Friday, 26 June 2015

Sun, Smiles, Sandwiches but no sex

Wednesday 24th June to Friday 26th June 2015

Considering that summer had been around for a few weeks already it had hardly been very inspiring - an occassional sight of the sun, certainly not for any length of time that would constitute any lazy days of summer anywhere, but that has certainly changed in this last few days.

It all started on Wednesday when we headed off from Waltham Marsh - started off as a bit overcast but also a bit humid - I think it only took until we were through the first lock before the sun appeared and stayed with us until we were moored at Tottenham Hale.

The moorings are fairly well defined here - basically where the bottom of the river doesn't appear through the top - unfortunately for us, our first attempt found us grounded about 5 metres out from the side, such was the lack of depth.

Diane did manage to hop off onto the towpath and neatly measured out a space further up into which we fitted just fine - in fact it was centimetre perfect.
Once mooring duties were completed, we headed off into town to the EE store - they were giving away Power Bars to customers who had registered and received a special code - but it was only whilst stock lasts.

A mobile recharging pack for phones, tablets etc

Next, where else would it be but a coffee at Costa for free download of missed TV shows and a walk back to the boat - I must say that for this entire time the sun was shining very brightly - maybe it was summer.
Diane also managed to make a booking for a mooring at the London Canal Museum for Thursday night - we had planned on making the transition from outer London to inner London in one go - about 18 lock-miles.
Back inside the M25 and now in London

No such thing as Slow Moored Boats - they are all stationary

One for Paul as a memory

Well set up here for there mooring - especially liked the cascading water-feature
in the top right hand side

This one we liked - sums up the sentiments of a lot of people
In order to achieve this we decided to leave early, just in case of any delays or problems - we did expect problems with the weed around Lea Bridge and to say that we were not disappointed is a bit of a double negative - we had expected it but it would have been nice if it hadn't happened.

The weed-cutter seems to be fighting a losing battle

Here you can see the surface weed...

...but like an iceberg, there is so much more below the water line

I spent 15 minutes down the weed hatch with the murky rotten stuff mixed in with a couple of plastic bags and some cloth off-cut - all of it wrapped tightly around the prop shaft.

We had decided to take the short-cut along the Hertford Union Canal - much shorter and less locks - and we hadn't been along there before.

All the way down we had seen places that just 3 weeks previously were all full of boats -sometimes double and even triple moored, but now we found plenty of places where we could have moored up.

Along the Hertford Union, I had expected it also to have been full up, but well pleased to see any number of mooring spots - could it be that CRT are now patrolling the London spots and starting to move boats along.
turned onto the Hertford Union

it is a pretty little canal

We made a brief stop at the junction with the Regents Canal to visit The Little Boat Shop chandlery; having heard good reports about their prices, we thought that we should at least have a look - which we would have done, except they were closed until 30th June.

So onwards; our early start worked against us when we made it to the Museum mooring at about 12:30pm - way too early -"Could you come back no earlier than 3:30pm, in case we get a tripboat calling in?" .
never tire of seeing the bird life and their off-spring

This photo we took in late May... the same spot a month later
exiting Islington tunnel

a few weeks ago, Diane decided to block out the bright daylight - particularly
in the mornings - and used a couple of black T-shirts - little realising that the
print would show - she could not have positioned it better if she had tried.

We headed out and turned left (west) and just around the corner we found a 24 hour  mooring at King's Cross, which suited our needs - these were private moorings available to boaters in general; the ranger took our details and we settled in - very bright sun had continued.
Diane phoned the museum to cancel our booking.
There is a building site next door and right across the canal is a tiered seating area occupied by hundreds of people - whom we had thought to be on their lunch break.

We secured the boat and headed off to Camden Markets to have a look around - Diane had visited there but I had only seen it whilst in transit on the boat.

Not being a great lover of crowds, I can now cross that off my list of places visited - now firmly with a black mark next it, meaning that I do not need to do it again.

Meanwhile our return to the boat (sun was still shining brightly with no sign of letting up) saw the hordes across the way as populous as before - it was now mid-afternoon and we couldn't understand why there were still so many there - it was not like there were any great sights that they could see, but they persisted.

Finally about 5pm the numbers did start to recede - we thought it was finally time for them to go home - well about 6pm the numbers were growing again and they all seemed to now be equipped with picnic hampers, glasses and many bottles of alcohol.
They appeared to be out to enjoy the sun and have a bit of dining alfresco style.

....crowds, and....

....and still bleeding crowds -haven't you got homes to go to
We spotted at least two couples that fell into the category of  "You should getta room" - a lot of groping and exploring each others tonsils.

At 9pm with the sun having its last fling there were still at least 100 or so there and they were not exactly whispering - we went to bed about an hour later with still quite a lot around and the associated level of noise.
It was not really surprising, that given how early we had started the moring cruising we managed to fall asleep - despite our neighbours.

In the morning they had all gone - miraculously - and with very little residue of their presence - it was all so peaceful and quiet.

Today's options were
Plan A: moor up at Alperton,outside the Sainsbury and have the weekend there - which as Diane knew would also involve lunch at her favourite Chinese restaurant.
Plan B: check out the moorings in Paddington Basin and if one was available then we would grab it for the weekend.

Of course this meant doing Plan B first - as we really had finished all that we wanted to do in London for the time being, it would be no great setback if there was no space available.

Heading off early we were through the locks at Camden Market before there were many (any) people about; the subsequent cruising along the Regents Canal to Little Venice was sublime - the sun was barely out from the light cloud cover and there was a little warmth in the air, but not too hot at all (yet!).

We were preceded into the basin by NB Julanda, so that meant there would need to be 2 spots; we passed by NB Jeanie Deans at Rembrandt Gardens - they are fellow bloggers.

Our Plan B did not eventuate, although we did observe that CRT have stopped boats mooring up to rings along from the pontoons but well away from the end winding hole - Diane was a bit disappointed with this and has sent off an email asking why this was done when there are already too few spots there already - no reply as yet.

So no luck there, and we had no desire to moor up at the length along Little Venice although there were spots available - we do not wish to have any confrontation with anyone wanting to breast up - well at least Diane didn't - I was up for an argument.

By this point the sun had comeout in full force and it was getting quite hot, so the last 5 miles were again quitenice, just cruising along without any concerns.
This boat amused us with the lack of windows - that would solve the morning
sun problem

This is Giant Hogweed - the plant itself has a rather TOXIC sap - if you get it
on your skin it leaves serious burns and can even be fatal in serious cases

Having made it to Alperton it was very nice to find plenty of space, so no problems and we moored up with no fuss.

A pleasant way to end the travels for now.

26 Miles, 18 Locks. 2 Tunnels
YTD: 489 Miles, 295 Locks, 12 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 13 Swing Bridges

Totals: 3383 Miles, 2416 Locks, 110 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 164 Swing Bridges


  1. Your King's Cross mooring looks like the one by Central St Martin's art college - I wouldn't mind betting those were students having finished their exams! If you'd walked up towards the buildings you would have walked across Granary Square which has an array of those fountains that disappear then bubble up again - I took a photo last year thopugh not v good as they were a bit unpredictable! (
    Best wishes

    1. Thanks Debby,
      been a bit slack in replying to you, but your comments help to explain it - students finishing exams is a fair enough excuse for having a bit of a drink with friends - they did all seem to be having a good time