Midway to the Medway...
TWO OF A CONVOY of nine narrowboats heading for the River Medway are dwarfed by cargo vessel Cymbeline (11,866 tonnes, and as wide as a full length narrowboat is long!) as they pass the new London Gateway cargo port near Canvey Island on the lower Thames estuary.
The flotilla was one of the Thames tideway trips organised every year by St Pancras Cruising Club, but the first time the Club has gone as far as the Medway for 20 years. A departure from Bow Locks saw the boats take advantage of the early morning falling tide down the Thames to moor overnight at the pontoon moorings created at Gravesend for this purpose, before continuing to near Southend (where the estuary is five miles wide) before turning into the Medway and stopping overnight on the Swale.
A third day’s journey carried on up the Medway to moor in the shadow of Rochester Castle, followed by a trip to the tide lock at Allington for a month-long stay on the non-tidal river before the return journey.