Cowley Lock to Ballot Box Bridge
A couple of suggestions came about after yesterdays poohing incident as to what might have jettisoned it’s load on Oleanna. Kath from NB Herbie suggested that it may have been a cormorant, we had seen a couple of them yesterday so I suspect this was the case. But another friend suggested it could have been peacocks as they tend to leave similar messes around Warwick!
We seemed to be the first to move today and it wasn’t early. Yesterday the canal had been quite busy with boats coming and going for some time after we’d moored. We pootled along in the sunshine, after three quarters of a mile we passed the end of the Slough Arm. At the beginning of 2015 we had tried venturing down the arm only to be thwarted by ice.
I’m not too keen on this stretch of the canal as it brings back sad memories of the day we knew we had to say goodbye to Houdini our old second mate who had move on board with us in 2014. After passing West Drayton Tescos I headed below to have a shower and keep myself busy as we passed under Colham (Murderers) Bridge. Tilly kept me amused either by being transfixed by the shower gulper or putting the bath mat out of it’s misery.
One of the first boats to be moving towards us was a very wide widebeam. Mick pulled us right over giving the chap at the helm as much space as we could, he still had to keep walking the half mile to look down is starboard side to check he had enough space. We were relieved once he had passed.
Soon Bulls Bridge Junction came into view and the water point by Tescos was chocker. A small tug was on the end of the mooring, two narrowboats breasted up with a third filling their water tank. There was no point in us trying to find space to top up so we pulled in on the same side but where the wall is quite high. This would mean we could easily stock up on things from Tescos before turning left into the Paddington Arm.
Shopping done and a load of washing on we reversed up a touch and then swung Oleanna into the Arm heading north east. Tilly came out to join us for a while, passing trains didn’t bother her, but she really has a problem with bridges. Someone steals the sky! It looked like something had been demolished near the Southall gasometer, but it turns out that the old gas works had been being used as a car park for Heathrow for sometime. Now the 88 acre sight is being cleared for a development comprising of 3750 homes, schools, commercial space and a lot of green park areas.
On we pootled passing the water point in Southall. Here there were a disappointing number of swans, but masses of pigeons. Locals come to feed the birds right by the tap, piling mounds of bread or seed up on the mooring point, it somewhat puts you off stopping! Arriving at the Black Horse Pub the water point here was free so we made use of it before continuing onwards. Our hope is to just need to top up tomorrow morning before heading deeper into London where once we’ve found a mooring we are unlikely to want to move for water as we may not have a mooring anymore!
A short distance on and we approached Ballot Box Bridge at the foot of Horsenden Hill. A suitable sized gap greeted us so we pulled in. Mick was pulling us in with the centre rope as one of the working boats we’d seen in Rickmansworth came past. He didn’t slow down or even acknowledge that Mick was clinging on for dear life to a now unpredictably moving Oleanna! He just kept on going at speed pulling another boats bow spike out as he went. Cheers Mate!
I suspect Tilly will be gone for hours as we are right next to a nature reserve! Eek!