Friday, 8 May 2015

Long Day

A late post because it was a long day.  Actually it was far longer than we had planned and the problem was we simply couldn’t find a mooring.

One thing we had noticed during the previous day was there was a significantly larger number of moored boats between Tottenham Locks and Hackney Marsh compared to our cruise up the Lee & Stort some three weeks ago.  OK, they might have been moored with a 12-16ft gap between boats but that still prevented us from finding a mooring.  My assumption was these were central London boaters who had moved to the fringes in response to the new CRT license and mooring changes.

We eventually found a vacant spot at the northern end of Hackney Marsh.

View from the mooring

We departed at 8.30 intending to find a mooring somewhere around Limehouse Basin.  The route immediately became wall to wall boats wherever there was any possibility of mooring.  Just beyond the junction of the Hertford Union Canal a recently new building came into view.

Yes, it’s the Olympic Stadium. Only one lock on the way (Old Ford Lock) where we filled the water tank from what must be one of the slowest taps on the network.  The lock was all push button.  Jan got her last rest here because they are back to manual from this point onwards.

The route to Limehouse included one quite long straight.  We’ve both noticed the significant number of new high risk apartment buildings under construction in this area.  The skyline is dotted with tower cranes.

All these skinny towers don’t look like they have much in the way of apartments.  But then you realise it’s a building technique.  The ‘spine’ of the apartment block is constructed first and then the exterior of the building is constructed around it.

Not all the old buildings are being demolished.  A few of the old warehouses have been converted to apartments.  Jan thought that these apartments might have higher ceilings if the original floors have been retained.

There was a sharp bend into Limehouse Basin and I thought I was rather clever managing to take the following photo whilst simultaneous completing the turn.

Hard right turn coming up

The first thing we noticed on entering the basin were the large number of moored vessels.  Some of which seemed huge after three years on narrowboats.  To the left was the large lock leading to the Thames.

Whilst over our left shoulder was the single 24 hour mooring.  Which happened to be occupied.

Bloody Aussies……….. Smile

We have to turn right underneath the glass apartment block.

One last look

We were now on the Regent’s Canal and back to manual locks.  The engine stalled entering Salmon Lane Lock and we had no steerage.  Jan closed the lower gates and filled the lock slowly whilst I prepared to go down a very familiar compartment.  We had a huge sheet of heavy construction plastic around the prop and shaft.  A combination of breadknife and brute strength eventually cleared it.  There was too much of it to keep on the boat so Jan placed it beside the nearby CRT litter bin hoping someone doesn’t toss it back in the cut.

This part of the canal is a mixture of old and new.  The real problem is the amount of rubbish floating on and under the surface.

This next photo is of Mile End.  There’s nothing in the photo worth commenting on and it’s only been included because the genealogist in our relationship tells me my relatives on my father’s side came from Mile End, London.

I guess that means my distant relatives are throwing their rubbish into the cut.  Although the strong curry smells emanating from the apartments might suggest they too have moved to greener pastures.

The length of canal beside Victoria Park was wall to wall boats, two abreast.  The impression we get is these boaters are formed of two different types.  There are the university students who are sticking it out as cheap accommodation and then the alternative life-stylers.  Plenty of dreadlocks but the fellow who amused me was wearing a top hat with a skull and crossbones sliver badge.  He was missing one top tooth, had a small goatee and was wearing a coloured waist jacket.  I suspect he might be an ‘extra’ in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

We passed a boat going in the opposite direction at Acton’s Lock and the crew called out “Hope you’re not looking for a mooring”   Above the lock CRT contractors are installing new residential moorings on the off-side.  These moorings appear to have shore-power.  On the towpath side there are numerous large CRT NO MOORING signs.  These have simply been ignored by the local boaters.

We then reached the situation where the boats were three abreast and finally four abreast.

At Sturt’s Lock we met a wide beam coming down and the Canadian lady working the lock asked Jan “Are there any mooring between here and Limehouse?”   Jan gave her the bad news!

There was the usual crowd of gongoozlers at Hampstead Road Lock which is adjacent to Camden Road Markets.  Jan was on her best behaviour to ensure she did everything correctly in front of a large crowd.

With the last of the locks done for the next few days we pushed on past parliament London Zoo.  Jan took a quick photo of a house she rather fancied.  not sure how she will keep it clean and I’m not mowing the lawns.

We decided to try our luck down the Paddington Arm and fortunately passed another boater leaving at 4.30pm.  We managed to squeeze into the spot he had vacated on a floating pontoon adjacent to the rollup bridge. 

A long day of cruising for us. Friday will be a rest day!


Adam said...

A bit late now, but your photo of Limehouse lock also shows several boat lengths of moorings. That whole wall is available for mooring -- it's where we've always tied up -- right along to the lock.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Adam
We hadn't realised that until another boater mentioned it today. However I think the height of the wall may have been too much for Jan.

Peter and Margaret said...

My great grandfather's cousin on my father's side was MP for Mile End in 1916, again information from my own resident genealogist. There are interesting WW1 Parliamentary speeches of his published on the 'net.

Tom and Jan said...

He might have been responsible for the eviction of the last of my relatives! 😂