Sunday, 9 August 2015

Visitors Galore along the Wey

3rd – 9th August 2015

Monday 3rd August 2015
Cart Bridge, Send to Dapdune Wharf, Guildford
5.5 miles, 3 locks

No visitors today - just a gentle journey along this lovely river.  The locks get easier as you go south.  This is Triggs Lock.


Stoke Lock is really 'swirly' - it is all so much easier with two boats in a lock

Just after Bower's Lock we came across this tree down across the river.  We went and reported it when we checked in at Dapdune Wharf - and there it was noted on their 'to do' board.  I rather suspect it will have gone by the time we head north.

The daily challenge is whether we will get a mooring where we want one.  Today it was to be Dapdune Wharf in Guildford.  The book said one night only, but on arriving we found we could have booked and if you want more than one night you can for £5 a night.  That takes the worry out of our return trip - Friday and Saturday have been booked and paid for.

There is a lot to see and read at Dapdune Wharf and it is worth a visit even if you don't want to go into Guildford.  Our first stop was a trip to M&S food hall using a taxi to get back with our vittles. If you come this way either by boat or land, I would recommend a visit.

Here we are moored right in the middle of the exhibits - there are people around in the day, but the evenings are very quiet and the entrance gates are locked.

The centre of the exhibits is Reliance - a River Wey Barge.  There is a lot more information about the barges and the Wey Navigation than I can pass on - if you want to know more either come and visit or google!


You can go inside, but mind your head - hard hats are provided.

There is another barge in the water, but I did not find any information about that one.

There is a corner in what was the gunpowder store with dressing up clothes for the younger visitors

This exhibition made us realise just how hard creating a navigation must have been.

If you venture to 'the island' you go past a community project allotment


Past Mr and Mrs Scarecrow

To a large open space that includes picnic tables and plenty of space for youngsters to let off steam and dogs to play ball.

With squirrels to be barked at!

Monday evening saw our second lot of visitors (after the family on Sunday) - two ex-RAF friends, Mo & Tim, came for dinner.  It was good to catch up - I am sorry we forgot to get the camera out.

Tuesday 4th August 2015
Dapdune Wharf Guildford to Guns Mouth Junction
2.75 miles, 2 locks

Our next visitor arrived mid morning - Heather - we met when we were four at Primary school.  A short journey today to the junction of the Wey and Arun Canal which has been under restoration for years.  Hopefully it will be completed one day.  I fear not in our boating life.

 We went past Town Wharf - the Wey Navigation was very important to the success of Guildford.  A Wey barge could transport 50 tonnes to London in 1.5 to 2 days whereas a horse could only take 1 tonne in a day, and a horse and cart just 2 tonnes in a day.  Gunpowder was one of the main cargoes - transporting such a dangerous cargo was much safer by water than road.

Next we spotted a statue of Alice in Wonderful and the White Rabbit produced in 2010.  Charles Dodgson was left to find a house for his 6 unmarried sisters when his father died in 1868 when he was just 36.  The house he found was in Guildford, so he was a frequent visitor.

Past Debenhams - we have sat on the terrace a time or two when we used to shop in Guildford, but it was the first time we have seen it from the River.

We always believe in getting visiting crew to help out - mind you that is half the fun!

Past this very large pub

and the golden sands where there used to be a ford.  We believe this was called 'Gold Ford', hence the name Guildford.

It was rather windy at Catherine's Lock giving this day boat a few moments trouble

More winding for Heather and the day boat had sorted themselves out

Chris's first job this morning was to take the cratch down as we were aware that Broadford Bridge is rather low.  It was a comfort to see the water level was down

But would we make it?

We did, but it would have been a very tight fit with the cratch up

We moored just past the junction

and Monty took Heather, Boatwif and I for a walk along the disused canal.



Then we espied this viewing platform

On we went under Tannery Bridge which was a 'turnover' or 'roving' bridge that allowed horses to cross the river when the tow path changed sides

 And there again was that viewing platform

 It is beautifully constructed


But what is there to view - the sign says it is over Cranleigh Waters with a view of three veteran oaks, one of which is over 500 years old.  Well we could not see any water - maybe it is there after rain?  The trees are lovely, but we were not sure they warranted quite such an elaborate structure?
It was back to the boats for a social evening for the five of us

Wednesday 5th August 2015
Guns Mouth Junction to Godalming
2.5 miles, 2 locks

Another short day - it is becoming a rather good habit!

