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Enjoying taking photos, blogging and travelling on NB Hallmark .

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Return to Thrupp

It is a great Saturday morning and I am on my way to Thrupp.
Sadly no Hallmark today.
I took the bus out of Oxford to Kidlington and then trudged up the Banbury.
After cutting through a hedge I was back at the amazing Oxford Canal.

I am going to a meeting at the Thrupp Canal Cruising Club.
I have decided to be a a non-mooring member there.
This brings certain advantages like becoming a member of the Association of Waterway Cruising Clubs (AWCC) which offers the possibility of short term moorings at other clubs.

My 'interview with the Number 1 and the membership secretary goes well and I am offered membership.
This means more trips to Thrupp (by bus) for working parties and events.
But I'll be back with Hallmark in the summer as I hope to cruise towards the West Midlands again. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Day 5: New Inn at Send to East Molesey on the River Thames

12.5 miles    8 locks

Today's plan is vague.
We could spend one more day on the Wey Navigation stopping around Weybridge or make it all the way back to East Molesey.
We left Send at around 9.10 and headed for Papercourt Lock going up what is known as the Broadmead Cut.  
Although canalised there are some great meadows to be seen.

Just before the lock comes Tanyard Bridge named after a tannery which was sited nearby.
As you approach Newark Lock there are great views of the old Newark Proiry

We stopped at at Parvis Wharf just before Parvis Bridge to go to the chandlery at TLC (now renamed The Locker Maintenance and Supply Company.
What great people run this place and they had just what I wanted............ a replacement chimney cap for the one I tipped overboard a couple of days ago.

The canal is cross by the enormous M25 viaduct.  There are so many pillars supporting it.
At this stage the wooden sound proofing along the viaduct sides are reasonably effective.
Before New Haw lock the noise of the M25 run running near the canal becomes nothing but awful!
There is such traffic noise!
Soon we were at Coxes Lock.
Probably one of my favourite places on the Wey.
First the wide expansive mill pond with a bank of Alder dividing it from the canal.
Then it is the flour mill now converted to luxury apartments.

It is then a short distance to Weybridge Town Lock.
For the first time today the lock is ready and in our favour.
We are lucky as there is already below the downstream gates.
It has stopped there rather than on the lock mooring round the corner.
Realising we 'have first shout' as the lock is in our favour the boat backs away from the gate into centre stram.
We are nearly at the end of the Wey Navigations.
The sun is belting down as Hallmark approaches Thames Lock.
The lock keeper has his windlass ready and we are soon through the 'normal' lock and then the stop lock.

We decide to stop at the Anglers below Walton Bridge for a coffee to set us up for the final few miles and the 'clear up.'

It was going to be touch and go whether we would make Sunbury Lock before the 6.00pm closure,
We were in luck with about seven minutes to spare.
As always the assistant lock keeper is so friendly and helpful.
So it a final chug home along our own bit of the Thames.
Hallmark make a very good turn above Platt's Ait and for the first time in the last three returns to the mooring I line up the boat perfectly and cruise alongside and tie up.
Tired................... but what a great short trip.


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Day 4: Godalming Wharf to New Inn, Send

We pulled away from Godalming Wharf about 9.00am and slowly moved down to the winding hole.
Swinging Hallmark round was considerably easier than we imagined and we were soon off heading for the first lock of the day.
This is just up down river  at Catteshall.
Things were already happening at Farncombe Boat House.
It is a busy little place and its hire fleet seems really popular.  
There is even a canalside cafe.
The river channel runs behind to moorings and weirs.

After Unstead Lock comes 'Gun Mouth'. 
The gunpowder factory that stood at the junction of the Wey Navigations with the Wey and Arun Canal has long gone.
But the entrance still has it's linked name .
Restoration of the 1816 canal continues but this is further down the line.  
The entrance is only navigable for a mile or so. 

Before too long we are heading into Guildford once3 more.
The sandy banks on the left side are impressive and no doubt a great sliding place for local kids.

Guildford now-a-days makes great use of its river and canal.
Great improvements have taken place over the last 20 years.

We had hoped to stop in central Guildford for the night. 
We thought that Daphune Wharf would be ideal.
But there are limited moorings and to make matters worse all the National Trust facilities were open for schools parties only.
So after lunch at the wharf we pushed on and headed for the New Inn at Send.
We had a good afternoon run and found a brilliant mooring right by the pub.
The scenery was stunning all the way.  
It was especially good around Worsford Gates.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Day 3: Bower's Lock to Godalming Wharf

5 miles    7 locks

Today we plan a short run.
Just four hors down to Godalming at the end of the waterway.
Right by our mooring at Bower's Lock is a historic oak.  Some say it has stood there for 500 years.

Although its not far to Guildford we plan a short stop at Dapdune Wharf, just north of Guildford.
But there is no space.  Perhaps we can make it on the way back.
This was once the HQ of the Wey and Godalming Navigation.  There are plenty of exhibits from the canal's history including an orginal Steven grain carrying boat.

Guildford is the largest town on the Navigation and in recent years it has considerably improved its riverside.
There are some great Victorian bridges in the town centre.

