Friday, September 06, 2013

How not to end up on the tideway in the dark.

Like an old salt, I’ve been poring over tide tables today, but we’re not going to sea. Its just that when we bring Herbie down south for the winter, like a migrating bird, we have the option of doing it via the Thames, and that means including the short hop from Teddington to Brentford on the tide.  For those who haven’t done it, its a very gentle cruise of about an hour if you do it on the beginning of the falling tide. Very pleasant in fact.  You have to have your wits about you when planning though because the appropriate tides can occur at very inconvenient times.

The trouble is that towards the end of October, which is when we would be there, the right part of the tide may not occur in daylight and whilst some folk might be happy to do it in the dark, we wouldn’t.  I remember arriving at Bishops Stortford in the dark.  How we didn’t hit a bridge or two I’ll never know.  At that end of October sunset is before 6pm, so we would be looking for a high tide before 5pm at the latest.  Published tide times are measured at London Bridge, so you look up the tide time and add two hours, one for the difference in tides between London Bridge and Teddington and another for the time it takes to cruise down after high tide. So we’re looking for London Bridge high tides no later than 4pm.

So, what result do we get?  Hmm it looks like we would need to be there by the 24th at the latest, after that we would risk boating in the dark. Unless we get a morning tide. They would be OK after the 28th by the look of it.  Well, neither is ideal for our cruising plans, but they are do-able.

Our other option is to come down the good old Grand Union, of which we are very fond.  No tides on that!

Now, the added complication.  Although we are moving from Crick to Slough, we calling in at Banbury Canal Day on the way.  We had such a good time there last year that we vowed to come back.  Distance and time-wise this does in fact favour the Thames route over the GU, as it would save about a day according to CanalPlan.  Not that we need to save time really, we have plenty in hand.  I expect it might all come down to the weather.  The Thames is lovely in nice weather, but if it’s windy or wet, the canals are a lot more comfortable.  And of course there is the small matter of the 137 quid temporary Thames licence we would need.  That would buy a pub meal or three wouldn’t it?

1 comment:

Val Poore said...

Sounds like there's no real contest, except the besuty of the Thames and the fact that tidal rivers are quite fun, so if it's excitement you want...