Teddington Lock to Chertsey Meads
We felt quite alone this morning, behind us the moorings were almost clear and only a few boats remained in front. When we went to see the lock keeper he said that all the cruisers had left at 7am, no wonder I’d been awake then with all those engines starting up.
Teddington has three locks of differing sizes. On the above Google maps, the red arrow is in the Barge lock, below is the Launch lock we used yesterday and again below is the Skiff lock which is too small for us! This morning the twelve cruisers had all squeezed into the barge lock. The lock keeper said it had taken some doing as cruisers tend not to like going side by side. Whilst talking to him we hadn’t realised that the big lock has two sets of gates, just how much lock had they needed? That is one big lock! But some of those cruisers were very big!
The Barge Lock is 198.12m long, 7.54m wide and 2.1m deep. It holds 1.75 million gallons of water. If you were to drink the contents of the Launch lock at the recommended daily 2 litres it would take you 3,000 years to drink it dry! More interesting facts on the locks can be found here. One last one though, Monty Pythons Fish Slapping Dance was filmed at Teddington Locks in the early 1970’s using the Launch Lock.
Now on Environment Agency water we needed to buy a licence. How long for? So many people say why buy a week, when a months licence is only just a bit more than two weeks. Well we expect to return on NB Oleanna to go down onto the Kennet and Avon at some point next year and we are almost certainly going to get a Gold Licence for her then. A gold licence means that you can go onto most rivers without having to get a visitors licence from the Environment Agency, you can also stay as long as you like. This morning we decided that we would make note of places we’d like to stop and explore next time, so just cruise up to Oxford now. At 3 to 4 hours a day it would take ten days, so at the moment we have a weeks licence and may have to buy an extra day to cover us.
As we were getting ready to push off last nights visitor returned. He was looking for Tilly, she obliged climbing up into her window. He was big, ginger, and very foul mouthed. I didn’t know what I’d done, he was so rude! The sudden hail storm soon got rid of him and like the cat, the storm disappeared without a trace. Although windy we wanted to get on and cover some miles otherwise we’d be forking out for more licences.
Heading upstream we made note of the free moorings which don’t appear in our Nicholsons guide. A large blue P announces 200m of mooring in Kingston and more at Hampton Court Palace. There are plenty of permanent moorings everywhere and then shanty town boats clinging onto trees on the off side. A couple of places marked in our guide as 24hr moorings were so chock a block with boats that looked like they had been there since the year dot!
The signage isn’t anything like that on the River Trent, clear and free of obstruction. Along this section of the Thames there are numerous Islands which it doesn’t seem to matter which side you go round, until you get to one that ends with a weir! Not so bad heading upstream, but could be a problem going down. However we had our guide book. One sign we did spot telling you which side was the channel, we only spotted this as we came level with it as a large willow tree covered it from a distance. In my job as official photographer I have another use, zooming in on signs so that we can read them. The work being carried out on Kingston Bridge wasn’t evident when we got there, but at least we’d approached with care.
Hampton Court is on our list for next time even if it is only to look at the mass of fantastic chimneys. Luckily it is on the Days Out 2 for 1 site, otherwise we’d have to save up for it. Also on the list is Hampton House and Garrick’s Temple which we may have to walk to.
Most of the properties we saw today were much smaller, the islands having mostly raised wooden houses all with a mooring to the front. Large riverside pubs looked like their beer would be expensive, we are from the north!
Sunbury Lock was on Self Service. The bottom gates were open, so we thought that someone might be there despite the sign, but workmen were masquerading as lock keepers. I picked up our selection of waterways keys and walked up the steps in the lock. Anyone who has done the Thames knows that I didn’t need a key. A lady was wanting to come down so went to close the bottom gates for us, I headed to the upper panel. Here there are the usual buttons for gates and sluices and a wheel (not sure what that does). Pushing of the buttons was different to what I am used to, but all went well and the lady offered to open the lock so I could get back on board. Those steps in the lock are very handy. We spotted a mooring outside The Weir pub and pulled in for some lunch on board. Just as we’d got inside the heavens opened with hard rain. Really what is it with the weather!
At Walton -on-Thames we took the straight route through Desborough Cut, the winding route of the river is shallow in parts so we can explore that next time. If we’d been heading to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre at Guildford to see a show this is now where we’d have turned left onto the River Wey. But straight on and into Shepperton Lock which was manned. Past Pharoah’s Island Mick spied a length of 24hr mooring and pulled in. We have a great vantage point being on a slight bend, so we can see for quite a distance in both directions. No feline visitors to Tilly’s window tonight, but we may get a mink at the hatch instead.
Our Friday night roast is cooking away, we now just wish we’d got a barbecue instead to enjoy the evening sunshine.
3 locks, 11.74 miles, 12 billion gallons at peak flow over Teddington weir, 1 Lenny, 4 hail storms, 0 keys needed, 10 mandarin spring roll ducks, 1 swan not so keen on spring greens, 1 gorgeous evening, 1 nosy mink.