thames

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pby5a
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thames

Post by pby5a »

Me and a seakaying buddy want to paddle the Thames 1 day next month. As I am not very familiar with the UK regulations, can somebody give me some info of what I need to know and need to do before I can paddle through the heart of London?

Cheers!!
Onno

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Re: thames

Post by TechnoEngineer »

http://www.pla.co.uk/display_fixedpage. ... recreation

Keep a close watch on the ferries in the Westminister area that hoon around pretty quickly, they do the marine equivalent to "handbrake turns" and throw up quite a bit of wash.

Further east (around Tower bridge) there are ferries that travel particularly fast.

Further west you'll find a lot of rowing boats, that tend to follow the inside bend as the river turns, especially when they're going against the current.

Check out various pages from the Tower Hamlets Canoe Club site, e.g:
http://towerhamletscanoeclub.co.uk/wiki/SeaAccess
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Re: thames

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GoldTopo
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Re: thames

Post by GoldTopo »

The main thing to watch out for is the tides, they can really race through, so check the tide tables first to fit in your launch time.

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Re: thames

Post by Jokie »

Tide tables are here http://www.pla.co.uk/pdfs/hydro/PLA_Tid ... wresl-.pdf

Note that in central London there aren't many places you can easily or safely exit the river. The river walls are high and the old river steps tend to be very slippery and worn away. Many are locked or have been bricked up. At low water you'll find some firm beaches in central London, but once past Tower Bridge expect a lot of deep mud between the river and the shore.

If you're feeling fit, it's worth continuing past central London and down to the Isle of Dogs - you'll have the soaring architecture of Canary Wharf on one side, and the Dome on the other.

Oh yeah, and do wash your hands before you put them anywhere near your mouth. The river water is a lot better than it has been, but you wouldn't want to gargle with it.

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Re: thames

Post by TechnoEngineer »

...which reminds me of a club session on the Thames, one of the lads was paddling his squirt boat. A sanitary towel found its way on to his sprayskirt - nice!
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Randy Fandango
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Re: thames

Post by Randy Fandango »

If you have the means to do a shuttle then the run in with the tide from Greenwich steps to Battersea park (invoving a "fun" climb out over the fence into the park) or rather more easily to Westminster Boating Base (obviously calling them first for permission to come ashore through their premises) is a great run.
Somewhere between 8 and 10 miles depending on where you stop and an awesome way to see the capital.
Of course if you're both in sea kayaks then run in with the tide a couple of hours before high tide then run back out with the outgoing tide starting from Greenwich or starting up stream of London and doing the opposite with the tides is also a great day. Come to think of it, this is a great paddle if you're not in sea kayaks! :-)
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Re: thames

Post by sparrow »

Re water quality. Your trip would be much more enjoyable if you avoided paddling on the Thames for a few days after any rain shower. Rain showers of as little as ten minutes long often cause the sewer system's storm drains to open straight into the river. Doesn't smell nice!

Give it a week and you won't notice a thing. It'll be a great trip.

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Re: thames

Post by Randy Fandango »

As well as all the above watch out for moored barges. Think of them as vaguely mobile lethal undercuts and never cut across just up-tide of them unless you genuinely like to dice with death. Sorry if I'm teaching you to suck eggs here :-)
It's sensible and courteous to call London Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) on VHF channel 14 to tell them your intentions. I believe they insist it's "mandatory" but I have no idea of their legal right to insist this but it's certainly prudent to give them a call. If you haven't a VHF you can call them by phone (I've done this before) but of course you can't hear any potential info about boat traffic and similar stuff that might benefit you as you go along.
Giles

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Re: thames

Post by Simon »

Randy Fandango wrote:It's sensible and courteous to call London Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) on VHF channel 14 to tell them your intentions. I believe they insist it's "mandatory" but I have no idea of their legal right to insist.........etc
Giles
Giles is right that it is worth getting involved with London VTS and the Port of London Authority (PLA).

Have a look at the PLA's own website - described by the PLA as "developed to give you easy to use advice if you're looking to come on the tidal Thames for the first time or if you're a regular visitor"

http://www.boatingonthethames.co.uk/

There are tide tables on the site, and a cute video giving basic but useful background info.

The website asks you to call a given phone number, no requirement to use VHF.

Enjoy - it's a great trip. I have not kayaked it but done it in my canal boat, which was still thrown around like a cork. It can be VERY bouncy.

Simon

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Re: thames

Post by Dutch.Hollands »

A great paddle me and some Mates did in sea kayaks was to launch at Putney by the rowing clubs which is free parking (best to arrive early) on the out going tide. Paddle to just before Tower Bridge and stop for lunch on the left at Traitors Gate while the tide turned then back to Putney.

As stated before the ferrys at Westminster do turn in the river and will just sound their horns at you.

Great fun, waves and stoppers under the bridges, paddle next to The Houses of Parliament and get strange looks as you lunch from tourists at The Tower of london, some actually bought us ice creams!

Have fun.

Dutch.Hollands
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Re: thames

Post by Dutch.Hollands »

Oh and should have said, we carried VHF radios and informed Thames Coastguard what we were doing and told them when we had finished. They seemed happy with this.

