Three ex-Guardian journalists on board, so where else can we head for than Kings Place, the new offices overlooking Kings Cross marina and the Canal Museum. Skipper’s son and grandson joined the crew for a while. Here they are going through the Maida Hill tunnel.
Rain forecast all morning, so wet weather gear and a stoical attitude called for, with half hour watches steering. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to find that there are no locks until Camden, which we won’t reach until tomorrow. Camden is the end of a 27 mile lock-free stretch before a gradual descent to the Thames at Limehouse.
The best surprise was that far from cruising an industrial wasteland we were actually spending much of the time in a green corridor through London, sheltered by trees, with a profusion of wild flowers, certainly as far as Wembley and Alperton. Even in the industrial and retail parks of the North Circular and further in, there’s a May-time profusion of greenery and flowers along the canal itself.
And what can be more detached from normal London than standing on the boat above the North Circular Continue reading “Rainy Day in London Town – or A Splendid View of the North Circular”
This is a map of our next cruise: a circumnavigation of London using the Paddington Branch and Regents canals, with a detour to see the Olympic Park via the Hertford Union, the Lee Navigation and Limehouse cut, then the River Thames from Limehouse to Brentford and back to our starting point via the Grand Junction Canal.
We have just had the cheapest ever holiday fares – zero – as we got the tube to Greenford and a bus to Tesco’s car park using our Freedom Passes, before a short walk to Willowtree Marina. We were expecting an industrial backwater, but nothing of the sort: a neat marina with a bar and restaurant, surrounded by trees. Evie is the barge’s name, 70 feet long but still a squeeze at 7ft 6 in wide.
After spectacular scenery on the West coasts of Scotland and Ireland, and many interesting harbours and anchorages, Spring Fever is back where she started last year, on the River Medina at Cowes. There was nothing heroic about it: the longest single cruise was only 24 days, from Ardoran near Oban to Truro in Cornwall this summer, taking in Iona in the southern Hebrides, Tory Island off Donegal, the Aran Islands off Galway, and the Scillies. Continue reading “Slowboat round Britain and Ireland”
The cost of a portfolio of paper charts for the British Isles is enormous, so we ignored advice in magazine articles and pilot books to stock up on large scale charts and relied mainly on electronics. (See this link to earlier posts: electronic navigation ).
C-Map NW Europe – chartplotter.
Memory Map UK and Ireland – laptop.
Navionics UK and Holland, including Ireland – iPhone.
Antares, Bob Bradshaw’s ultra large scale inshore charts for West of Scotland – laptop. (We tried them out in some very tight little anchorages, and they seemed very accurate). Continue reading “Charts, pilots, weather – Scotland, West of Ireland to Scillies”
Monday 17 September: Tony picked the boat up at Malpas and took it down to Falmouth Yacht Haven, mooring singlehanded in 35 knot gusts. Dinner at the Ghurka restaurant. Forecast 5-7 from the Southwest, occasionally 8, so decided to wait till Wednesday. Falmouth has the depressed look it always assumes in rain and chilly wind, with glum holidaymakers patrolling the long narrow shopping street. Continue reading “Back to the Solent”
Last day of the cruise. Before leaving Falmouth, we refuelled the boat ready for next time, and motored up the Fal and Truro River to a pontoon mooring we had booked at Woodbury Point, near Malpas.
Perfect still morning, but forecasts says weather deteriorating. Left across Tresco Flats. Sun and light breeze to Lizard and beyond. Continue reading “Bryher to Falmouth”
Ashore again to visit the famous Abbey Gardens on Tresco, and its museum of figureheads from wrecked ships, which is now overseen by the National Maritime Museum.
Ashore for a walk, and lunch in a pub. Beautiful day, sun shining, children swimming on the golden beaches; what an extraordinary contrast with the day before.
Went to the vicarage’s annual garden fete, a feast of nostalgia, Continue reading “St Mary’s and Tresco”
The less said about today the better. One for those who enjoy surfing down the face of very large waves at 14 knots! You wouldn’t believe it from the photo of Hugh Town Harbour in the Scillies, as the sun set. The bad weather started clearing the moment we arrived there in the evening. Continue reading “Quiet after the storm – the Scillies”
Ashore for brunch, shopping and a walk up Compass Hill. Pretty views, stone-walled gardens and the imposing Officers Club above the bowling green. There is one large, empty, austere looking building left, which might just have been part of the 23 acre site, but it could equally have been a school, a hospital or a convent. Something to check out another day.
Fuelled at the other marina across the river (which ran out of diesel for the next boat) and set off for the Scillies at 1600. A bit of a risk, Continue reading “Kinsale – leaving Ireland”
Up early at Castletownshend, perfect morning, still water, the sound of water falling in the woods, birdsong, a heron on the rocks: made tea and slowly to sea, admiring the pretty sunlit village. Fast reach in sun all the way to Kinsale, past the Old Head, with the wind gradually rising. Continue reading “Kinsale”
To pontoon and ashore again in Baltimore. Forecast 6 or 7 south west. Nervous. Don’t want more heavy swells and wind for a while. But outside harbour, which we left early afternoon, was sun and a force 4 all the way to Castletownshend, a pretty wooded estuary and village, reminiscent of Cornwall, with an English-influenced history to it. Picked up buoy on wooded bend of the river, beautifully quiet and sheltered, near trees. Ashore by dingy to Mary Ann’s, a gourmet pub, rather expensive, though nice. There was a children’s band marching up and down in the evening, part of the regatta celebrations. A very smart holiday village.
Passage notes: 14 miles, 3 hours, max SW 4 (forecast 6-7), min SW 3, long 2 metre swell, sunny and good visibility
Jean-Jacques has offered fondue and white wine for supper because it is Swiss National Day. So lots of discussion over breakfast of how to construct a table-top heater for the fondue without setting the cabin alight! Continue reading “Swiss National Day!”