The River Thames

Today we sailed Felucca from Limehouse Basin near Canary Wharf, through central London, to Brentford.  Epic journey!

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Limehouse Basin at first light. High tide today was 10am, and so we left Limehouse Lock at 8am to ride the tide as it flooded upstream through the city.

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St Katharine’s Dock. This stretch is a baptism of fire; as soon as you leave the lock, the boat starts leaping about in the swell like a salmon; and the Thames Clipper comes scything past at 25 knots with a wake to match.

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No caption needed.

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We got lucky with blue skies and a gentle 5mph breeze. Two days earlier we’d had 60mph gales.

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As Emily said, “I thought Tower Bridge was a gaudy bauble but it looks rather stately from here!”

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Boris hard at work.

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TNS hard at work. That little strip of dark, modern-looking windows, just under the guns on the left, is my work, from where I used to gaze over the river and watch the boats going by…

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Tiny Felucca dwarfed by the river and the skyscrapers. Awesome photo by Nick Walker standing on the Millennium Bridge.

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Lifeboat station at Waterloo Bridge. Thankfully, not required.

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Approaching Hungerford Bridge.

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Be wary of other craft. Massive tug, massive barge carrying hundreds of containers filled with the rubbish of London, from Wandsworth Tip.

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London Eye.

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Houses Of Parliament absolutely magnificent from the river.

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Nattily fitted out with life jacket. Other safety features included a 17kg anchor with 10m chain and 40m of rope.

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Seat of power

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Tom and the Tory government: both tilling a steady course through choppy waters…

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I could tell you what this building is but I’d have to kill you.

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Iconic buildings a-plenty!

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Felucca passes a tug upstream of Albert Bridge. Photo by our man on Battersea Bridge, Nick Soulsby.

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The man himself. Scrolly ornate gold frilly bits, that you don’t see from the road, and that’s just Nick’s new coat.

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Emily and Battersea Bridge, her favourite bridge, on her 239 bus route to work c. 2003.

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Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner.

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Sipping tea

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Essential kit. Rope. phone, another phone, charts, flask of tea, VHF radio

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One of London’s finest landmarks and resting place of our last telly. Wandsworth Tip.

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London VTS, this is Narrowboat Felucca, I repeat, Narrowboat Felucca, Foxtrot Echo Lima Umbrella oops sorry Uniform Charlie Charlie Alpha. Approaching Battersea Rail Bridge and request leave to pass under arch 2, I repeat, request leave to pass under arch 2. Over. … Over?  London VTS?  Oops, I forgot to hold down the speak button.

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Hammersmith Bridge. It’s green! Now in boat race territory. Felucca definitely did not cut up a pair of scullers.

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Harrod’s stock cupboard

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A pleasing smell of malt announces Fuller’s brewery at Chiswick.

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Guess which bridge competition.

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Approaching Brentford on the Grand Union, the end of our tidal journey. Our fellow narrowboats in convoy, Merlin and Theo, can be seen ahead.

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Guess which lock competition.

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A splendid sight.

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Back on the canals. All hail the wonderful River Thames!  Old Ribena factory in the background.

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Posted in Cruising log, Wonders of the waterways
13 comments on “The River Thames
  1. Sue Jones says:

    What fabulous photos (including Nick’s). You guys are SO brave. I bet it’s like a roller coaster: you were terrified but now you want to do it again???

    • I wasn’t brave. You should have heard me whimpering at 8.02 am! It was a bit too much like a rollercoaster to start with – Felucca jumped around a bit when the Clippers passed us – but settled down (or I got used to it?) pretty quickly.

  2. Farva says:

    Well done you two – a triumph of navigation!

  3. Charlie says:

    Proper sailers.., lovely!!!!! Xxxx

  4. Martine says:

    Fantastique!
    Maman

  5. nsoulsby says:

    Love the poetry annnnnnnd was most impressed by how calm, cool and collected you guys looked on your boat – you could/should have had martinis in hand. I’m really curious to ask what it was like in terms of the handling, the effect of waves and wind, the overall feel of managing your boat on the Thames – any tricky bits? Any bits more or less affected by conditions or water depth or other boat traffic or…? Say more! Say more!

  6. […] The tidal Thames from Teddington to Limehouse:  beautiful bridges, breathtaking history, and avoiding the big waves from the Thames Clipper:  https://nbfelucca.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/the-river-thames/ […]

  7. […] canals, to famous canal towns, to all seven of Robert Aickman’s wonders of the waterways, on tidal rivers, on the sea. We’d been boating in sun, rain, hail, more rain, thunder and more rain. We’d […]

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