Sunday, June 22, 2008

A recce on the Wey

Someday, maybe soon if conditions are right, Herbie may leave the safety of the canals and venture out onto the Thames and then down the Wey Navigation. We've been reading about the potential maelstrom you have to cross at the tail of the Thames weir just before you enter the cut into the Wey. With Kath being of a nervous disposition about such things, we drove out there today to have a look at it and to speak to the lock keeper.

Despite a lot of wind today, the Thames is calming down after a period of strong streams and the weirpool didn't look too bad, although I can see it would be scary if the river was up and all the sluices were open.

Finding Thames Lock at the beginning of the Wey on foot is not easy. There is a maze of cuts, backwaters and islands thereabouts. On the Thames it isn't that easy to spot either. After emerging from the Desborough cut you enter a pool with about five exits. A smallish green sign points the way to the Wey. Can you spot it?

The Wey lockie was very helpful and said you could always ring him to check the state of the weir. Most of the summer it's fine, but last year they lost a lot of business because of river conditions. He also said you can moor overnight just outside the lock and if you lock into the Wey first thing next day, you benefit most from the free first day's cruising.

As the navigation belongs to the National Trust you need a separate visitor licence for 3 or 7 days (plus the free first day). A 7 day one would cost us about £45 with our NT member discount. Not too bad compared with the two one day Thames licences we would need at about £29 each. We can reach the Wey easily in one day up the Thames, although the other thing we have to consider is tide times at Brentford as they only let you out onto the river as the tide is coming in.
We walked down to the next lock and it whetted our appetite for the trip. The navigation looks well kept and the surroundings are leafy and quite posh at that point. This is Thames Lock.The entrance to Weybridge town lock though looked distinctly awkward. You have to double back on yourself round a couple of posts and under a low bridge. You can just see it in the pic below. The entrance is through that black hole at the far right of the pool. You have to come at it almost along the wall should think as there are two posts in front of it.Should be fun.
Please note that through out this entry I have resisted the great temptation to use puns on the word "Wey". My forbearance should not go unrecognised. - (it's the wey I tell 'em)

No comments: