Henley Whalers - Annual Long Row - 2017

Version 12/8/18


  Link to - Possible Tidal Thames Long Sail- and Medway Raid planning info - .
Long Row - 2018 - River Kennet (K&A Canal) and Thames - Newbury to Henley
Updated 12/8/18.

Upnor Castle
Upnor Castle

Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th October

"The Garden of England" plus Maritime Heritage
Very green. Mainly tranquil. Some historic flourishes

Contributions welcome.

3-Minute Video
Video of the best available pictures


Click any picture to enlarge

More of a summary than a report

Friday 13th October - Skeleton crew (beaten by buraucracy - obliged to use the alternative slipway - notes further down) launched at EA Slipway near Hampstead Lock and Yalding station. 51.227063, 0.413820 - Picture.
Moored at Hampstead Marina.
Shuffled trailer and cars to Medway Yacht Club (the final destination).
Adjourned to the hotel, Premier Inn at Sandling near Allington Lock.
Dinner at the adjacent Malta Inn.

Medway Map
River Medway

Mollys at Breakfast
"Mollys" at breakfast

Molly at Hampstead Marina
Hampstead Marina

Toward Yalding
Heading toward Yalding
Pub Mooring at Yalding
Pub mooring, Yalding
Yalding Bridge
Yalding bridge - Only inches wide enough!
Saturday 14th October - Morning
Minimum cars to the start at Yalding. 10 crew.
As compensation for being unable to enjoy the "magnificent Seven" greenest miles of the Medway, we devised a route to explore rivers and creeks around Yalding, then up to the "closed" bridge before returning ahead of schedule to "Teapot Island" - "Bistro-style large menu, fully licensed" for lunch (pre-arranged).
Hampstead Lock Video
Hampstead Lock (video)
Lifting Bridge
See the height gauge!
Lifting Bridge
Pretty low?
Lifting bridge not lifted
Low enough!
Low enough!
Your contributions welcomed.
First sight of the barrier
Boom 2
Environmental boom
Useless boom
But the boom is not leak proof!
Rail Bridge Scaffold
Scaffolded rail bridge

The four rail bridge pictures above were taken on Saturday. More below

"A fine exploration of North Kent"

"An enjoyable exploration of a new part of the country, with plenty of features of interest"

"Gorgeous, scenic weekend of camaraderie in kind conditions". "Enjoyable weekend despite the problems"

Teapot Island - lunch stop
Free-Wheeling through a disused lock
"Free-wheeling" an ex-lock (video)
Converted oast
Converted Oast House
Geese on guard
Lunch queue
"Mollys" queue for lunch. Teapot Island
Wier, Lock, Canoe chute
Weir . Lock . Canoe chute

Saturday 14th October - Afternoon
Began the afternoon cruise a little ahead of schedule.
Sylvan scenes predominated. Ancient bridges. Glimpses of villages.
Maidstone (old and new) provided interesting contrast.
Allington Castle was clearer through the trees than the picture suggests.
Allington. Moored above the lock alomst outside the hotel.
Collected cars from Yalding.

What fruit be that?
Canoe Chute
Canoe chute
Teston Bridge
Teston Bridge
East Farleigh
Teston Bridge

East Farleigh
East Farleigh

Click any picture to enlarge

Allington Castle
Allington Castle
Allington Castle
Allingon Castle
(anyone got a better one?)
Allington. Barges
Allington. Lock & Sluice in background
Molly moored at Allington
Molly moored at Allington, courtesy (click for pic) of "Kentish Lady"
Malta Inn
Malta Inn
Saturday Night stop
Thirsty crew
Thirsty "Mollys"
More thirsty crew
Three Graces?
Allington low tide
Allington. Low tide
Sunday Crew.  Allington Lock
Sunday Crew. Allington Lock
Aylesford Bridge
Aylesford Priory
Aylesford Priory

Sunday 15th October - 12 crew
09:30 met at Hotel.
10:00 in Allington Lock.
With the slowly strengthening ebb tide, soon passed through Aylesford, followed by Snodland, Halling and Borstall (The original one is now closed!).
The upper tideway was cluttered with large amounts of flotsam and jetsam.
More industry here than yesterday, but still mainly rural as far as the outskirts of Rochester.
Closeup view of many "fine-boats" in a timed "Heads" race.
Welcomed at Rochester Cruising Club (pre-arranged) for Sunday roast and R&R.

