Friday, June 15, 2007
Our Most Southerly Point
From the seemingly ever-widening Thames to the peace and seclusion of the River Wey! We started up here on Tuesday, and ALMOST felt as though we were back on the canals again – no towering Thames cruisers, no-one to work the locks for us, and a real rural 'feel' to the waterway as soon as we had left its junction with the Thames.
BUT . . . it is still a river navigation, so there is a noticeable flow (especially after the recent rain) and the locks need careful handling, with fierce jets of water as we open the sluices! We are gradually learning, and developing our own 'Wey navigation' techniques and routines.
Some of the countryside is open and fen-like, reminding us of the upper Thames, like these fields near the ruins of Newark Priory. Other parts are closed-in, almost tunnels of willow and bamboo enclosing the water.
. . . and there are some attractive weirs and lock cottages. We have even seen an old mill converted into a seven-storey block of flats!
Our old friends the Great Crested Grebes are here in good numbers, and the Yellow Flag Irises have been out for a few weeks now.
We have only taken one week's licence on the Wey, as it is only about 20 miles of navigation. Next Wednesday, we plan to branch off onto the Basingstoke Canal, which we are told is in full working order again. Probably about 2 weeks there before we head back to the Thames and down on to London.
Meanwhile, we have been reminded that we have now been to two extremes of the connected inland waterways system:– Llangollen is the westernmost point and Godalming the southermost – not sure when we may reach the most eastern and northern points!