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Month: October 2021

Bonnie goes to London – Teddington to Brentford Lock

Bonnie goes to London – Teddington to Brentford Lock

[Better late than never] Half 6 now….

Final stage on the Thames, taking in such fine points of interest as Teddington Lock, Richmond Lock and Brentford Lock.

Goldilocks. And the three bears.

Well, 2 bears.

Out of the 3 lock-keepers that is.

Teddington Lock

When I arrived at 7.40am. 2 hours after high tide, the lock-keeper told me the tide was ‘out’.

Having checked the times of the tides that day, I knew they were not ‘out’ but on the way out.

He then went on to say there would not be enough water beyond Richmond lock for me to travel beyond.

He then asked whether I’d booked the Brentford Lock.

A bit of a lecture really….

He wasn’t going to let me through because of the ‘lack of water’ at Richmond.

‘All the pontoons are paid for, you can’t use them’. I said there was a specific area for those waiting to use the lock (Hunters Wood), and I’d use them if I had to.

After running through the reasons not to let me through. Of which none turned out to be true, he opened the locks and let me and Bonnie go.


Wasn’t out.

Nowhere near.

I carried on down to.

Richmond Lock

Richmond Bridge

Got to Richmond. Loads of water. Not a thing to worry about.

Richmond is a low water barrier; at low tide it acts to prevent low levels at the stretch between Teddington and Richmond sinking to non-navigable levels.

There are 4 sluices that regulate the water.

2 hours either side of High Tide, these barriers are lifted, and river traffic can pass beneath the bridge.

At other times, shipping has to use the Lock at the side of the channel.

As I was a little late for the tidal lifting, I paid £8 to use the lock.

As I entered the lock, I checked with the lock-keeper about the water levels beyond.

‘Plenty there for you’ he said with a smile on his face. A narrowboat has 2ft draft.

I explained that the EA lock keeper had told me it was just going to be a trickle! Little more than a puddle! And that there was no chance of getting through Brentford.

When I got through RIchmond at 3 hours past high tide mark, there was about 15ft of water.

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Bonnie in London – Windsor to Kingston

Bonnie in London – Windsor to Kingston

Due to late night excesses yesterday, I didn’t manage to get things done as quickly as I would have liked which ended up in my setting off after eating (lunch).

That made it a non-stop afternoon.

I’m now in Kingston on Thames, where my wee sister was born all those years ago. Many, many years ago… 😀


Took very few pictures today.

Perhaps some of the more picturesque aspects of the Thames have dropped off as we’ve got closer into London.

No more rolling hills verdant woodland. More railways and high rise.

This is what I saw….

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Bonnie does London – Henley-on-Thames to Windsor

Bonnie does London – Henley-on-Thames to Windsor

Bonnie is all warmed up now, and ready to go…

So here we go, down to London!

A morning in Henley

Woke up and felt slightly hung over…

Not too bad, but delayed my setting off…

Did an engine check: This is where you 1) Check oil. 2) Check coolant 3) Grease…

You’re also going to notice any excess water in the engine bay.

You really need to do it every morning. Takes about 3 minutes.

If you don’t do it… and all your coolant’s boiled off, that will mean; your engine seizes, locks up and you lose steering, crashing into the next object in your path which will slow the boat down, from approx 5mph to 0 in 0ft.

It’s a 2-3 min check.

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Bonnie goes to London – Day’s Lock to Henley on Thames

Bonnie goes to London – Day’s Lock to Henley on Thames

Here I am, in Henley on Thames, currently moored here on the edge of ‘Marsh Meadows’.

There are many joggers and walkers by the promenade to the river.


I’ve done as much boating as I possibly could. According to viewranger, I covered 32.21 miles today.

That was starting at 08:40 having 40 minutes for lunch, filling up with fuel at Better Boating, and carrying on until 18:25.

I suspect I could do a little more without the Tesco stop, (toilet paper and beer), and the fuel stop (20mins). But there isn’t a lot in it…. 40 minutes is not a long time.

30 miles is pretty much the limit of what I can expect to cover.

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Bonnie goes to London – Kings Lock (Oxford) to Days Lock (Dorchester)

Bonnie goes to London – Kings Lock (Oxford) to Days Lock (Dorchester)

1st day on the Thames.

Snuck on last night and overnighted at the moorings at Kings Lock.

The rain started just after I left Decathlon last night. By the time I cycled back to the boat, I was soaked, so another night drying my clothes out on the fire.

So what…. The boat felt really snug in the rain.

Had a shower with all the hot water, and went to bed.

Woke up around 5.

EA River Cruising Licence

Got things rolling about 9. By about half past, I was looking at setting off.

Just as I popped out to set the locks, the lock keeper arrived,

When you move from the canals onto the rivers in the UK, you move within a different jurisdiction. All powered vessels have to register with the EA (environment agency).

This isn’t a long process. I did it with my lock-keeper this morning. Took about 10 mins.

You just need to give some details of the

  • Length of vessel
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • Number of nights staying on the Thames

For this and the fee, they issue you with a little sticker which you can put in your window. It’s got the expiry date and the number of nights you’re valid on the Thames for.

If you don’t get this, it’s likely you’ll make it to the next manned lock before you’ll have to get one.

Like the buoyancy aid, it’s one of the requirements of navigating on the Thames.

They also issue you with a paper licence, like the one below.

EA Navigation licence

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Bonnie in London – Tackley to Kings Lock on the Thames

Bonnie in London – Tackley to Kings Lock on the Thames

Starting at 10.10, it was quite a full day, didn’t manage to stop for a lunch break until 2pm.

The rain had abated pretty much, for most of the journey. Wind was up though and the draft, (canal depth beneath the boat), was shallow making it laborious travel in parts.

I managed to stop to get water. 17 miles seems like a lot in a day.

Last time I came down this way, I made it all the way from Aynho to here in one day!

Shocking. I’ve no idea how I did that.

That’s a lot of boating in one day.

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Bonnie in London – Journey down, Tackley

Bonnie in London – Journey down, Tackley

Not far from London. Closer than Aynho at any rate…

So here I am after my first days cruising close to the village above named.

My clothes are damp, my dinner is cooking, the fire is lit, the whiskey it out.

I managed to make it just over 10 miles before the sun went down.


It rained pretty much all day.

Never that heavy, but just persistent low cloud rain. It added it’s slippery touch to the lock paving stones and brickage, making it a fertile ground for breaking one’s neck…

I wondered as I made my way down the locks, how solo female boaters do it in the rain. These big heavy lock gates were barely moveable by me. At I’m a big strong man.

If it is even possible, why do they bother? In the rain, it just seems dangerous.

Probably explains why I met not more than 4 boats on that 10-11 mile journey.

It’s better not to bother.

Still…. I did bother and here I am…..

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