Woolverstone River Orwell to Gravesend and St Kat’s, City of London
It will not surprise you to know that the journey from Woolverstone (a delightful stop up the River Orwell, and delightful even though they closed the bar early through a lack of custom) was without wind. “Gentlemen, start your engine, once more”.
A late start, after re-fuelling at Woolverstone, saw us tentatively edge our way up the north side of the Thames estuary. Tentative because it is a very busy sea route into London and its docks. And tentative because there are all sorts of sandbanks and shallows that can, on occasion, move simply at the turn of a tide. Tricky indeed. We simply followed the buoys as they (almost) guarantee that you are in a deep water section. Arriving at the narrowest point of the estuary shortly after sunset (see Gallery – a sunset over Southend Pier caught on camera) did not help nerves. Peering into the gloom and trying to distinguish river buoyage lights from every-day street and house lights is not the easiest of tasks. However, we arrived at Gravesend Town Pier at around 11:30pm and hooked onto a mooring buoy for the night.
A short nap and we were up again to make the transit into the City of London and St Katharine’s Dock – just in time for lunch at the Dicken’s Inn. The journey up the river, my first for 20years, shows just how much the eastern side of London is becoming more ‘gentrified’. That may be the Olympic effect or, more probably, the fact that London has the most expensive housing and that a ripple effect is moving eastward as households move to areas that are more affordably, thereby effectively retreating and leaving the ‘old’ London to the newly rich Eastern Europeans, Brazilians, Chinese and Indians.
The journey was splendid and we sped past all the major London landmarks including Greenwich, O2, QE II Bridge and Tower Bridge.
So, having arrived a little early in London, and made aware that our new crew mate does not start until Sunday, I have taken the opportunity to travel home to Winchester for a luxurious day and a half with Moyna, India and Edd.
Given that, there will now be a short interlude in the Blogs. See you Sunday.
June 11&12 Day 67 & 68