Halling Church
Medway bridge/s
Medway Bridge(s)
Rochester Castle
Rochester Castle
Rochester Castle
Rochester Castle.
Sunday lunch stop at RCC.
Busy crew
Getting away from it all?

.Rochester Cathedral
Rochester Cathedral

Sunday Afternoon -
Time for a brief wander to see the Castle grounds and Cathedral.
Onward with the ebb tide through Rochester, past Strood and Chatham (Fort Amherst high on the hill)..
Spied some historic ships in the Historic Shipyard.
Upnor Castle, and Arethusa (training "ship") all too soon cued us to round up and come alongside the pontoon at Medway Yacht Club.
Refreshments, Car Shuffling, then a few challenges with the slipway due to low tide (we had been warned!), and head out to do battle with the motorway.

Rochester Castle grounds
Rochester Castle grounds
Fort Amherst
The Command House
Fort Amherst (top right)
Fort Amherst
Fort Amherst


Upnor Castle
Upnor Castle
Medway YC
Medway YC (finish)
Click any picture to enlarge
Click here for Video.
Medway YAcht Club
Medway Yacht Club
Sunday Crew. at MYC
Sunday Crew at MYC.
View from the bar
View from the bar. MYC
Your contributions welcomed.

Statistics - Saturday 14/10
Before lunch, 5.2 miles, 2hrs 30 mins. 1 lock.
Lunch, 1hr20.
After lunch, 10 miles, 3hrs 10 mins. 3 locks.
Anticipated - Day 1. Non-tidal 18 miles +9 Locks

Statistics - Sunday.
Before lunch. 10,8 miles, 2hs 35. 1 lock.
Lunch, 2hrs 20..
After lunch. 3.5 miles. 1 hr.
Anticipated - Day 2. 1 lock +Sheltered tidal 15 miles

(For comparison Wed 18/10 pm we covered 4.8 miles in 1hr14mins, max speed 5.3mph.)

Regrets? - It would be easy to spoil this page with a diatribe about the river closure at East Peckham rail bridge.
EA had granted permission for us to continue if we could fit.
We negotiated with Network Rail. They said that if we produced proof of EA's permission, they would allow us through. We produced it. They U-turned.
We surveyed the bridge on Friday. There was plenty of headroom (far more than at Yalding/Hampstead lifting bridge). And as for their "Environmental barrier". .. Enough!

Cons - We were needlessly and at short notice, denied access to the "Magnificent Seven" greenest miles of the navigable Medway, and one of our five castles.
Had we known earlier, we could have planned a shortened route with only one night of accommodation.
Pros - We explored, Swallows and Amazons style, five un-planned miles around Yalding.
Overall the event was a useful "Taster" for a Medway Raid.
A 2-day "down-hill" row from Tonbridge to Upnor could be an addendum to a Medway Raid?
Lowest headroom = 1.9 metres.

Bridge 1
Bridge 2
Bridge 2
Bridge 3
Bridge 3
Bridge 4
Bridge 4
The four rail bridge pictures above were taken on Friday. More in the cruise summary..
Back to Top
Previous Long Rows here.

The rest of this page features
A possible future "Long Sail"
- London to The Medway (2018?)
A possible future English Raid
- Medway 2019?
Possible Future Long Row - Lee & Stort 2019?

