The first thing I saw this morning through our porthole was the large green yacht, that had previously been moored directly in front of us and I couldn’t resist taking this picture. It had moved over to the service pontoon for water etc, before setting of down the Thames to the Medway. John and I waved them on their way through the Thames lock.
A little later we also moved across to take on water and pumpout and then sadly said farewell to this safe haven as we entered the Grand Union Canal (Paddington Arm). Immediately we are back to having to work the locks ourselves, but we couldn’t believe how clear the water is here, although there is lots of rubbish is in the canal, you can see the bottom very clearly, unlike the canals we are used to, where the water is the colour of coffee.
We steadily rose up through the locks. All of them with a constant rise of eight feet. Under Commercial Road, through Bow Common, Mile End and Globe Town, until we passed the junction with the Hertford Union Canal, which sometime in the future will connect us with the Lee Navigation. Families started to appear, appreciating the tranquility of the water compared to the hurly burly of East London. We carried on under the 960 yard Islington Tunnel, before we turned into the Battlebridge Basin to visit the London Canal Musuem, which is based in the old ice warehouse, built in th e 1860s for a famous Italian ice-cream maker. The basin was full of permanently moored boats, but we were able to come alongside the old converted working boat, used by the Mikron Theatre group, who were putting on a production that evening in the museum.
We had proposed stopping for the night at Camden, but we hadn’t taken account of the crowds enjoying the sun. As we rose up through the locks, there were people everywhere, legs dangling into the locks, sitting on the lock beams and the bollards and not one of them spoke English, or so it seemed, they had to be politely swept out of the way, before we could enter each of the three locks at Camden. It was fascinating sight for both us and the visitors, but not a place we wanted to stop the night at.
We had now risen through thirteen locks and 27 miles of lock free cruising lay ahead, so we decided to chug on a little further to find a mooring for the night and the wonderful Regents Parks came into view almost immediately. The Snowdon Aviary was the most obvious enclosure we passed, before Blow Up Bridge came into view. A barge loaded with gunpowder and barrels of petroleum spirit, chose this place to explode, totally destroying the bridge, killing three men and the towing horse, fortunately the ornately columned bridge was rebuilt exactly as the original and new legislation was passed controlling the transportation of dangerous cargoes.
Beautiful houses lined the canal for the remainder of the Regents Park, until we ducked under some bridges and the permanent moorings of Lissom Grove hoved into view. Through the short Maida Hill Tunnel and the elegant houses and rather tatty boats of Little Venice accompanied us to the junction of the newly refurbished Paddington Basin. It was late now and all of the mooring were taken and it felt gloomy with all the new high rise offices crowding in, but we tucked ourselves in under a footbridge and settled down for the night.
Sadly, when I checked the picture files for appropriate images, it seemed that none of us had taken any pictures, I think we must have photoed ourselves out on Friday