Scrapbook: Narrow Boat Photos
By John Conway

Category: Member Scrapbook
Narrow Boat Photos
3/4/2012  England
Narrow Boat cruises
Some interest has been expressed in our four (so far) Narrowboat cruises in England so here is a selection of photos.

The link above it to my "Flickr" webpage where they can all be seen in the folders ("sets" Flickr calls them) on the right of the page.

Scrap book link to additional information
Click image to enlarge
Photos & Information:
01 River Wey/Thames
Putting the pivot point near the entrance to the first lock
Taken by a local friend, this photo is my favorite of all our canal photos.

02 River Wey/Thames
Our local friend in Guildford
While preparing for this trip we pored over everything we could find on the Internet while choosing a route for our canal holiday. When we tentavely decided on Guildford and the River Wey as a starting point we did a search on Flickr for photos of the river and kept coming upon incredible photos from someone called "Struessler." We began commenting on his photos and eventually told him we were going to hire a narrowboat from Guildford. Later he offered to meet us at the train station, which he did, in the rain, and showed us where to find the marina where we deposited our luggage, then he took us to the market where we bougth food for the trip, then to the post office, showing us the laundromat, and then invited us to the pub for lunch. After, we sent to pay and the waitress said that our friend had already paid. He would not hear of us paying him back. We see him every trip to England now, last meeting him at Chartwell, Churchill's estate about 25 miles east of Guildford.

03 River Wey/Thames
Morning, approaching a lock.
Believe it or not, two narrowboats fit side by side in that!

04 River Wey/Thames
Judy operating the lock
Not willing to drive the boat into/out of the locks, Judy bore most of the work opening sluice gates and the doors of the locks, though I helped where I could.

05 River Wey/Thames
The Galley
The white box on the bulkhead is an instant water heater. Not all boats are so equipped but we've never had a problem with hot water.

06 River Wey/Thames
Narrow Boat Engine
This is typical of all the boats we've hired so far. Mornings would see the usual bilge, water and oil checks.

07 River Wey/Thames
Early morning warm up
Most mornings we would get under way around seven AM. There would be a beautiful mist on the water. Once, we awoke to a heavy fog, barely being able to see the front of the boat! It was the morning we had to turn around and head back or we would be charged a late fee returning the boat. I HAD to get under way. Luckily it was down stream on the Thames so the current carried us faster over the bottom even though I held our speed through the water to only 2 or 3 knots, blowing a short blast on the whistle every minute to alert other boats, (Rowing teams!) who came out of the fog towards us.

08 River Wey/Thames
Picking up my crew after transiting a lock
This is the third from last lock before entering the Thames. The sharp turn took me by surprise, as did the relatively fast current, which is why I'm so far from the bank Judy is waiting on. The lock ahead is called the Thames Lock, though it is not the last lock before the Thames, I think it may have been once. It is the only manned lock on the River Wey. The gentleman there is very nice and helpful. We stopped just past his lock to fill the water tanks.

09 River Wey/Thames
Near Windsor is Runnymead Island, where the Magna Carta was signed. The island is now private property but on the bank is the Magna Carta Memorial and an unusual surprise.
JFK Memorial. The inscription says it all, I think

10 River Wey/Thames
Magna Carta Memorial
Historic place... another surprise: it was established and paid for by of all organizations, The United States Bar Association.

11 River Wey/Thames
Windsor Castle from the Thames

12 River Wey/Thames
Windsor Castle
The oldest continiously inhabited royal castle on earth. We got up very early that morning and were first in line to visit. The Queen was in residence, (The Union Flag, visible as we approached from the Thames the day before had been replaced by the Royal Pennant) but we didn't see her. (Won't deny that I lingered at the view of windows to her private living quarters...)

13 River Wey/Thames
Headed upstream from Windsor
The last evening we were in Windsor, preparing to leave the next day to return the boat to Guildford we met a very nice gentleman (who had this absolutely fabulous yacht moored directly behind us). He said that the best section of the Thames wasn't very far upstream, just past Maidenhead, and that if we went to Cliveden Deep, spent the night, and left early the next morning we could still get back to Guildford on time.

14 River Wey/Thames
Wow! Not much to add to describe this one.
We had seen many nice houses since we entered the Thames at Weybridge, but nothing like this! This stretch of the river is indeed very scenic, and from here to just beyond Henley-on-Thames (the great rowing center) we found on our sebsequent trip Oct/Nov 2010, is filled with estates and homes like this.

15 River Wey/Thames
Cliveden Deep. Possible mooring, yeah, this one.
We're headed in. want to tie the bow to that tree, maybe put the stern line on the one to the right. Turned out the tree on the right was leaning too far out over the water for me to reach, so used a moorning stake instead. Wonderful mooring! We moored here on our subsequent trip in 2010 and it was just as nice the second time.

16 River Wey/Thames
Our Mooring at Cliveden

17 River Wey/Thames
Cliveden Deep Cliveden House in the distance on the hill.
The River Thames is split into three channels here, all of which are navigable by a narrowboat. There were moorings on the islands, but as we circled them we noticed they were either taken or there were noisy families already there. Wish I'd had the thought of taking a panoramic photo here. The scenery was fantastic.

