Cockney-shell Heros on The Thames Tideway

A reciprocated visit to paddle on Paul’s patch is duly accepted. Streets, or rather waterways, of London here I come.

Friday night is curry night and a fine prerequisite to a full days paddling.

The weekend dawn is just breaking as we arrive ready to get on the water at Chiswick. It’s quite a chilly morning, actually really cold. We have to be careful not to slip on the pontoon at the put in due to the thin layer of white powdered frost. It’s so cold that while boats and kit are being sorted I have to stand in my boat to keep my toes from freezing.

The Motley Crew: David Mattingley, Roger Wiltshire, Jen Clough, Paul Lazenby-Barrett, Carlo Briffa, Jason Cole and Jason Paul Tolmie.

Roger getting set on a chilly January morning

The early morning Thames scene is quite enchanting. A beautiful wispy mist rises off the water, and through it the appearance of other rowers that have got on the water well before us. Dedicated nutters!

I have to admit to being quite excited when I starting to see the famous sights of London from the water. Like the first trip to London as a kid, I remember then being vaguely in awe at the busy-ness and magnitude of the place. The low morning winter light was amazing on the historic monuments and tourist spots.

Dawn Raid at the break of dawn on the misty and enchanting Thames Tideway

The Tideway isn’t a docile little river paddle by any means, definitely need to keep your whits about you. It’s a very busy waterway with ferries buzzing about throwing up small but beautifully barrelling surf waves on some of the sloping banks, and various static obstacles to be aware of. The tide doesn’t hang about and produces some locations where there is a little lively water.

Musically iconic grade II listed power station at Battersea

Battersea power station – - over 500MW of power generated from the two goal fired – - what an Animal!. Designed by the same industrial designer and architect, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott,  who designed the iconic red telephone box.

London metropolis - Westminster Bridge

A few heads have nodded off here. Hear! Hear! - Houses of Parliament otherwise known as Westminster Palace

The Golden Hind - 1577-1580 circumnavigated the globe under the captaincy of Sir Francis Drake

Don't see this from the gold paved streets above

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast and a group of Cockneyshell Heros

Here-on on the Thames

The Millennium Dome

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and finished 1710

Must have cringed to think his design was so close to the Millennium or “Wobbly” Bridge.

St Paul's cathedral

You are being watched -The London Eye

Vauxhall Bridge detail

A few heads have rolled here - The Tower of London

Anybody having the opportunity to paddle the Thames Tideway should grab it with both hands as at least for the first time you do it it is truely

There’s some folks who always worry, and some folks who never care,
But in this world of rush and hurry it matters neither here nor there.
Be steady and realistic, don’t hanker for gold or gems,
Be carefree and optimistic, like Old Father Thames.

High in the hills, down in the dales, happy and fancy free,
Old Father Thames keeps rolling along, down to the mighty sea.
What does he know, what does he care? nothing for you or me,
Old Father Thames keeps rolling along, down to the mighty sea.

He never seems to worry, doesn’t care for Fortunes fame,
He never seems to hurry, but he gets there just the same.
Kingdoms may come, Kingdoms may go, whatever the end may be,
Old Father Thames keeps rolling along, down to the mighty sea.

High in the hills, down in the dales, happy and fancy free,
Old Father Thames keeps rolling along, down to the mighty sea.
What does he know, what does he care? nothing for you or me,
Old Father Thames keeps rolling along, down to the mighty sea.

He never seems to worry, doesn’t care for Fortunes fame,
He never seems to hurry, but he gets there just the same.
Kingdoms may come, Kingdoms may go, whatever the end may be,
Old Father Thames keeps rolling along, down to the mighty sea.

 Raymond Wallace and Betsy O’Hogan

Nearly 53km paddling on The Thames Tideway- a grand day out!