After overstaying at lovely Hanwell I was in danger of running out water and playing Russian roulette with my shower, will I run out of water mid shower or during washing the dishes. Thankfully, neither but my boat’s water pump was making all the right noises to say I am starting to suck air.
So it was off to sunny Brentford and thought I would do a sort of photo journal or log of this rather short cruise of nothing particularly special but interesting stretch of canal.
They must have been proud of this to erect the concrete plaque. The level of the canal is quite a way below the top of the pilings on this stretch of canal and that’s because it is prone to flooding although the level is managed as part of North London flood defenses it can raise a couple of feet and moor if extreme weather hits.
Once filled it’s a case of open the gate close the paddle and move the boat into the lock. You have to wait until the lock completely full before trying to open them as even only one half of an inch difference will have so much pressure on the gates it will be virtually impossible to open and many a times you see people desperate to open the gates but only wasting effort as they don’t understand canal time.
Once inside you close the top gate secure your boat leaving enough rope to allow the boat to go down otherwise things can get a bit embarrassing. You then open the bottom paddles and down she goes much faster than filling.
Once empty it’s a case of open the bottom gate and close the paddle climb down to your boat and off you go. I have to say you are supposed to close the gate but on the lower grand union most people don’t and if single handed it is difficult besides when you turn a corner and a lock is open in your favor its happy days.
Nothing inspiring this as its the M4 motorway. This will not mean anything to most of you but if you have ever flown into Heathrow and travelled into central London you perhaps went over the canal on the motorway.
A beautiful cast iron bridge inscribed Grand Junction Canal Co 1820 and built at the same time the canal was constructed and to me one of the best bridges I know over the canal its engineering and design is wonderful it’s just a pity the local graffiti artist thinks it’s just a place to put his stupid tag. The bridge is to allow the horses and people to cross the canal as the towpath changes sides and when you walk over the bridge you can see the grooves worn into the iron from years and years of wear from ropes when barges were pulled by horses.
I mentioned that originally the barges were pulled by horses and at busy places along the canal you could get many boats and plenty of rope and some horses were knocked or pulled into the canal so they built into the sides of the canal these slopes so the horses could be walked out.
Just around one more corner and almost journeys end Brentford with all its redeveloped flats and expensive moorings. The overhanging sheds to the right are where boats would have been loaded with cargo for Birmingham and beyond or destined to enter the Thames.
A beekeeping bit apparently there are bees on this bit of land and even in the old barrel but over the years I have tried to see any flying bees but told definatly someone keeps bees in the mishmash of boxes.
The two 72’ workboats makes my boat look small. They are both very old boats approx 80 years old and similar to 1000’s of pairs of boats that would have worked the canals many years ago transporting cargo around the country long before the railways and petrol engine. That’s Peter putting two bags of coal onto my roof along with a 13kg bottle of gas.
Wow what a result water, toilet, diesel, coal, gas and a plateful of cooked sausages I am all sorted now well into next year. All that is needed was to turn the boat round and moor up just outside of the marina opposite Glaxo Smith Kline and handy if I need an aspirin.