A TOE IN TIDAL WATERS
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