Leaving London


How embarassing that my last post was on 11th August.  So much has happened during the last two months, most of which I have spent either in London or somewhere up and down the Grand Union between London and Uxbridge, including an exhausting and expensive visit to Uxbridge dry dock.

Jason's Trip (foreground) and Lapwing (background)
Jason's Trip (foreground) and Lapwing (background)

The main reason I have been so busy though is that I have been working.  Not so much on computers, which is still the way I earn a living, but a new boaty job. In August I stumbled upon a chance to do some skippering on the trip boats in Little Venice and grabbed it with both hands, as I badly needed to get some hours to log against my  licence.  With great pleasure I have been steering Lapwing for the last couple of months; the wonderful 96 year old former Fellows Morton and Clayton motor boat based at Little Venice, which led to several days steering Jason, of Jason’s Trip fame.  Two of the oldest surviving trip boats in the country – both Joshers but very different to steer, each with its own very strong character.

The Waterbus route from Little Venice to Camden must be one of the most interesting stretches of canal in the country, including Paddington Basin, Brownings Pool, the tunnel at Maida Hill, some of the most expensive and coveted moorings in the country at Blomfield Road,Lisson Wide,  the Nash Mansions of Regents Park,  Blowup Bridge,  London Zoo, Cumberland Basin, Primrose Hill, The Pirates Castle and Camden Market.  I have now covered this route dozens and dozens if not hundreds of times yet never tired of it, every trip bringing something new.  The route is absolutely ideal for boat trips.

I could not have been more honoured than to be accepted so warmly into the world of Little Venice, which has been an absolute revalation and completely changed my views about the whole of London.  Mooring at Paddington and Little Venice has also been a pleasure – not a hint of any trouble, and I envy those who are arriving this week to make it their winter mooring.

Sadly the season is now coming to an end and my next trip on Lapwing will not be until next Saturday, so I am writing this from the Thames at Hampton Court, well on the way home for the winter and somewhat sad that I am not a Londoner any more.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    What a lovely post Mike. Equally honoured and delighted to have spent a short while on Lapwing with you, and very glad to hear you’ll be back next year.

  2. Debbie Bell says:

    This is lovely – the Lapwing is actually part of my family history – my ancestral home! Owned by the Bell family years ago when it was first bought.

    1. Mike says:

      Hi Debbie
      You will have to come up to Litle Venice in the summer and see Lapwing in action! Lapwing has been operating for the same owner in Little Venice since the 1970s prior to which she was a trip boat on the River Weaver, so are you in Cheshire?

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