fragile narrowboat. And the fuck you attitude of London VTS when I contacted them. The cruiser put up 2m waves and suffice to say I lost only my boathook

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