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


Charcoal on the Lea

Posted on October 17, 2017 at 1:50 PM

The way the tides were timing, the boat had to be out on the river, maybe behind Lot's Ait, maybe tied longside John Kenton for a dawn departure. She came out of Thameslock on a flooding mid afternoon tide, but the flow outside was so strong she could not make against it and had to tie up til the flow slackened, about sundown! Having overnighted alongside John Kenton's "Thames Queen", she slipped early morning and under cover of darkness with the last of the still rising tide to be out on the fairway at slack high, about 7am.

We then had to wait til dawn (well official sunrise if you must be pedantic) because Pentargon has no working nav lights at the moment .

By this time the downflow should be just starting and from then on it was a matter of taking the increasing flow right through London to arrive at Blackwall point at low water. By sticking the nose into Bow Creek and either fighting the outflow of the Lea or going aground or anchoring. the tide would eventually turn and once we had 5m at Silvertown we would have enough water to take up up to the lock at Bow. We had booked the lock through official channels with a date and time. That was the bookwork side sorted. We then established direct comms with the lock-keeper an old friend who knows right well that book plans and tidal reality rarely co-incide.

Between us we decided the best time to come in was on the 5.30am tide. Adjustments were made and we tied up at the lock cottage on top of the flood about 4.30  to let an ebb and a second flood pass us by and ready for a very early entry to the Limehouse Cut. Everything went to plan and we tied up for a cuppa at the magic ring about 6.30 and later went up VickyE20 and onwards to our bunkering. Suffice to say almost 150kg of best quality paraguayan lumpwood was stowed on the roof by 9.30 when we said hello to Laurie Watkins and admired his lovely new (104yo) dutch barge.  

I'm just reserving the blog dates.The stories will come later. (1858/17/10/2017)

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