Little Venice to London Canal Museum: 4 miles, 4 locks
To date : 387 miles, 237 locks
Mick's ready to move on from London so the other day we came up with a compromise. We decided we'd cruise on through Camden Locks and moor for the night at the London Canal Museum. I rang and booked us in.
I was up very early again to get some work done. I'm finally catching up. After a rather rainy afternoon yesterday it was nice to wake to the sun peeking out. Not exactly blue sky though.
I noticed this on Ninemsn news this morning - roos on a Sydney golf course. Must make golfing a bit difficult! Note the roo having a nap bottom left. Ninemsn - Kangaroos on golf course
We walked down to the basin for some last minute essentials from Sainsburys. On the way back Barry was bringing their boat down to the water point so it seemed we were nearly ready to move on. Mick and I stood chatting with Andy and Jean from nb Josephine while we waited. There's not a lot of space down by the water point and another boat was down there to begin with.
We were having a laugh about Mick being recognized by blog readers. No sooner had we told Andy the story of James and Debbie from nb Lois-Jane calling out hello to Mick as they passed us a few weeks ago and who should appear beside the boat! It was a little freaky. We'd seen Lois-Jane each time we walked through the basin and each time there was nobody home. They've moved on now but were riding their bicycles down the tow path. We finally got to meet properly. Yelling out hello as they passed us by that time, or waving frantically as they whizzed down the Thames onboard nb Chance the other day isn't quite the same. Lovely to meet you both at last.
The widebeam conference boat was stopped beneath the bridge so we weren't going to be able to go far. Next thing Carol called out on the two way that the widebeam was going to come out of the bridge hole to let us through. They wanted water too. We quickly said farewell to Andy and Jean and off we went. Mick was on a high.... so glad to be cruising again. This is the longest we've stopped in the one place aside from the marina and he was itching to get going.
As we passed beneath the bridge that leads into the big triangular junction we saw James from nb Lois-Jane up on the bridge taking a photo. A final wave and we were off. The first stretch is the long line of moored boats and then straight into Maida Hill tunnel. Just as we entered Barry asked if we could see his tunnel light. Nope! He managed ok nevertheless. It's not a particularly long tunnel. After that come some enormous houses on the left as the canal weaves across the top of Regent's Park. What a lovely stretch of canal. Passing through the zoo is a bit of a non-event as you don't really see much. There's a huge aviary on the left.
As we approached the first of the Camden locks we could see it was rather busy. Our own fault for choosing a Sunday to make this journey. We were going to have quite an audience. As I pushed the lock-gate closed behind the boat a fellow came up to say he read the blog and he was from New Zealand. I left him chatting to Mick and went down the other end to wind the paddles. A lady at the fence (the lock is fenced off from gongoozlers) called to me saying she was Michelle from nb Ashdown. I do read their blog - when I have time! It turned out the fellow speaking to Mick was Andrew. So we met another blogging couple today. Lovely to meet you both too.
We found chaos in the pound between the first and second lock. We couldn't moor up, there was a boat in the lock that would soon be coming out, and another boat heading in the opposite direction too. Amazingly Mick and Barry handled it like pros without any fuss whatsoever.
There was quite a crowd along that fence-line of the next lock and I could hear someone calling me. I looked at the crowd to the left and the right but had no idea who had called out. I heard it again so scanned the faces more carefully. Sometimes this is a waste of time because I don't always know what blog readers or other blog writers look like! Then I saw a familiar face. It was Caroline who we'd taken onboard with us a couple of weeks ago. She was with her husband Paul and daughter Maisy and was very excited to see us. Another amazing co-incidence.... as they stood at the lock fence awaiting the approaching boats Maisy had asked her mum what the boat had been called that she'd had a trip on. Just as Caroline told her it was a blue boat called Parisien Star, we cruised into the lock right in front of them.
Mick yelled out to Caroline "Do you want to jump onboard?". He didn't have to ask twice. Seems we might have created another narrowboat addict. She and Maisy clambered on and Paul frantically started tying bicycles to railings. We went on down the next couple of locks and I saw him running to catch up. Caroline and Maisy had crossed over to Winton's Folly at the last lock and they were ahead of us. We slowed down and pulled in for Paul to jump onto the boat and off we went. After our final lock for the day, which was only another mile or so away we stopped at a mooring and cobbled together a shared lunch.
We enjoyed the company of our visitors but it was getting on and time for us to continue the last little bit of our journey. We waved them off and they began the walk back to their tethered bicycles back at Camden Lock. Before we had a chance to leave there was a shortish boat making a very poor effort of approaching the lock behind us. They were struggling to pull the boat into the lock mooring and she and he were yelling at each other. Mick took pity on them and went up to help them through what turned out to be their very first lock. Mick set the lock and opened the gates for them. I've no idea what was happening but despite lots of revving and plenty of water spurting out from behind the boat they didn't seem to make any progress on moving away from the canal edge. Finally they got into the lock after banging into the gate and then the side of the lock. Mick ended up doing most of the work but the lady who was on the lockside with him didn't even thank him for his effort. Never mind. As they exited the lock the crashed headlong into the first moored boat. I dread to imagine how they went at the busy locks at Camden. It was a bit of light entertainment for the three of us left standing back on our boats.
It was only a short trip around the corner to Battlebridge Basin where we were booked in to moor in front of the Canal Museum. Mick did an awesome job of turning almost on the spot and then getting into the mooring between a heap of boats moored in all directions. We pulled nb Winton's Folly in beside us and settled in for the evening. There's a pair of swans with 3 young cygnets around the basin. Tonight looking out we saw the youngsters hitching a ride on mum's back. Very cute.
Lots of photos of a fantastic day.