This morning Jimmy woke me up at 4am wanting to desperately go out so it was put on some clothes and rush him down to some grass near the A40. So I thought you might like to see what Paddington Basin looks like at 4a.m.
We made an early start as we had a long way to go today and crept through Little Venice and St John’s wood before most people were stirring. Lots of moored boats and large houses line the canal some with gardens on the other side of the road near to the canal.
Could not believe our eyes as we saw this fox in the garden of one of the large houses, not at all bothered by us. Soon we passed the Snowdon Aviary we had seen yesterday and a waterway entrance to the Zoo. It had a strange warning “ Danger Do Not Moor when Red Flag Flies”. This display, one of many along the Regents canal, states that “They know where the Secret Entrance is” but somebody looks in trouble with the hands reaching out of the canal.
The Canal passes some interesting properties like these Pod style flats and the St Pancras Cruising Club with its Water Tower as a Club House, unfortunately we were too early to go and visit, perhaps next time.
There are also several basins and side arms which go off the canal in this area and all are full of moored boats. We thought we were back home when we read the name of the building in the top right photo “ The Rotunda”. The bottom right photo shows some shops/cafes in what appears to be an old warehouse fronting the canal.
We had a good run through Camden Locks but then caught up with this community boat which was taking a family to scatter the ashes of a loved one, but they were not quite sure of the spot they wanted. They found it just before the Junction with the Hertford Union Canal and we overtook them. However, we were then held up at Old Ford Lock whilst a guy in an old Lifeboat tried to get it through the lock. Even with the help of June and Carolann it took an age as he insisted on manually pulling the boat into and out of the lock. He said he was on his way to Paris!! Soon there were 5 boats waiting to get through the lock. Fortunately he did not go our way as we turned onto the Hertford UC.
We had slow progress through the locks on the Hertford as there were another two boats in front and it was late when we made the turn onto the River Lee. To the right could be seen the Olympic Village, Stadium and the Orbit which we had visited the other day.
The first 5 miles of the Lee up to Chalk Bridge are basically a Linear Mooring often with boats on both sides of the river. The surface of the canal being covered in Duck Weed did not help to make the dismal surroundings any better.
The odd exception is the Markfield Beam Engine and Museum which is located in Markfield Park and is the site of the remains of the Tottenham sewage treatment works and pumping station. The works were operational for over one hundred years until 1964, when all the incoming sewers were diverted to the extended East Middlesex Works at Deephams. The Beam Engine House has been fully renovated and restored as originally built and both the Beam Engine and Engine House are Grade II listed.
We managed to find a mooring spot right at the end of the “Linear Moorings” just before the pipe bridge next to Chalk Bridge. Tottenham Marshes, the 100 acres of marshes which were originally a flood plain of the River Lea,but significant changes have been made over the years. Between the 1860s and 1930 a range of facilities including tennis courts and swimming were available but after World War II between 1946 and 1960 the area was used for gravel extraction and landfill. In the late 19th century the Wild Marsh East was bisected when the River Lea was diverted to accommodate the construction of some of the Lee Valley Reservoir Chain. The marsh was the first home of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in 1882. The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA), created by an Act of Parliament in 1965, bought Tottenham Marshes in 1972.
During the evening I took Jimmy a walk around the pathways which meander all over the area and picked loads of juicy Blackberries which abound here. Through the bridge we could just make out the lights of the London buses returning and leaving the garage by the side of the canal so would not wanted to have moored any further on.