Journey North 16: Marlow – Henley

8 miles, 3 locks

A lovely sunny evening’s cruising to Henley.  

Salters Steamer

Temple Island

Our mooring in Henley for the next day or so is on the Henley Royal Regatta course.

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Journey North 15: Molesey – Marlow

31 miles, 11 locks

A good days’s boating along the beautiful Thames. 

At Staines we stopped to buy diesel from fuel boat Merchant – we always try to buy from working boats where possible.

Then on through Windsor where there was a huge equestrian event going on including carriage driving. By this time the sun was out and it was a beautiful day for boating. 

Now we’re tied up below the lock on the visitors moorings in Marlow but tomorrow we won’t go far as I need to log in and do some work! 

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Journey North 14: Bulls Bridge – Molesey

16 miles, 15 locks

The tide at Brentford was at 1pm so we spent the morning locking down the Hanwell flight. 

The old asylum at Hanwell

It was hard work because the paddle gear seemed to be lacking in grease so the lower locks particularly were stiff. But we had the bike for lockwheeling and a boat several locks in front was drawing paddles for us so we had a good road. 

Then after a brief stop at Thames lock it was out onto the tidal river! I’ve rowed this section and we did this section on Lucky Duck being towed by Jim and Sarah Warrior on our first ever trip. 

Richmond Half Tide lock

We went through Teddington lock where we bought our Thames licence then carried on up through Kingston and Molesey Lock, eventually finding some nice moorings at Hurst Park. We’d hopes to find space at Hampton Court but it was full even at 2:30pm.

Then once moored we went back into Kingston on the bus to deliver James’s hired suit back to Moss Bros. We were also meeting a friend in Kingston so we stayed around and had first waffles and ice cream then pizza before drinks in the Ram! Then back on the bus. 

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Journey North 13: Battleb ridge Basin – Bulls Bridge 

16 miles, 4 locks

We are on our way again today after a wonderful week or so in London at the Cavalcade and celebrating our wedding. 

Yesterday, after seeing family we slipped our moorings in Battlebridge Basin and set off along the Regent’s canal for the next stage of our journey, along the Thames and up through Oxford to Birmingham. It was a glorious day for boating.

Of course Camden was packed!

Once out of central London we didn’t want to stop until we got to Bulls Bridge but we did tie up alongside our friends who live on their beautiful ex BCN day boat Raleigh in Southall. 

Molly the cat pays a visit

There was a perfect Willow sized space on the 24h moorings at Tesco so we happily stopped for the night.

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A New Journey: Hackney Town Hall – London Canal Museum 

2 miles, 3 locks 

Photo Brian McGuigan

I want to dedicate a whole post with lots of photos when they are ready to the 6th May 2017, the most wonderful day and the start of a new adventure for us. For now here is a lovely photo taken by Brian of nb Alton and our colleague at Bollington of us as we set off after the ceremony to our reception by boat.

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Journey North 12: Uxbridge – Paddington 

19 miles, 1 lock

We’ve made it to London! 

A mostly lock free day for the last stretch into London proper.

Our Cavalcade mooring isn’t ready yet so we tied up alongside Tench just outside the entrance to Paddington station. This is particularly appropriate as Tench is on tour with Kate Saffin and Heather Wastie’s Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways show. Willow as an ex Idle Women boat (used for a short time as part of a wartime scheme to train women to steer cargo carrying narrow boats) and features in one of Heather’s pieces. Find out more about the show and the tour here http://www.alarumtheatre.co.uk/

After tying up we went out for drinks and dinner with some boaters friends to celebrate Alison’s birthday, hence the late post!

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Journey North 12: Rickmansworth – Uxbridge 

6 miles, 7 locks

Just a short afternoon’s hop down to Uxbridge so that we are closer to Little Venice for tomorrow.

While stopped in Ricky for me to work, James has been busy polishing Willow’s cabin so that it looks nice for the Cavalcade and the wedding. Willow does look so much better after a good polish. It brings out a depth to the blue and we do try to look after the excellent paint job and signwriting. The white letters are beginning to fade though so I need to get my brushes out when we get to Bollington and go over Dave Moore’s lettering.

I kept admiring Willow when it was my turn to be on the bank lock working 

The weather was very indecisive today but mostly we had sunshine for the pretty section along the Colne Valley 

Now we’re tied up outside the Swan and Bottle in Uxbridge.

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Journey North 11: Berkhamstead – Rickmansworth 

14 miles 30 locks

Our mooring in Berkhamstead last night

The sun shone for another day of non stop Grand Union locks. There really is very little let up to get time to grab a sandwich or a cuppa! But we had fantastic weather and many of the locks were in our favour although we didn’t share any of them.

Canalplan estimated we’d arrive here at 8pm and we made it by half six.  

Under the M25!

We’ll be here for a few days now as I have to work Monday and Tuesday. 

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Journey North 10: Soulbury – Berkhamstead

18 miles 28 locks

A fairly long day but a thoroughly enjoyable one in the sunshine. 

We stopped in Leighton Buzzard for the obligatory Tesco/Aldi stop before continuing on.

Slapton Lock, where someone has planted herbs for boaters

We shared for most of the afternoon with a little boat belonging to a girl who was on her way to London with her friend. They’d had their mooring pins stolen in Leighton Buzzard so we gave them some of our spares.

Going up Maffers

Once over the Tring summit we thought about stopping but it was such a lovely evening we decided to continue on to Berkhamstead for fish and chips followed by a drink in the Rising Sun.

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Journey North 9: Fenny Stratford – Soulbury

4 miles 2 locks

Just a short hop this evening to find a new mooring for the night after a few days stopped at Fenny so I could work. 

We visited Bletchley Park and the National Museum of Computing om Wednesday afternoon, and Simon showed us the replica early computer he and other volunteers are working on.

EDSAC replica project

Then on Thursday our friends who live in Milton Keynes came by with their 7 month old baby, and it was lovely to catch up and meet their little one.

Our mooring in Fenny

Friday was another full day of work for me but at 5pm we saw Jaq on NB Valerie come through the lock. It was lovely to see her although very sad that her husband Les is no longer with us. He was a kindhearted and fun loving man who is missed by many in the boating world. 

Tom and Jan from NB Waiouru were also tied up nearby and it was great to meet them too! After tea and some heavenly Angel bars made by Jaq we decided that we needed to get moving again if only round the corner to Soulbury where we are now tied up ready for a weekend of boating!

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