Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Monday, 8 April 2013

Moving Again

After a few days visiting family and attending a wedding, it was good to get back to Tacet last night and to get moving again.
Though first of all the car had to be returned and a quick visit made to Tesco Express for milk and bread. 
We untied and cast off at 10.20.  The weather was back to cold and rather dreary as we retraced our journey of last Monday back down the River Lee to Limehouse Basin. The locks are in pairs along this stretch (except Pickett's) and one is electrically operated and the other needs a windlass.  We chose the lazy way and  pushing the button was all the work needed.  Except when we got to Old Ford lock the electric paddle mechanism was being repaired so we had to use the manual lock and this one is horrible. The paddle and gates are operated by the same hydraulic gear, and takes so much winding, it's such hard work.  Fortunately there was a C&RT man willingly helping whilst the repair work was being done.

We stopped at Three Mills Tesco to stock up the cupboards and fridge after being away. As we approached Limehouse the sun started to shine, so it was a pleasure to get out with the camera once we had tied up and could set off to enjoy the sights.
Across the marina

To the lock
1st view of the Thames
We wandered down one of the many set of stairs to access the foreshore, spotting traces of the days when the river here was a busy working port.

Pelican Stairs
These steps are beside the Prospect of Whitby, said to be the oldest riverside pub in London.
There are many of these narrow sets of stairs and alleys along the tidal River Thames.  They were used by watermen who taxied passengers across and along the river and are often called watermen's stairs.  They have been there since the 14th century.
The stairs were used at high tide and causeways were used a low tide, the locations of the stairs and causeways had to be learnt during a waterman's apprenticeship.  They were recognised as safe places to pick up and put down passengers and were often alongside a public house.
The Thames Stairs are protected public rights of way, although many have already been lost over the years in redevelopment. 

It was fun to search out a few this afternoon, with the tide going out, so we could get right down to the water's edge.
Once we got to Wapping we turned away from the river and then passed the Tobacco Dock. Where once imported tobacco was unloaded and stored in a large warehouse.  An unsuccessful attempt to regenerate the building as a shopping centre means much of the building is now empty. 
Tomorrow we expect to get out onto the Thames on the 11o'clock tide. Next stop Teddington.

Enfield - Limehouse
12 miles, 5 locks


  1. Tobacco Dock was where they housed the (extra) military during the Olympics. Nearby The Golden Hind.

  2. Hi there, fantastic blog! I've only ever been narrow boating the once, through the canals of Bath, but I absolutely loved it- I'm very envious of your adventures on the rivers! This area of London always fascinates me. The juxtaposition of the old crumbling docks, and the high-rise skyscrapers around Canary Wharf gives a real sense of history to the city! I'm looking forward to reading your journey through the west of the Thames too- around Teddington, Twickenham and Hampton is where I grew up, and there are some beautiful waterways round there!
    Anyway, I don't suppose you would be interested in sharing this blog over at Glipho? We're a new social blogging site with an active community of creative bloggers- I know they would enjoy reading your blog as much as I have! If you get a chance, perhaps you could take a quick visit over to and see what you think. You can simply import all your old posts from this existing blog over to Glipho too, without affecting anything here. It's pretty easy!

    Thanks for your time, and the really enjoyable blog. I look forward to hearing more from you! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me too!

    All the best,