Friday, 12 June 2009

On the Thames - without Chalice

Friday 12th June 2009
A few weeks ago Alan went on a river boat trip to Greenwich with some friends. Having seen that the Thames is not actually a white water ride, he was keen for me to see it, so that we could plan a trip from Limehouse to Brentford at some stage in the future.

We had a great day out, we caught a boat from Westminster Pier, out past the Thames Barrier, then back again. There was a commentary on the boat, which was amusing, although given the inaccuracy of what we were told about the canal system beyond Limehouse Basin made us a little wary of the rest of the information. The whole trip must have taken about 3 hours, then we went for a meal in Covent Garden, and spent some time wandering around London before returning home.

Having said that I'm not sure that I'm totally convinced that taking Chalice on this section of the Thames is a great idea, some of the trip boats have considerable wash.

These are some of the photos that we took of our trip.

View along the Thames towards Westminster Pier

The London Eye - with some of the large Thames trip boats

Alan having a bit of a sit down outside the National Theatre.

A replica of the Golden Hind - next to the Pickford's Wharf building

Many of the old wharf buildings are preserved as luxury flats - very different to how it all must have been 100 years ago.

The Mayflower Pub - which (according to the commentary on the boat) commemorates the Pilgrim Fathers' Mayflower, which was built in the dockyards here at Southwark

Passing the Tate Modern and the Globe

The Tower of London - Traitors Gate clearly visible

We were told that you can get to Bristol by going through these lock gates (yes, but you'd need to come back onto the Thames at Brentford). Also that you could get to Scotland, apart from a three quarters of a mile section of canal that has been filled in!

Back in the 1970s my brother lived in a flat on the 14th floor in a block on the Isle of Dogs. it was one of four identical buildings that towered above the surroundings. We knew it as "55 in the sky", and launched rockets off the balcony on Fireworks Night.
My mother always refused to use the lift, as people seemed to consider that it was a toilet, and the floor was awash with urine, so we always walked up when visiting him. The whole place was extremely sordid. I was amazed to realise that it must be one of the four buildings dwarfed by the other buildings now. That's Canary Wharf in the background.

Approaching the Millenium Dome

There is a Thames Barrier Control Zone, and as we passed the Millenium Dome our boat had to radio for permission to pass into the zone.

Going through the Barrier

Looking back from the Thames Barrier towards the Millenium Dome.

One of the barriers was in the 'maintenance position'. Usually they are in a channel on the bottom of the river.

The entrance to Bow Creek, the end of the River Lee - see the earlier post about Bow Locks.

These huge 'hangars' next to the Millenium Dome are the 'David Beckham Football Academy'.

Next to the Dome is this strange sculpture. It turns out that it is the 'Millenium Man'. If you squint at the picture with your eyes screwed up you can just about see that there is the shadow of a man in there.

Approaching the Naval College at Greenwich.
Were we were joined for the rest of the return trip by a large number of children from a French school in London, all wearing reflective vests with the school's name. It was quite strange to hear them talking, one asking a question in fluent French, another answering in London accented English, then saying something else in equally good French. They seemed completely at home in either language.

About to pass under Tower Bridge again.

HMS Belfast

Looking back to Tower Bridge, past HMS Belfast.

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