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.
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.
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.
12 miles, 5 locks