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Re: thames

Post by pby5a »

This is all superbee information! Thread is printed and highly useful! It turns out my work got in the way and now it most likely will be May. I can clearly see that the tides potentially limits your trip starting and finishing times, but as it is a river, how much is there ever an incoming FLOW at flood? I reckon the river will always have an outgoing flow?? This is probably a stupid question, but it seems to be that no matter the tide, you will always have the flow helping you downstream through the centre of London right?
Onno

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Re: thames

Post by Jim »

pby5a wrote:This is all superbee information! Thread is printed and highly useful! It turns out my work got in the way and now it most likely will be May. I can clearly see that the tides potentially limits your trip starting and finishing times, but as it is a river, how much is there ever an incoming FLOW at flood? I reckon the river will always have an outgoing flow?? This is probably a stupid question, but it seems to be that no matter the tide, you will always have the flow helping you downstream through the centre of London right?
No experience on the Thames, but I wouldn't bet on it. The sea is big and powerful, the river is small and weedy. If millions of tonnes of water want to come upriver they will overpower the water coming down. At some point (and it will move throughout the tide) there will be a stagnation point where the river flow and tidal flow in the opposite direction cancel each other out.

Considering the timing and planning for things like the final stage of the DW (friends have done it, not me) I think you'll find that the sea can win all the way up to Teddington lock for a significant part of the flood. Obviously if the barrier were shut it would stop the tide there, but usually it will be open and the tide will flow upstream to Teddington.

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Re: thames

Post by Bards »

Jim wrote:
pby5a wrote:This is all superbee information! Thread is printed and highly useful! It turns out my work got in the way and now it most likely will be May. I can clearly see that the tides potentially limits your trip starting and finishing times, but as it is a river, how much is there ever an incoming FLOW at flood? I reckon the river will always have an outgoing flow?? This is probably a stupid question, but it seems to be that no matter the tide, you will always have the flow helping you downstream through the centre of London right?
No experience on the Thames, but I wouldn't bet on it. The sea is big and powerful, the river is small and weedy. If millions of tonnes of water want to come upriver they will overpower the water coming down. At some point (and it will move throughout the tide) there will be a stagnation point where the river flow and tidal flow in the opposite direction cancel each other out.

Considering the timing and planning for things like the final stage of the DW (friends have done it, not me) I think you'll find that the sea can win all the way up to Teddington lock for a significant part of the flood. Obviously if the barrier were shut it would stop the tide there, but usually it will be open and the tide will flow upstream to Teddington.
Yep what Jim says. How the overall hydroflow dynamics work beneath the surface I don't have the foggiest, but certainly the surface layer the boat sits on will show a proper ebbflow (ie up river) on a rising tide. As with many rivers, the distance this effect extends upriver can be far greater than one may expect... The Thames in particular has a substantial tidal range (4.6 - 6.6m forecast depending if peak of neaps or springs) and bear in mind an Easterly wind will 'encourage' more than a normal tide level of water to pile up river if planning on something requiring a certain water level. It's not always going to seem all 'downhill from Teddington', in a nutshell...!

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Re: thames

Post by Adrian Cooper »

Agreed with Jim. Don't even think about paddling against the tide for any distance.

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Re: thames

Post by Randy Fandango »

pby5a wrote: how much is there ever an incoming FLOW at flood? I reckon the river will always have an outgoing flow?? This is probably a stupid question, but it seems to be that no matter the tide, you will always have the flow helping you downstream through the centre of London right?
Oh good god no. When the tide comes in its like a big fast conveyor belt heading inland.
Unless you're superhuman don't even think about trying to make serious headway against the tidal Thames.
Have fun.
Giles

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Re: thames

Post by andy g »

The tides in London run from zero to approx 4 knots.
As Giles and others have said don't try to paddle against a 3 to 4 knot tide , you will get nowhere fast and tire yourself out in the process.
Timing is key , remember that tide times are written in GMT , not BST so make sure you allow for this.
When I run a club trip I inform the River Police , the PLA, and the River Fire Brigade in advance and then confirm to them at the end of the day that all paddlers are safely off the water, just as a courtesy .
Again as others hav esaid it is a great trip , and one to be be cherished , but get the planning right in advance and you will be rewarded.
Andy
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Re: thames

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Re: thames

Post by twicezero »

andy g wrote:The tides in London run from zero to approx 4 knots.
from a recent meeting I was at I hear you can expect up to 6 knots of tidal flow (about 7mph)

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Re: thames

Post by Simon »

Bards wrote:
Jim wrote:
pby5a wrote: Considering the timing and planning for things like the final stage of the DW (friends have done it, not me) I think you'll find that the sea can win all the way up to Teddington lock for a significant part of the flood.
And on a very high tide - above Teddington. It is quite surreal to see Teddington weir working backwards.

Simon

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Re: thames

Post by Jim »

Simon wrote:
Bards wrote:
Jim wrote: Considering the timing and planning for things like the final stage of the DW (friends have done it, not me) I think you'll find that the sea can win all the way up to Teddington lock for a significant part of the flood.
And on a very high tide - above Teddington. It is quite surreal to see Teddington weir working backwards.

Simon
Kind of like the Falls of Lora then :-)

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