18 River Wey/Thames
Judy mailing home

19 River Wey/Thames
Supper after a long day, from Cliveden Deep to Thames Lock on the Wey
Sorry the boat looks kind of cluttered along the left edge of this photo. We had a long day, near the end of our cruise and were in dire need of a laundromat. We moored at the confluence of the Thames and the Wey Rivers and I set out on foot looking for one. Stopped at a pub and inquired and they said the nearest laundromat was over a mile away, but they would do our whites in their machine if we wanted. I was floored! Offered to pay them but was refused. So I went to get Judy and our whites and we had drinks (several) while we waited for our clothes to be done. They had no drying facilities so we brought it all to the boat, (folded and packed in plastic bags) and hung it on every available hook and curtain rod and chair backs. It was a warm day so it all dried by nightfall. (Link is to another photo of supper... didn't post this photo to Flickr)

20 River Wey/Thames
Thames Lock
The only manned lock on the River Wey. I posted a short video of the boat being lowered on our way outbound next to this picture on my Flickr Page. (Link below)

21 River Wey/Thames
Judy opening a sluice gate
Jduy became quite proficient at operating the locks!

22 River Wey/Thames
Not as tight as it looks
Someone left one side of the lock open. I thought, if they got out, I can get in. Surprised I didn't even touch the sides.

23 River Wey/Thames
Stoke Lock
Judy tending the bow line while the lock fills. Note the retired guy with his dog. Locals like to watch people at the locks. Most are very friendly and are helpful if you need local knowledge, restaurants, etc.

24 River Wey/Thames
Looking back towards Stoke Lock as we leave
Some of the most picturesque photos we've taken are of some of the locks and the old, (Mostly unused or leased to people not associated with the canal) lock keeper's houses.

All Staff Meeting
A toast to all those in the meeting
At 16.30 one afternoon, Judy appeared at the aft hatch with a glass of wine and offered it to me, saying we should toast the All Staff Meeting, which was just beginning at 08.30 in San Francisco.

Approaching Llangollen
The village of Llangollen
There is no equivalent sound in English to the Welsh letter "ll" but an approximate pronounciation would be Klthangoklthen. Hard to imagine what it sounds like but the Welsh language really sounds musical when you hear it. Llangollen has consistently won awards for their Men's Choir. We went to a pub where they sometimes practice and were lucky enough to see them there. When they learned we were American, and it being so soon after 9-11, they stood and asked everyone else to stand while they sang the US National Anthem. Pretty impressive, being in this tiny village in Wales and having such a welcome.

Brother-in-law Ev raising a drawbridge
On most of the canals the boat operators have to operate the locks and drawbridges.
With the counterweight it's relatively easy.

Hazard to Navigation
Made it around a sharp bend, slipped under the bridge, and... Now what?

Hazard to Navigation 2
MY canal!
She was absolutely not bothered by the boat's approach or its passage within a couple of feet of her nose!

Light at the End of the Tunnel
Inside the tunnel
Not a place for claustrophobes, this is an interesting passage. In the old days of horse drawn narrow boats they would have to un-hitch the horse and walk it around or over the hill, while the rest of the crew would lay on their backs on the top of the boat and "walk" the boat through by raising their feet to the top of the tunnel and walk. Now, with diesel engines the only discomfort is the smell of fumes. I soon learned to accelerate as fast as posible through tunnels to try to create a fore to aft apparent wind so as to leave the fumes behind. It was October though, and in one tunnel, no matter how much throttle I gave it the boat wouldn't move. During the introduction the man at the marina told us about the hatch in the engine room which gave access to the propeller, so I shut down the engine, loosened the dogs, raised the hatch and found nothing but leaves from all the trees. They were wrapped so tightly around the propeller it took some time to reach down and grab as much as I could then throw them behind the boat. Once done, the boat accelerated fine and I made it a rule to stop and put the engine in reverse once in awhile and watch the cloud of leaves erupt from under the boat. Other times of the year we haven't had this problem but in Fall it's something to think about.

Llangollen canal
Passing under a bridge.
As we approached this bridge I had to slow and turn to line up the boat with the opening. As the stern swung to port and neared the bank Judy stepped off and walked up to the bridge for the photo.

Long Tunnel
Some times it's just not practical to build a series of locks to go up and over a hill. You've just got to tunnel through.
You have to approach and enter a tunnel very carefully, as there's no room for two boats to pass once inside. Line the boat up with the entrance, and look inside for a spotlight. Careful not to mistake the light at the other end for a spotlight.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
The view from the cockpit
I found this descirption in wikipedia: Pedestrians, and horses once used for towing, are protected from falling from the aqueduct by railings on the outside edge of the towpath, but the holes in the top flange of the other side of the trough, capable of mounting railings were never used. The trough sides rise only about 6 inches (15 cm) above the water level, less than the depth of freeboard of an empty narrow boat, so the helmsman of the boat has no visual protection from the impression of being at the edge of an abyss.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct or "Traphont Ddŵr Pontcysyllte" in Welsh
It's OK, I find it hard to pronounce too.
The highest aquaduct in the United Kingdom, it's 126 feet above the river below.

Stopped for lunch tied up to the bank of the canal.
Judy came out to watch the mooring process.
You can tie up to either bank anywhere along the canal as long as it's wide enough for two seven foot wide boats can safely pass. The boat comes with two, sometimes three spikes and a small sledge to drive them into the bank forr mooring lines.

Tight turn
Some places along the canal are a challenge.
All of the canals in England have a size limit as to what boats can navigate them. I think the Llangollen's limit is 60 feet, which is what we hired. The size of the locks is usually the limiting factor, but sometimes a turn like this steps in and challenges your boat handling skills.