Monday, 30 August 2010

Brentford to Norwood Top Lock

Brentford to Norwood Top Lock
Grand Union
5th August 2010

13 miles - 13 locks - 5 hours (includes Thames from Hampton Court)

After a morning run down the tideway and an afternoon at Kew Gardens we decided to press on up the the locks, starting our escape from London.

Asylum Lock

These locks are stiff and slow, taking an age to work through and subjected to relatively little use with the only craft passing this way heading for the Thames. We passed three or four boats descending ready for tomorrow's tide up to Teddington.

Perhaps the strange thing about these lugubrious inner city waterways is the state of the water itself. Its as clear as gin revealing every bit of debris on the canal bed. This degree of clarity is a novelty but also a bit disconcerting when one is knowingly cruising over all manner of rubbish.

Warehouses at Brentford with visitor moorings beneath

All the way up "the thick" we were accompanied by drumming. At first I thought it was something wrong with the boat but as the rhythm changed and grew louder it became apparent that it was coming from the old Asylum, or Ealing Hospital as it is now called. Jeff, being a curious  boy, clambered up onto the boat roof and witnesses people walking in circles drumming and chanting - all very surreal on a sunny summers afternoon in inner city London.

Norwood top lock

By 6.00pm we had reached Norwood Top Lock and the start of the long pound which includes much of the Paddington Arm. We refilled with water and then just couldn't be bothered to move on. Instead we hauled Wand'ring Bark forward from the tap on the off chance that someone else might arrive (they didn't) and stopped for the night. The adjacent bus stop created a bit of noise but overall it was a very comfortable place to stay.

Propshaft checked and it seems tight and sound. So far so good.

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