Long Row 2018 - River Kennet (K&A Canal) and Thames - Newbury to Henley

Possible future "Long Sail"
- Thames to the sea - eg Gallions Point to Southend, Sheerness or Rochester (Medway). - (Could also be a "TASTER" for a Medway Raid?).
35 miles Gallions to Sheerness, or reverse (either way is tide-dependant).
(PW has experience of this area. - eg several runs Greenwich to Medway in one day)

Jim Shead Waterways .Medway - Include tidal section and to Sheerness - Distances. Details, Links to Pictures (loads). Many other links.
Canal Plan - Thames, Tidal section, Woolwich Barrier to the sea.
Canal Plan.org.uk - Medway - Tidal section - Useful map and chart.

NAVIGATION, etc - (Data being collected - PLEASE SEND ANY USEFUL LINKS.)
Port of London Thames Recreational Users Guide - Teddington to Broadness - Broadness to Sea Reach.
Slipways -
Need to identify suitable slipways at each end - London end - Gallions? Estuary end; North side & South Side. Medway & Swale - See Medway Rowing above
Might need overnight mooring, accommodation en-route, eg Gravesend, North Kent, Essex..

(Canal Guide = Nope) - ("Waterways Routes" = nope)

Gallions to Sheppy, measured
"Map" Gallions to Sheppey, Measured

Back to The "Future"
.Back to Top

Possible Future English Raid (2019?)
- The Medway, its Estuary, and The Swale. Back to Top
Famous for wildlife, Rochester Castle & Cathedral, Chatham Historic Dockyard, Isle of Sheppey, The Swale, Harty Ferry, Faversham Creek, Real Ales!
An estuarine and bay area of creeks and islands, a similar size to Golfe Du Morbihan - See comparison..
(PW has experience of this area.)

2018 would be the 351st anniversary of the Battle of the Medway (The Dutch inflicted one of the worst ever defeats on the British Navy)

Jim Shead Waterways .Medway - Include tidal section and to Sheerness - Distances. Details, Links to Pictures (loads). Many other links.
Canal Plan.org.uk . Medway tidal section

(Data being collected - PLEASE SEND ANY USEFUL LINKS.)
Need to identify suitable slipways Thames Estuary; North side & South Side. Medway & Swale.
Need to identify moorings for overnights and day visits. Thames Estuary; North side & South Side. Medway & Swale.
See Medway Rowing above.
Need to identify overnight accommodations - Thames Estuary; North side & South Side. Medway & Swale.
Consider combination of Arethusa and Medway Yacht Club.

The Swale -
Faversham -

(Canal Guide = Nope)? - ("Waterways Routes" = nope)

Slipways - Bottom end:-
Medway Yacht Club- (Used for Long Row 2017)
Otherwise "fall-back" at
Gillingham pier, Slipway 51.397289, 0.554601 Picture.
Queenborough. TBC

Arathusa - "Ensuites for Staff...." (worth checking) - Close to Medway Yacht Club
Ship and Trades Hotel
Premier Inn Chatham/Gillingham Victory Pier
Travelodge Chatham Historic Dockyard, Western Ave, Chatham ME4 4NT, UK
University of Kent, Medway Campus. Liberty Quays Blake Ave Gillingham ME7 1FL UK
Some of the above are near Gillingham Marina.

Updated 12/8/18
(Accommodation section)

Medway Estuary map
Medway Estuary "map"

Thames & Medway "map"
Thames and Medway "map".

Aerial view from North

Medway & Morbihan compared scale
Medway Estuary and
Morbihan compared

Back to The "Future"
.Back to Top

Possible "Formulae" - (a) "Radial" = SIngle base + out and back trips each day - (b) "Linear". Several days going from A to B - (c) "Circular" = Several days to complete a circuit, finally returning to the start.

(a) "Radial" = SIngle base + out and back trips each day
Several possibile bases to consider, mainly in the Rochester/Chatham/Gillingham area. Also research Sheerness/Sheppy area.

