Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Pyrford to Weybridge

Thu 22nd July  Pyrford to Pyrford via New Haw

Sunny again this morning! A gentle cruise downstream brought us to Byfleet Boat Club and TLC. We bought some gas from TLC, where Julia had put our name on one of the bottles. We understand that there is a shortage of gas bottles at present because many people are doing a staycation instead of going overseas, and they are buying boats, caravans and gas barbecues. We also bought some Fuel Set to prevent diesel bug.

We met Terry Simmonds at the club, and caught up news with him. He is one of three guys named Terry we know who each are married to a lady called Chris. It can be confusing. We also know three couples named David and Carol.

We cruised to New Haw and went down through the lock to a place below, where the weir stream joins the canal, and it is wide enough to turn. We turned round and went back up through the lock, and moored up in some shade.

Moored at New Haw

We enjoyed a meal at the White Hart with Sue Graves. The pub now serves simple pub food. Last time we came it was a Thai menu. We went next door to the Co-op where we bought some milk.

Sue Graves

The garden at the White Hart

Back on the boat, the shade had gone, so we set off upstream back to Pyrford, where we turned once more and moored up close to where we had been earlier.

2 locks, 5 miles. Dep 0940,arr 1015 TLC. Dep 1040, arr 1150 New Haw. Dep 1610, arr 1720 Pyrford.

Fri 23rd July  Pyrford to Byfleet

We had a short cruise today, just as far as Byfleet Boat Club, where we moored under some trees for shade. Hazel put some washing out to dry.

One of the amazing plane trees between Pyrford and Byfleet.

A beautiful display of ragwort

Moored under a tree at Byfleet Boat Club

We noticed lots of pond skaters, all going up stream, and then floating back to where they had started.
  When Hazel took in the washing, she found lots of little black caterpillars on the deck and roof, as well as twigs, leaves, and thousands of black specks, presumably seeds.

Pond skaters

James went to chat to Adrian who was sitting watching the world go by. While they were talking, James spotted a grass snake swimming along. It disappeared into some reeds on the other side.  Then, later, we saw a fox in the garden opposite. It didn’t wait for a photo.

Grass snake

Mark and Christine arrived on
Journeyman. They are planning a week away to Godalming.

Robin appeared, and showed us his new workshop, where he maintains the rowing boat hire fleet.

Rodney also appeared for a short while.

0 locks, 1 mile. Dep 1055, arr 1130

Sat 24th July  Byfleet

Raz and Eileen turned up on Babbling Brooks. Raz had some work to do on the boat. Mike and Jeanette came to see us as well, and we took photos of each other.

Mike and Jeanette

James and Hazel (Photo by Mike Chamberlain)

We started to get a little light rain, so we took our brollies as we waited for Oliver to collect us. He took us to Greg and Jessy’s in Leatherhead, where we had a family gathering to celebrate some birthdays: Greg, Amanda, and Jasmin.

Jasmin with her birthday cake

Jasmin and Claudia

Greg, Amanda, Oliver

Jessy, Greg, Amanda, Oliver, Hazel, James

We had a BBQ with far more food than we could possibly eat. Thankfully there was no rain until late afternoon, when we had a brief heavy shower.

We had a lift back with Amanda, who stayed on Gabriel overnight, before driving to Poole the next day.

Brian and Claire Clarke arrived late on M’Lady. He is the Commodore this year, and is on boat hire duty tomorrow.

We had some heavy rain and thunder in the night.

No boating today

Sun 25th July  Byfleet

The pond skaters were still skating upstream

It was a bit cooler this morning, after the rain. We spent the day chatting to lots of people at the Boat Club, including Brian and Claire, also Ron, and Richard Pilgrim. There was very little boat hire going on – just two or three boats.

Rain started again in the afternoon, so we stayed where we were. We moved the boat back from under the trees, hoping the rain would wash away some of the debris that was all over the roof.

Moored in the distance at Byfleet Boat Club

No boating today

Mon 26th July  Byfleet to Weybridge

This morning felt a bit fresher after the rain. We departed quietly, as no-one seemed to be up. We had a gentle cruise past what used to be Ed Stewarts house, past the Basingstoke Canal Junction, and under the M25, where we stopped at the water point.

Leaving Byfleet Boat Club

The house once lived in by Ed Stewart

Under the M25

Facilities under the M25

We emptied two cassettes and filled the water tank. Then James spent almost two hours, taking everything off the roof, and trying to wash off the twigs, leaves, small black seeds, and caterpillars.