After Millmead Lock, the Godalming Navigation begins. 
Shortly after the lock comes one of the Navigations two narrow boat hire companies. 
The first is Guildford Boathouse.
There is not as much space at Godalming Wharf as you think there might be.
However, we tucked alongside the water point and Elsan Station right next to the Sainsbury site.
What is great about Godalming is there is still a horse drawn barge in service.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Day 2: New Haw Lock to Bower's Lock

6.5 miles     5 locks
We are off at 9:30am a rather late start for Hallmark.
As we leave New Haw lock behind we are still in the canal section of the navigation and bypasses the meanders of the original river which flows away from Walsham, much higher up, through  Wisley and skirts Byfleet to rejoin the canalised section below Weybridge Town Lock.

Houses and gardens line the banks and the navigation gets busier and noisier as the M25 approaches and finally crosses the canal. 
The canal cowers under massive concrete pillars holding the motorway up high.
Just before the M25 viaduct there is a junction with the Basingstoke Canal.
This section of the Wey is rather spoilt by traffic noise from the M25 which runs parallel to the canal.  After Byfleet Boat House at Parvis Bridge it reduces considerably.
The scenery now changes and their are. Fields on either side which at times stretch into the distance.

There is a long curved wooden section leading up to the Anchor Inn at Pyrford and just be before is the entrance to the large marina.
Just beyond is Pyrford lock.
Next comes Walsham with it's flood gates which are left open other than in times of flood. This lock is of the few remaining turf sided lock the country.

The approach to Newark Lock is stunning especially with the ruined abbey providing the backdrop on the Surrey countryside. Only a few Walls remain of this 12th to 13th century home to Augustinian monks.

After the lock the canal becomes the river once more and seems to make an uncertain course that ends at the really pretty Papercourt Lock with it's stepped weir and cross currents.
Going into Bowers Lock is not straightforward and you could easily end up on the rivers course. The lock is a sharp turn the left just before the footbridge but it is best to moor up downstream of the footbridge to prepare the lock.

We decide not to push on to Guildford and stop just beyond the lock. It was a peaceful place far enough away from the sewage works in the next couple of miles.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Day 1: East Molesey to New Haw on the Wey Navigation

6.5 miles     5 locks
We are off to visit the River Wey Navigations.
It will be the first time for about five years and if we get to the end of the Navigation at Godalming it will be the first time in almost fifteen years.
We left Molesey around 11:00am in good sunshine which was still with us at Sunbury Lock. 
Little did we know of the torrential rain that was to come!
We used the 'new'  sanitary station at the lock and then stopped at Shepperton Marina to get diesel, color gas  and fill up with water.
Getting diesel at Shepperton is so much easier now the fuel jetties are longer and the hoses are at the very end of the jetty.
As we began to fill up with water the rain began to fall.
I turned Hallmark around amongst the expensive boats and headed back to the Thames.
Luckily a blast on the horn warned a cruiser about to turn into the tight marina cut I was coming.
As we got to the Desborough Cut the heavens opened and as they say it rained 'cats and dogs' 
At Shepperton with the lock in sight we turned left at 'Five Way Junction' towards the River Wey entrance.  
The wonderful Wey journey was about to begin,
We had hope to get to Pyrford by the end of day one but decided to call it a day at New Haw Lock. 
Light was failing fast as we approached Coxes Lock and it looked like we were in for more heavy rain.
Despite the gloom it still look stunning.
Just after New Haw Lock we decided to call it a day and we moored Hallmark up at the very end of the lock moorings. 
Google Places indicated that The White Heart was lest that 75 yards away. 
We ate in the Thai Resturant in the pub and what a jolly good meal it was too. 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Hallmark is off for a service after the three month trip

It was an incredibly windy morning.
There was plenty of rain too.
The 8 o'clock news said it was the remnants of one of the recent American hurricanes.
I decided to go whatever the weather as it was a trip I had done many times.
At just after 11.00am Hallmark moved away from the mooring and the gusts were enormous as we headed for Sunbury Lock.  Here are some pictures.  The first looking back towards Molesey.

And the second looking towards Sunbury Church behind the weir.

And the second looking towards Sunbury over the weir.
The wind continued to really blow accompanied by fine but wet rain.
If the wind dropped it would have been much wetter!
It was too wet for photos!
The hairiest part of the journey was the approach to Shepperton Lock.
The journey along the Desborough Cut had been fine and Hallmark passed D'Oyly Carte Island  with no trouble but as we approached the lock the wind plus some stream from the River Wey really seemed to catch hold of Hallmark.  Initially I seemed to be heading for all the boats moored alongside Nauticalia and had to give Hallmark full power to straighten her up to get her on course for the lock.
The wind was kind as we went down through Chertsey Meads and there was no problems with the narrow arches of Chertsey Bridge.
But Chertsey Lock was closed. There was problems with the lock gates.  A main hose which contained the fluid which opened and closed the upstream gate had poured into the river and there was a two hour delay while it was repaired.

We made best use of the time by mopping the stern of Hallmark removing all the dirt that collects under the cover.
The last reach up to Laleham and Harris Boatyard is broad and the wind and the rain blew with all there might.
With a bit of help Hallmark was safely moored up and left for a good service after its two hundred hour adventure to Birmingham and beyond.