A TOE IN TI­DAL WA­TERS

Canal Boat - - Tidal Cruising -

Ex­cuse the in­ap­pro­pri­ate metaphor but the var­i­ous ti­dal links be­tween in­land wa­ter­ways are a good way to get a feel of ti­dal boat­ing. If you’re ner­vous, talk to the lock­ies who will also mon­i­tor your jour­ney to make sure you’ve ar­rived safely.

The short­est of th­ese links is the 15-minute stretch of ti­dal Great Ouse that joins the non-ti­dal river to the Mid­dle Level as part of the ‘through route’ from the canals to the wa­ters of East Anglia. Un­der the guid­ance of Paul, the Sal­ter’s Lode lockie, you’ll be fine – hun­dreds use it ev­ery sea­son.

The Brent­ford-Ted­ding­ton trip on the ti­dal Thames to or from the Grand Union is the most pop­u­lar. It’s a straight­for­ward, 60-90 minute run, with the tide, although go­ing to­ward Brent­ford, it’s a bit tricky to spot the en­try to Brent­ford Creek. Just wind and go back if you miss it.

The York­shire Ouse and ti­dal Trent are more sub­stan­tial routes. The ti­dal Trent’s 54 miles run from Cromwell Lock and give ac­cess to the River Witham via Tork­sey Lock, the very pretty Ch­ester­field Canal via West Stock­with and, fur­ther on, to the north east wa­ter­ways via Keadby.

A prop­erly equipped craft can ven­ture fur­ther down to Goole but that’s not for the in­ex­pe­ri­enced. It’s a big river; wind­ing, largely ru­ral and with sev­eral power sta­tions that draw their cool­ing water from it. It is of­ten fast flow­ing and, with a strong flood tide that has its own ‘Bore’ – the Ae­gir – on some Spring tides. It’s not as fierce as the Sev­ern’s but still worth avoid­ing. Lock­ies will ad­vise. You

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