Just to avoid thread hijack, let's start talking about Timmo's idea of a great big ring, starting in deepest Oxon and round canals and rivers.
Sounds very attractive to me!
On 11 Feb 2014 at 14:33, Chris Partridge [via UK HBBR Forum] wrote:
> Just to avoid thread hijack, let's start talking about Timmo's idea of
> a great big ring, starting in deepest Oxon and round canals and
> rivers. Sounds very attractive to me!
Yes, sounds like a good trip. I should like to be there but, this
year, Beale coincides with Seafair, so I will be in Wales rather than
Hoping for calm nights
In reply to this post by Chris Partridge
I'm interested, but only at a shorter daily distance, Saturday to Saturday perhaps.
Big Ring after The Event?
Happy for slow time
Delighted the Big Ring is interesting people. If you want to research it on-line it's more commonly called the Thames Ring by canal boaters (http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/features/cruising-rings/thames-ring)
It comprises 249 miles - 174 locks - 2 tunnels - 1 swing bridge and some lift bridges. Narrow boaters are told it's two hard weeks cruising 9 hours a day or three weeks at 5 to 6 hours a day. To put that in context the trip from Lechlade to Beale a number of us are familiar with is 70 miles and 20 locks.
The whole ring is probably too much in it's entirety for some, both because of the distance involved versus time available and because the section from Walton on Thames down to Brentford then up and over the Grand Union are probably best suited to sleep aboards and those comfortable with discreet unplanned wild camps on the tow path.
I'm away working before Beale so won't get afloat near Banbury till late Wednesday afternoon/evening. It's then 16 locks, 30 miles or so to Oxford and 10 locks 40.5 miles down the Thames to Beale. Given I'd hope to be at Beale by sometime Saturday morning I'm not sure that my schedule would be a sociable one (plan is 10 miles or so Wednesday evening, 25 miles Thursday, 25 miles Friday and the rest Saturday morning.) There are no launching facilities round Banbury either, I drop Ardilla in off the towpath. If others want to complete the entire ring it may work best for them to do this section at the end returning to Beale as the finish point.
It would be possible to repeat the Beale Park to Walton-on-Thames raid as a discreet event. Stopping at Mapledurham, Henley (specially if we can get permission to camp at the rowing club again,) Marlow (Longridge activity centre,) Windsor lock and Chertsey Caravan & Camping club. Last time we did that leaving Beale on Sunday and arriving at Walton for 10.00 am on the Friday. Daily distances ranged between 9 and 13 miles (with 6 on day one and 4 on the last day.) The daily distances being largely dictated by availability of legitimate campsites.
After Walton the campsites really disappear. For those who continue, if we maintain the same daily mileages the next night (Friday) would be be somewhere round Richmond-on-Thames, there will be moorings somewhere there, but camping could be problematic, it's all pretty urban. In the past my son and I did a wild camp below Richmond on the towpath alongside Kew Gardens, but that was a little after the turning to the Grand Union and there were no moorings there (big sloping wall that dried out at low tide.) Further back level with Ham there is the Thames Young Mariners outdoor centre, they have their own lake with a gate into the river they only open at high tide. Not an easy place to stop at when the gate's shut though. Wherever that night is spent Saturday would see us at Brentford turning the corner up the Grand Union before lunchtime.
Once on the Grand Union our pace and where we stop will depend on who is there, what boats we're in, etc.
Bear in mind that section from Beale to Brentford is less than a third of the whole ring and is the bit with a current flowing in the right direction. Current won't be a problem on the rest, it is pure canal, not canalised river, but it won't be any help either.
This means those not planning on going all the way might need to look at when they can pull out (if that makes you even smile then you have a dirty mind.)
The Beale show is under new management but I'm hoping the organisers will be as accomodating re launching and car parking etc. as Gillie was in the past.
Any comments? Suggestions? Volunteers to organise the bits that need organising? I have the complete plan from the last Beale to Walton trip that I'm happy to pass across.
There's a book: Thames Ring and London Ring Atlas, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thames-Ring-Atlas-Inland-Waterways/dp/086351166X (marked price is £11.75, less than £5 on Amazon looks good value.)
If we'e getting this much rain now, is it too much to hope that we might have wall to wall sunshine come June?
On 13 Feb 2014, at 11:41, Chris Waite [via UK HBBR Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Big Ring after The Event?
It seems to me that one of the trips must be liveaboard only.
Its far easier sleeping on board and we could stick to a comfortable 10 miles per day.
How many liveaboards are there? I can count 8
This is sounding like it could turn into a kind of multi-raid combo event, would it not be possible to have:
-Banbury to Beale.
-Letchlade to Beale.
UKHBBR big Beale party
-Beale to Walton
-Walton and beyond?
Kind of a raid as you like like for everybody interested, as long as you get a couple of boats doing each bit then it's a raid?
I would be interested in some Thames bits, Beale could even be an overnight stopover rather than a start/finish point.
That's interesting thinking Steve.
So are the options we want people to ecpress interest in:
Lechlade to Beale, gathering Lechlade on Sunday 1st June arriving Beale Friday 6th June.
Banbury to Beale, though someone else will have to propose timings, can offer somewhere to put one or two trailers/cars.
Beale to Walton, leaving Beale on Sunday 8th June arriving Walton on Friday 13th.
Continuing on beyond Walton, distance and timescale to be defined individually.
