The day had come for us to drop down from The Grand Union Canal at Brentford and onto The tidal Thames. We had to book our passage with the Lock keeper at Thames lock in Brentford 24 hours before hand. There was only a one hour slot in the morning and that was between 05.45 and 06.45. We decided on 05.45 so it would give us plenty of time to go with the tide unto Teddington. Before the Thames lock there is the Gauging lock which is a self service electrically operated lock.We left our mooring at 05.00 where Carolyn and Sharon eventually worked out what all the buttons did and dropped us safely down.
In the end the tidal Thames was nothing special and just like doing any other river. Obviously we were only allowed on when it would be safe, so there was no problem what so ever and I would certainly encourage other boaters to do it as there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
At Teddington we bought a £10 transit licence to take us up to the River Wey. The Wey is a river which is run by the National Trust so we had to buy another licence. We decided to buy a week licence which cost us £78 , hopefully we can cover the whole of the river and make it all the way up to the end of the navigation at Godalming.
It wasn't long after we started our cruise up the river Wey when we discovered how shallow it was. We had informed the lockkeepers at Thames lock of the droughts and headroom on both boats where they informed us there would be no problem. On Inca we have a reasonably powerful engine and were able to power over the shallow spots. But unfortunately Nb Oakapple with her vintage engine and being a lot heavier than us had a few problems.On a couple of occasions they got stuck and no matter what they did could not move. There was only one thing to do and we had to pull them off with Inca. At least Sharon got a good picture, I think we will have to give her a few lessons in using a pole !
We had been warned that there were hardly any moorings for the first 5 or 6 miles from Thames lock up the river ,but eventually we found these moorings just above Walsham gates. We have been cruising for nearly 12 hours and although a bit tired all of us thoughrully enjoyed every minute of it. Needless to say the chairs soon came out and we had Dinner sat in the sun..