Everything off the roof

Roof in need of cleaning

While he was there, a widebeam came past, heading for Godalming. It was
Machaseh, with Barry and Pippa Tarr, of BCF. We warned them that there was another widebeam up there already, and they would probably meet somewhere.

When we had loaded all our gear back onto the roof, we set off once more, and met John Webster on Corn Dolly. We only had a chance for a quick “Hello”. It’s a shame we hadn’t met somewhere where we could stop.

Corn Dolly

New Haw Lock was in our favour, as John had just come from there. Coxes Lock was mostly empty, and all the gates were closed – unusual for the Wey. We filled it and went in. When we were most of the way down, we realised that there was a lot of water coming from the top gates, like a fountain. James took a video, and sent it to the National Trust.

Leakage at Coxes Lock

Passing Coxes Mill

At Town Lock, there were two boats about to come up, so James beckoned them in first as the lock was empty.

The view of our quayside from Weybridge Town Lock

We decided to go down through Thames Lock and onto the Wey, and moor up on the Wall. We had to wait half an hour for the staff at Thames Lock to have their lunch hour.

Thames Lock

There was a cruiser waiting to come up, and they wanted to have a one-day licence. There is not much you can do in a day, especially if you come in after lunch. When we had moored up on the Weybridge Wall, we saw them go back past. They probably realised that they needed to plan a bit better.

We walked into Weybridge, to visit the Kitchen Shop, which is an excellent place to but all manner of kitchen items. We also went to Robert Dyas, to buy another soft brush for cleaning the boat, as our last one had broken. We came away with a new oscillating fan as well.

Then we had a small meal in Morrisons cafĂ©, before buying our groceries. It was very hot again, and we took a taxi back. At £7.00 for just under a mile, I think he overcharged us, but for us it was worth it.

We tried to use our tyre fenders as we were getting buffeted by the flow from Shepperton Weir, but the tyres disappeared under the mooring wall, where there must be some sort of cavity.

The view from our mooring on the Weybridge Wall

5 locks, 4 miles. Dep 0940, arr water point 0950. Dep 1150, arr Thames Lock 1330. Dep 1405, arr Wall 1435. Total 2hrs 20m.

Next: We set off up the Thames tomorrow, getting a 31-day licence at Shepperton Lock. Hopefully we will find the fuel barge Merchant at Staines, as we need diesel. We are meeting Mary and Jim in Staines after that.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Guildford to Pyrford

Sun 18th July  Dapdune Wharf

We caught a train this morning from Guildford Station to Weybridge. We walked down through the woods past Brooklands College, and we suddenly spotted two deer in the bushes. We had been hoping to see some during our time on the Wey, as we have them before in several locations. We let them quietly move off before we walked on by. James only had his phone, not his camera.


We arrived at Weybridge Methodist Church in good time for the service, and we found Linda getting things organised, and Dave and Caryl Ingoldby already there. It was good to see Stan and Mary arriving. Jose and Lili were of course there, as this was their last Sunday before their departure for Egypt next week.

We had a buffet lunch in the big hall, where we also caught up with David Faulkner, Nancy and others, and there were some speeches.

Weybridge Methodist Church

David Faulkner, Lili, Jose, Linda

Stanley, Mary, Nancy

Jose and Lili gave us a lift back to the station.

At Guildford Station we popped into M&S Foods to pick up a few bite-sized things for supper. We bought some ice creams from WH Smith as it was extremely hot.

The boat was like an oven, as there is no shade at Dapdune Wharf.

No boating today

Mon 19th July  Dapdune Wharf to Sutton Place

We had a remarkably peaceful night at Dapdune Wharf. We had a few early chores to do, such as fill up with water (as we were right next to a hose), empty a cassette, and dispose of rubbish.

We spoke to a chap on Escapology, who had brought the boat down from the Lancaster Canal.

We turned the boat (we had moored facing upstream), and cruised gently down to the B&Q moorings, where we tied up near to the road, in case another boat wanted to turn. We went for breakfast at the van in the car park, but decided we would rather sit down, so we visited Burger King instead. Not a place we visit often, and our views have not changed. It was convenient.

We then went to Lidl for some shopping, and realised we should have brought a cold bag and a trolley. So, we limited our purchases to what we could carry.

As we were about to leave, a narrowboat called Pippin came past and we agreed to share locks.