Could be the most complex but interesting Raid arrangement we've gone for yet! Sounds fun. I'm happy to pass on the plans I have for the Lechlade to Beale raid as well. Bear in mind the overnight at Wallingford in the past was courtesey of Chris Partridges relatives, so an alternative may need sorting. Perhaps the camping caravanning site just before Wallingford bridge.
I'm thinking a repeat of last year, going to Mappledurham on the Sunday night and then take the K&A back to Bristol.
I'm erring towards a leisurely Lechlade to Beale trip the first week and then the second week splitting off and doing my own thing.
If "the boat "with no name" is finished, I'd probably want to enter her in the Beale ABB competition, so that would mean 3 days at Beale. Could I manage 3 days next to a beer tent?
If doing the big loop I'd want to start at the half way mark, not Banbury, to get plenty of miles in before a break of a day (or 2) at Beale.
b. it may not actually be finished in time!
The lower Thames doesn't particularly appeal to me but, if sleeping aboard is required, I'd be compelled to bring Pam as
Forget about all those locks and portage most of them.
The Big ring appeals and is very doable in 2 weeks in a canoe.
I'm a free agent from 1st to 18th June so have plenty of time.
I'd really like to attend Seafair Haven again but I also don't want to miss Beale and a sunny Raid :-)
It all sounds rather interesting and I'm up for some or all of it!There are too many options.
a. "the boat "with no name" (which is currently only a small pile of sawdust) is probably too small to sleep aboard and
I know where all the pubs/camping places are and it'll be great to see it in the sunshine...
On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 8:43 PM, Timmo [via UK HBBR Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:
That's interesting thinking Steve.
A leisurely Lechlade to Beale trip taking in the scenery and a few pubs on the way sounds the best option to me too. Presumably avoiding the derelict marina and launching at either the pub or the public slipway.
The latter was ok last time but better suited to canoes or smaller dinghy's.
A raid in the sunshine? Well it has to happen one day I suppose!
Fear not Steve,
Our 2009 Raid was my best holiday ever - glorious sunshine all week, and excellent comradeship as ever.
With a combination of live-aboards, regular stops and some wild camping we can progress at an easy pace e.g. beer in one hand.
Graham and myself, and probably Cee Dubs, think that finishing at 3pm sitting down with a beer is the right kind of pace, also allowing for a leisurely breakfast and a decent lunch. So maybe 4 hours maximum at 2 or 3 knots, call it 8-10 miles per day tops.
Exploring the villages and countryside along the Thames will be interesting - we have already wizzed through on several trips and missed some interesting explorations. Chris P can photograph the ornamental stuff as he likes to do (http://ornamentalpassions.blogspot.co.uk/).
If my wife knew she could walk along the towpath for a reasonable distance she might join us for a day or two - others might want to cycle for a day etc. The more the merrier I think.
So who else prefers a leisurely approach?
Its great to be dreaming of warm summer days drifting down stream instead of the wild wet and windy weather we've had recently.
I don't have a sleep-aboard so I'm constrained to camping ashore.
Well I say constrained, but really it would be my preferred option in any case.
The only thing which makes sleeping aboard appealing is the ability to moor up pretty much anywhere quiet and stop the night. In reality I'd like to go ashore for a stretch and wander around a bit but the somewhat draconian trespass laws in England can make this a bit difficult sometimes. One or two discrete bivvy bags can sneak in most places but a dozen hairy boaters will surely attract attention.
Thanks to Timmo for this image of me in my natural environment.
My inclination is to go for the Lechlade to Beale Park section, with just maybe a follow-through down stream a bit with options open whether to hang a right up the Kennet.
Just a reminder that the Old Gaffers are having a weekend at The Trout at Lechlade the weekend before Beale which could add to the fun.
Like Paul I'm more inclined to drift lazily downstream and take more time to visit some of the places we pass through, there are quite a few places to camp officially and I'm quite happy to do a bit of wild camping in between.
One caveat I must add though, while we're getting carried away with the first nice day for weeks; If the weather looks anything like it did two years ago, I'm not going. Call me a soppy Scot who's gone soft from too many years in the south but I really don't think I've got anything to prove after the last time. And please don't even mention the Thames Tummy caused by the high river levels.
So perchance, Arrive Lechlade on Friday, depart Saturday, arriving at Beale when we get there.
I think I agree with Graham's sentiments about a leisurely trip from Lechlade. At present I'm not sure whether I will be able to join in but I would certainly like to do at leased part of it. After Beale I fancy going on East as I have always wanted to complete the journey to the Thames Barrier. I expect the logistics will defeat me but you can always dream!
It's a pipe-dream of course
But I like to see myself in the small but select fleet pottering, and I do mean 'pottering', down from Lechlade. Then a last ditch party to see if we can create more of a disturbance than the Goofy-Newfies, while there is still some sign of boats at the Beale Park Boat Show; followed by a Grand Union Oxford circuit.
I'd do a Beale to the Thames barrier and I'd go on round the coast to the Broads or Chichester depending on which way the wind was blowing, with two provisos. Firstly, I would want a set of ear defenders from the Ear Defender stall at Beale, as the background noise of airliners and automobiles downstream is sufficient to make an old goat's eardrums bleed. Secondly I will require a written guarantee from my relations that nobody is going to require the services of the family's very own time-expired quack, while he is having some personal down-time.
I can't think which of these is the least likely
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