Friday, March 24, 2006

Limehouse to Paddington

Day 3 of our journey home (ignore the blog date, I'm writing this up after the event). 11 locks and 2 tunnels to do, so we made a prompt start and had bacon sandwiches on the way. We partnered narrowboat "Headline" through most of the double width locks, only sying goodbye to them when we stopped for lunch. Here we are leaving Limehouse.

This is the Regent's canal, through Mile End, Victoria park, Islington, St Pancras, Kentish Town, Camden market, Regents park, Little Venice, and finally to Paddington. What a way to get accross London - no traffic, and more ducks and swans than people! There are some nice old lock cottages.

The Islington tunnel is over half a mile and too narrow for boats to pass. Luckily you can see through to check that no one is coming the other way. Here we are, just going in.

St Pancras lock was hairy. We left Kath to steer into the lock across a vicious cross current (and wind) - and she succeeded. She might not have done had I yielded to the temptation to point out that if she looked to her left at the critical moment she could have seen the famous Gherkin building.

We decided to stop and have a look at the London Canal Museum in Battlebridge basin. I did a superb turn to draw up right outside the door. Just as I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, the curator came out and asked us to move off because he was expecting a boat load of school kids any minute. So we went to the pub instead.

The canalside houses got increasingly posh as we neared Regents Park. We passed the Zoo but the animals were all sensibly in their warm houses, it was freezing outside! In Regents park, Pete turns his back on the chance of a floating Chinese meal:

Then another short tunnel to get us through to Little Venice,

a nice smart mooring area, but too full for us to stop.

So we swing a left towards Paddington Basin, and suddenly everything becomes modern and high-tec. Mooring in the basin is good because it is lit at night and has security guards. So that's what we did. It was very odd leaving the boat in the tranquil basin, and walking through a few yards to bustling Praed Street to find somewhere to eat. Not difficult, there must be dozens of eateries there.

And so to bed.

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