Leaving the B&Q mooring bollards

Under the A3

At Stoke Lock, there were people looking, so we gave out “How do Locks Work?”.

Stoke Lock

On the next stretch, we met a boat called Juniper, which used to belong to friends of ours from ACS, Graham and Sara. At Bowers Lock, the gates were open for us, so both boats went straight in.


Sharing Bowers Lock with Pippin.

left first, as they were going further than us. We followed them as we negotiated the sharp left-hand corner, followed by the sharp right-hand one by Sutton Place, and then the  A3 veers away, and the noise diminishes. We stopped where we had intended, where there are some trees providing some shade, on the edge of the Sutton Place estate. We couldn’t get the boat close in, so we had to use our plank, which is only just long enough.

Plank needed

Shady mooring

The view from our bows

We sat in the bows for most of the afternoon, until the sun came round, and we needed a parasol. It was very pleasant watching the wildlife. There was a moorhen exploring the reeds, and letting out a loud call occasionally for no apparent reason. There were damsel flies in great numbers, flying low over the water, and pairing up to lay eggs. An armada of Canada Geese came slowly up the river and continued past us. At one point a grass snake went swimming rapidly across in front of the boat, and James only just got his camera turned on in time. There were whitethroats among the brambles making a churring alarm call.


Damsel Fly

Canada Geese

Grass Snake


When it cooled down a bit, James went for a walk up to the next bridge and back. Despite some gathering clouds, the forecast thunder showers did not materialise. Later, the wind changed direction, and carried the noise from the A3 towards us.

White flowers

Yellow flower

Evening sky

2 Locks, 4 miles. Dep 0840, arr 0855 B&Q. Dep 1040, arr 1215.

Tue 20th July  Sutton Place to Pyrford

The morning sun was thankfully partly shielded from us by a tree.

Thank you, Lord, for this tree

It took a while to unmoor, taking the mooring pins and ropes on board first, with the plank the last thing to bring aboard. A boat came up just after we had done that, so it was good timing. We had difficulty getting off as it was shallow.

The first lock was Triggs, which was in our favour, as the other boat had just left.

Triggs Lock

There were plenty of moorings available on the meadows below Triggs, but they would all have been in full sun. We carried on through Worsfold Gates, and past the house that is the home of the Navigation Foreman. This used to be where Vince Locatelli lived.

Worsfold Gates

Foreman’s Cottage

There was a shady mooring before the footbridge, but it was too shallow for us.

Too shallow

Cartbridge Marina

The ugly building has had a makeover

We caught up with another boat, Sentana, just before Papercourt. They had only had the boat for two months, and had not yet gone as far as Weybridge. Today they were going to Shepperton. We shared Papercourt, Newark and Pyrford Locks with them.

Sharing Papercourt with Sentana.

Leaving Papercourt

Just after Walsham Gates, we met a hire boat full of lads, and we warned them that there was a boat behind, coming off the river section.
  Sentana was a long time coming after us, and we had time to top up with water at Pyrford Lock while we waited.

The water point at Pyrford

We moored just where we wanted, under some shady oak trees just beyond the Marina entrance.
Sentana came past, saying that the marina was closed at lunchtime for fuel.

It was very humid, and once again, the thunderstorm that had been forecast seemed to pass us by.

Moored at Pyrford

Heron hunting

Heron hunting

4 Locks, 5 miles. Dep 1005, arr 1305.

Wed 21st July  Pyrford

James went to the lock, armed with a chair and some leaflets. The first boat to come through was one of TLC’s day boats, with Stuart giving instruction about how to operate the lock. A family watching received two Bertie leaflets, and a “How do locks work?”

Stuart sharing his wisdom

While James was chatting to Stuart afterwards, Hazel rang to say that Graham and Brenda had arrived on GB-Casi.
  We had a good catch up, as we hadn’t seen them since before they took their boat across the channel to spend three years on the French canals.

Hazel, Brenda, Graham

When they left past the Anchor and through Pyrford Lock, a busybody lady was telling them how they should be using ropes. As the boat occupied almost all the lock, ropes were quite unnecessary, and the whole operation was done very safely and gently.

GB-Casi at Pyrford

Later, we went to meet Dave and Caryl at the Anchor for a meal.

Dave and Caryl

No boating today

Next: Lunch at New Haw, a weekend at Byfleet Boat Club, and a visit to Greg and Jessy’s at Leatherhead for a family get together, postponed from last week.