Ten Bob Note  

Thursday 18th October 2007

Location: Limehouse, London, Thames

Today: 22 miles, 2 locks. Total distance: 804 miles.  Total locks: 507

Lovely bright day after early mist cleared. Good t-mobile 3g reception here.

Total trip time from Teddington to Limehouse was three and a half hours.

The alarm went off at 06:00 so that we would be ready to catch the tide at 07:00. Was a cold morning, 1 degree C when we set off.

Dropped down through Teddington lock at just after 07:00. Very misty but could see well enough to proceed with care.

A short distance down river we came across rowers hiding in the mist – they must be mad as they have no lights and they are so low in the water that they are very hard to spot. Lucky we didn’t run over any of them.

As we neared central London a fairly large private boat coming up stream fast decided to move across the river so that he could pass us at close quarters. The wash from their boat (there were two youngish male occupants) caused us to rock n roll quite severely. A short while later we heard London VTS call them up on the radio and advise them that there had been complaints about the amount of wash that they were creating and about their disregard to workmen on a pontoon near by. Twenty minutes later the same boat passed us again on it’s way back down river. It could have given us a wide berth but instead decided to come close to give us another ride on their wash. This time I reported them to London VTS and listened in as London VTS advised them that two reports of poor behaviour in one morning was not a good record. We saw them a bit later going somewhat slower so the message must have sunk in.

Once we got close to Westminster we started to meet up with the trip boats – they are notorious for creating large amounts of wash. I think we hit them all starting their working day at around the same time as they were everywhere. At one point we had a trip boat passing us on each side. The idea is to turn the bow into their was but when they are attacking you from both side you have nowhere to hide. All in all, it made for a very interesting ride for the last few miles of the journey. Felt much better by having the life jackets on.

Called Limehouse lock on the VHF as advised to do so on passing under Tower Bridge. Limehouse informed us that they would open the gates in readiness for our imminent arrival. Previous advise was for us to carry on down stream past the entrance to Limehouse then turn across the river and approach the entrance coming up stream. Just as we were getting close to the entrance while still heading downstream, the lock keeper called us up on the radio and suggested that we should just cross the river and head straight into the lock as there was no other traffic about. I took the advise and turned across the flow. At this time, the flow of the ebbing tide was still quite strong and was pulling us fairly hard down stream. I had the boat on full power and heading for the brick wall just up stream of the lock entrance hoping that the flow of the current would pull us down stream with the right timing for us to meet the entrance of the lock – all in all, a bit hairy!!. It worked and we entered the lock channel without hitting anything but I am not sure that Rhonda would like to repeat the manoeuvre again any time soon. It would have been easier if I had been intending to enter the lock from an up stream position and had started to cross the river earlier with more time to judge the effect of the tide. GPS track here

We asked the Limehouse lock keeper about mooring for the night and he suggested we moor right beside the top lock gates as there have been problems with kids untying boats and steal things like bicycles off the roof. He also advised not mooring anywhere this side if Little Venice. We decided to moor beside the top gate as he advised and to chain the boat to the wharf so that if kids cut the ropes we aren’t going to go anywhere. We will set off tomorrow and probably make a run for it all the way to Paddington basin where we believe there are some good safe moorings.

After mooring up we walked with the dogs to the Canary Wharf building to visit the Waitrose store to pick up a fresh chicken to BBY tonight. Canary Wharf is about a 30 minutes walk from Limehouse basin – well, it was 30 minutes by the route we took, someone in the basin told us it was only ten minutes walk away. The Canary Wharf building brought back memories as I was working and staying in Greenwich when they were building it and I watched them putting the roof on from my rented room window.

All in all, a very interesting and fun day and the weather couldn’t have been better for it. Next time, we will try and time it so that we miss the trip boats.

Current mooring



Limehouse lock fills by opening the gates slightly

Early morning mists - rowers hide within

The photo doesn't show it well but the wash is about 18" high

Trip boat coming up and one pulling out across our bow


Material Copyright © 2007 Ernie Williams
This page last modified on: 23 April, 2014 3:52 PM