The cratch was back on and we look more like ourselves as we go through Unstead Lock

There were a lot of rowing boats out as we approached Farncombe Boathouse.  Most were wise and took cover in the reeds.  Their consideration was appreciated.

 One couple, however, blithely continued weaving to and fro across the river crossing over in front of boats approaching it and the two of us behind them.

Thankfully we were not in a hurry, so managed to go at their pace until they peeled off at Farncombe Boathouse.

Catteshall Lock is just past Farncombe Boathouse - all the locks on the Wey are well signposted with relevant information - this being the last lock.

 A surprise was waiting for us here - a 'paintbox' of artists - no not a paintbox - google suggests a 'family', 'colony', 'enclave' or a 'collective' of artists. We prefer 'paintbox'.

Note The Captain's brolly in the first picture - we did not get much rain today, but if it is going to rain it always seems to happen at a lock!  One artist abandoned her painting whilst she went to get her umbrella.

Now just look at the position of this artist in relation to that lock gate beam and imagine what happens when you need to close the gate once we are both in?  Yes, he had to move back a bit!  I did not see it, but apparently when Boatwif arrived the boat leaving the lock below was in the lock, so the gates were closed - the artist was using the beam as a work surface and had his paints lined up ready for use! He had to swiftly move them when they had to open the gate!   It was good to see a group of people enjoying their day in a completely different way to us.

More work for Heather - pushing gates this time!

Would we or wouldn't we find a mooring in Godalming - they can, I believe, be a bit like gold dust. There was one space when we arrived, so we breasted up, but the boat ahead of Cleddau moved within an hour of us arriving, so we were able to pull back.  Sainsburys is just behind the hedge on the left of the picture.  You can get your trolley right up to the boat.

Around 2pm the horse drawn trip boat, Iona, was full and ready to go.


A quick meal (bird seed, not bread) for the local family of swans

and we headed off into Godalming to take Heather to the station to catch a train back to Guildford. It was a fabulous two days - do come again Heather.  We walked back along a river walk and through the park which Monty enjoyed.  We had to go past 'Pets at Home', so we went in to see if they had a 'Tuffy' bone.  It is the only soft toy Monty has not destroyed, he loves it and I am afraid we left it at home.  They had one and his little face lit up when we picked it off the shelf.  The assistant took all the packaging off and Monty (who never carries anything) carried it all the way back to the boat!  It had been a busy day and he curled up - a very tired, but happy sailor.

Two hours after leaving Iona returned.

From about 6pm we were entertained for around 1.5 hours with a group of children having a canoeing lesson.  The instructor in the green boat with the umbrella hat (it poured throughout the lesson) was very enthusiastic, but completely in control.  They were rafting up with one child holding both canoes whilst the other one stood up.  Most managed it - a few did not!  Towards the end the main aim seemed to be to get as wet as possible.  There were two other supervisors and despite children falling in all over the place they always seemed to be on top of the situation.  It was a joy to watch and listen to children out having such fun rather being strapped to a 'screen'.
 



At the very end they were told to all raft up and the lad at the right as you look at the photo was instructed to stand, run along all the canoes and shake hands with the lad on the left!  He gave it a good go, but did not quite make it!

Thursday 6th August 2015
Godalming

A day off - a domestic morning and another visitor (well 2) in the afternoon.  This time an ex-colleague of mine, Carol, and her dog, Daysie.  Carol and I last met around 1995!

Carol and I set off to take the dogs for a walk - first along the river

Into the park where we were delighted to find a school brass band practising

Past St Peter and St Paul Church

Then we came across this Cloister built in memory of John George Phillips who was a native of Godalming.  He was the Chief Wireless Telegraphist on SS Titanic who died at his post on 15th April 1912.  The Postal Telegraph Clerks Association provided the fountain and contributed towards the erection of the memorial.

It was restored in 2012 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic

It is a wonderful tranquil walled garden - a good place to sit and contemplate in peace.



On over this bridge

Daysie found some water to paddle in much to Monty's bemusement

We picked up the river again

Our walk ended at this waterfall where we turned and re-traced our steps and went back to the boat for tea and cake - for which many thanks, Carol.  We must not leave it so long next time.

