An excerpt from Wind in the Willows

Nice? It's the ONLY thing, said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING - absolute nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing, he went on dreamily: messing - about - in - boats; messing----'
From 'Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Trip up the Wey

Had a nice trip up the Wey and back today to introduce three friends to using locks as they are undergoing their Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) licence exam to become 'captains' on the John Pinkerton trip boat on the Basingstoke Canal (and there are very few locks on the top section of the Basingstoke but the MCA will examine on the theory of them.)

We used Coxes Mill Lock (nice cross current below the lock), New Haw Lock (awkward lower gate balance beams and fairly agricultural paddles on the top gates which are a bit unforgiving if opened fully too early in the filling of the lock) and Pyrford (nice and benign apart from the gongoozlers who are always there - with beer in hand from the nearby Anchor pub).

Close to the road in New Haw Lock
with Bob in charge
We went on up through Walsham Gates (a turf sided stop lock with the upper gates having old telegraph poles as balance beams) to the Abbey Stream (just below Newark Lock) where we stopped for lunch, turned in the German Stream (never seen the flow so low which just bears out the low water flows in the southeast) and quietly came back down through Pyrford, New Haw and Coxes to be home and finished by 16:00 - a nice 7 hour day.  (In the map below the very small waterway just above the word 'Stream' is what we call the German Stream - it is about 4' deep where it joins the Abbey Stream).

The Abbey Stream
Coxes Mill with the tumblebay

All of us horrified at the antics of a canoe club (Addlestone perhaps - I think when looking at their website it almost certainly was them) who were jumping off the lower wing wall of Coxes Mill Lock (the deepest unmanned lock on the Wey at 8' 6") into the tail of the lock below the lower gates (who knows what's down there) and then later (probably because we were using the lock) coming down the tumblebay (perhaps 2 inches deep) four up in a two man kayak with two in the kayak and two astride the kayak.  Just asking for a fairly serious injury I think but luckily during the period we were there no injuries.

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