(b) "Linear". Several days going from A to B - Possibilities:-
i) Launch at Hampstead Lock. 1 day to Allington Lock. 1 day to Rochester/Chatham. 1 day to Sheerness/Sheppy.
ii) Launch at Harty Ferry. 1 day to Sheppy. 1 day to "Chatham" area. 1 day to Allington Lock.
iii) Include a crossing of the Thames Estuary to Southend/Canvey/Benfleet/nearby?
iv) Launch in "London" (Gallions)? 1 day to Sheerness/Sheppy. 1 day to Harty Ferry/Faversham. 1 day around Sheppy?. 1 day to "Chatham". 1 day to Allington Lock.
Accommodation could be at each location, or "car-shuffling" or rent minibus, to use one "hotel" throughout.

(c) "Circular" = Several days to complete a circuit, finally returning to the start.
Extract suitable permutations from the above to create a "circular" route.
Accommodation could be at each location, or "car-shuffling" or rent minibus, to use one "hotel" throughout.



Possible Future Long Row
- Lee and Stort Navigation. eg Hoddesdon to Bow Creek
Mixed rural and urban/industrial. 24 miles (TBC) + Locks.

Canal Guide.co.uk .Lee & Stort - History. Route description with pictures.
Jim Shead Waterways . Lee & Stort .Distances. Details, Links to Pictures (loads). Many other links.
Canal Plan.org.uk ..Lee & Stort. Useful map and chart.
Waterway Routes.co.uk .- Lee & Stort, Limehouse Basin, River Lee, River Stort, Hertford Union - Tables of distances, etc. Cruising maps to buy.

Canal & River Trust .River Lee Navigation - Useful for Map, stoppages, etc.- C&RT license required.
Boaters'Guide to London's Waterways - Info and maps.

Slipways - Top end
Lee Valley Marina. (& crane). Stanstead Abbas, Herts SG12 8AL, 01920 870 499, .email .
Rye House, Rye Rd, Hoddesdon, EN11 0EH. 01992 465151 ? . Lee Valley Park (Free? but need permission).
Hallingbury Marina ?. 01279 723568.. email.
Boatlaunch . (Use the map to find slipway then details)
I W A. - L&S - List of boatyards.

Bottom end - At Thames, need to consider - Tide height & direction. Possible slipways.

Bob has kindly offered to do the on-site research for this region, and currently suggests:-
"Possible itineraries might include:

1. Friday PM: Launch at Lee Valley Marina (Stanstead Abbots) public slipway see Boatlaunch
   Up to Hertford to moor overnight.
   Hertford -> Thames (at Bow, or Limehouse via the Cut). Through the Olympic Park towards the end.
   Total trip (excl. Fri) under 30 miles 19? locks
2. Fri PM: Launch at Kecksy’s Farm (Sawbridgeworth) 51.820573, 0.158198 (but slipway will need checking)
   Up to Little Hallingbury marina or Stortford to moor overnight.
   Stortford -> Thames as above
   Total trip (excl. Fri) 32 miles 30? locks
   Alternative might be to crane in at Little Hallingbury if they can do it.

Both the above are shorter than our normal two day rows, but we’d need to add time to reach whatever slipway we finish at and possibly account for the tide. If Poplar Rowing Club, we could potentially choose to emerge at whichever of Limehouse or Bow gives us the best passage to the slipway for the state of the tide."

L&S Map
Map - Lee & Stort

River Lee Boat
Lee Valley Slipway

River Lee Boat
Lee & Stort Navigation

Back to The "Future"
.Back to Top


General Information.
Boatlaunch . Use the map to find slipway then details.
River & Canal Licensing - A list of authorities.
Canal Guide.co.uk - Online guides to many UK canals & canalised rivers...
Canal Plan.org.uk - Maps of many waterways.
Jim Shead Waterways . Distances. Details, Pictures (loads). Links. Interactive map.
Waterway Routes.co.uk . A source of cruising maps to buy.

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