I needed a post box and went past this shop window on my travels. I am not sure what the significance of the artwork is, but what did catch my eye was the 'Whot' cards interspersed with playing cards.  It is a game I played as a child, with our children and now occasionally with our eldest grandchild.

Friday 7th August 2015
Godalming to Guildford
5.25 miles, 4 locks

A day packed full of visitors!! Also for the first time this trip we are retracing our footsteps. Today's first visitors were another ex-colleague of mine, Sharon and her partner Justin.  The gap since our last meeting was not so long for Sharon and I, but it was the first time we had met Justin. They arrived mid morning, the car was parked at Godalming Station and we set sail.  Cleddau had gone ahead of us to ensure our booked moorings really were booked! 

At one of the locks we shared with this day boat - two of the crew were celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary.  When I added my congratulations and said 'well done' - his answer was 'Yes I have been well and truly done'!


We broke the habit of a lifetime and stopped for lunch.  We were making very good time, the weather was perfect, the mooring was secure (we had had a text to say Cleddau had arrived and was moored 'cruiser style' in the middle of the two moorings!) and we needed the chance to stop dashing about, sit, chat and relax.  Monty got a visitor from the boat ahead

And we all sat on the back deck to eat lunch.  We had stopped at the meadows just south of Guildford - a great mooring for future reference.

I was grateful of the help as we were just the one boat.

We dropped Justin in the centre of Guildford so he could get the train to Godalming, collect the car and come back for Sharon.  Even though he just missed a train it took him under an hour.

We came across this boy doing what boys will do, but they make my heart stop with fear.

Sometimes it is good to go there and back as you see things you missed on the way - the Castle

A bronze of a man throwing a rope at Town Wharf

and the electric theatre

Once Sharon and Justin left we readied ourselves for our dinner guests -  Jane and her husband Jeremy.  Jane is the friend I have known longest - she is two days younger than me and our Mums met in the Maternity home.  She is, you will understand, just a spring chicken!  It was good to see you both, but I am sorry I did not get a better photo.

The evening ended with a lovely sunset which did herald a very hot day on Saturday.


Saturday 8th August 2015
Guildford

We awoke to a flotilla of canoes and that was just about the only highlight of the day!  I was not feeling too good, so we had a really quiet day - we did take advantage of the weather and get the towels and bedding washed and dried.  Mid afternoon we got chatting to a couple thinking about getting a boat in a year or two.  Visits to both boats were in order with lots of chat about what to look for and oh yes, of course - composting toilets!  Good luck to you, Mike and Denise and do let us know when you are out on the cut. 

Sunday 9th August 2015
Dapdune Wharf to near Broad Oak Bridge via The Rowbarge Pub, Guildford
3.25 miles, 2 locks

A day for more visitors, but this time for both boats.  The Cleddau visitors were going to arrive around midday, so we set off heading to the Rowbarge Pub where we were booked in for Sunday lunch.  The first challenge was winding with canoes all over the place! The youngsters were not any problem at all


as their instructors got them to take cover, however a group of adults stormed up out of nowhere (racing we think).  Three stopped, but one decided to go round behind us as we were winding!!

We have never seen a narrow 'paddle' boat


Our visitors were two of my secondary school friends that I have not seen for around 20 years.  It was good to meet up again Sue and Liz and we must not leave it another 20 years!

Cleddau's visitors were a niece, her husband and three and a half (that half is very important!) year old great niece.


We met them all at the Rowbarge Pub.  We were looking forward to Sunday lunch, but we had hoped for a choice.  Sadly it was beef or chicken take it or leave it.  The child's meal was just a slightly smaller version of the adult meal and not in the least bit child friendly.  Were our meals any good - sadly not, but then perhaps for £8.95 in Surrey we should not have expected more. Geographically it was right, but we won't be going back.  The pub is by the Surrey Advertister building - an rather beautiful converted mill.

Once our visitors had gone we moved on a couple of locks.  Cleddau's visitors came to Stoke lock and then walked back to their car.  The tree at Bower's Lock is still down, but it is passable.

There is a very impressive leak at Bowers Lock.

We are moored in the middle of nowhere

With this as the view from our side hatch

It has been a very busy week, but great fun catching up with so many friends and family.

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