Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Out of Limehouse and onto the River Lea (cruise retrospective)

The next morning was not pleasant. It had rained hard during the night, and it was now drizzling on and off, with a gutsy, gusty wind rocking Kantara and banging her against the wooden beams against which she was moored. Larger, sea-going craft left their berths, and went down onto the Thames. We planned to leave when the rain eased off, as the forecast said it should, and make our way to a marina on the Lea (aka Lee), there to buy gas, and to moor until the next morning, connected to a mains electricity supply. We needed to use the washing machine, charge our laptops (and use them there), and vacuum clean the carpets, which get very bitty while we're cruising.

By 10:30, the rain had gone, leaving behind it only a wind, which blew in our favour as we pushed off from the wall, and reversed towards our exit onto the Limehouse Cut. The going was grim up the Cut, with the worst case of graffiti coverage I've ever seen, and flotsam in great globs dotting the canal right through Bow. Filthy and unpleasant. The butt-end of London, obviously. The upside was the fascinating, impressive architecture which shone out from its surroundings, and bold new developments pushing up everywhere, suggesting hope for the area in years to come.
Bow Locks, leading down to the Thames via Bow Creek.

To our right, the Olympic Stadium, with numerous eateries on the canalsides now closed or doing slow trade.

Along the berm bank there were small, floating platforms chained to the wall, clearly intended for birds to build their nests on. And they were nesting.

Others had chosen stranger spots. Some in tyres, hanging as fenders on the side of boats...

Another on a beam running low down across the down-river side of a lock bottom gate. We failed to get a decent photo of that, I'm afraid.

Just over two miles out of Limehouse, we passed through the electrically-operated Old Ford Lock onto the Lea, passing the junction with Duckett's (where we had originally intended to join the Lea) shortly after.

We saw a lot of these on the rivers, in various bright colours. They're lifeboats from big liners, and they're used as homes. They have no means of propulsion.

Past Hackney Wick and Clapham, and under the Horseshoe Bridge, we stopped at Lee Valley Springfield Marina for gas. And did they have an overnight mooring for us? With electricity? Yes they did, so long as we didn't mind being on the river, breasted up to a shorter boat that they were fitting out. Oh, and it was going to cost £32! 50% more than the Willowtree Marina we'd used a while back. Hmmm. But it wasn't a bad spot actually, and the views were pleasing. We were glad to be there.

The weather was good now, and we were treated to an afternoon and evening of manic canoeists careering past, several of them bouncing off the side of Kantara as they went. What else would you expect? They're going backwards! How demented is that??


  1. I recognise many of these views from our recent visit. We walked much of this stretch!

    1. What a shame our timings didn't coincide, Val! We'd have loved to have met you both.