Guildford to Godalming
The Wey Navigations has a number of faces, but from a strictly legal perspective there are two elements: The Wey Navigation which runs 15 miles from the Thames at Weybridge to Guildford and then it becomes the Godalming Navigation for its final five miles.
We spent the night just above Bowers Lock, huddled in a stand of ancient oak trees which offered shade from the relentless sun. Sunday started slowly as we had visitors from Weybridge arriving and travel issues delayed their arrival till noon. I decided to use the delay to change the engine oil which was nearly 30 hours over its scheduled 250 so, at 9.00am I thought "its not too hot - it will be fine" and donned my trusty boiler suit. It soon became apparent why its called a boiler suit! Even with is turned down to my waist I sweated my way through the task. But hey, its a job done and it wont need doing again till we are in the Braunston area in August.
:Peter and Rachael Talibart
Peter and Rachael Talibart arrived and after cooling drinks we headed south and into Guildford. As we approached Depdune Wharf, which is the National Trust's centre of operations for the Navigation, Melaleuca passed us going the other way - drat. We had both been keeping an eye on each others progress and both figured we would meet the other moored up. Rapid pleasantries were exchanged as the boats drifted apart and we tootled into Depdune to find the Sanny Station. Then, as I was hunting for the door, Melaleuca appeared from down river. It seems her Captn did a sharp about turn in the river, creating a winding hole by crunching the bows into the bank - and taking his crew by surprise. It was great to have a few minutes to catch up and let them restock their preserve larder.
Then it was on in the heat of the day through Guildford and Town Lock amid hoards of gongoozlers, trying to keep cool at the temperature nudged 30C. Frankly by then we were trying to find shade, any shade and having spied a likely looking spot just south of Millmead, we drove in our pegs and gave up for the day. As it was gone four our guests took their leave and set out for a train back to Weybridge.
Rope Rollers on Godalming Navigation
As for us we sat in the shade and contemplated our next move. We have a deadline to be in Ware for 29th June (allowing a day to set up) and we need to have enough time to cross London, which means a tidal crossing at 2.00pm (ish) on Friday with a day for Hampton Court on Thursday. Thus far it has taken us three days to cover a measly 16 miles, a tally which has far more to do with the heat than the state of the navigation. But it was so frustrating to have got within 3.5 miles of the end and missed it. By then it was 7.00 and the sun had lost its sting so we though - why not carry on this evening?.
Paddle boarder at Unstead Bridge
We were delighted with our decision because the winding river sections south to Godalming are a delight. I didnt notice the advertised shallowing of the channel. However, the bridges are low, kind of Stoke on Trent low. We pressed on, eventually reaching Godalming Wharf at 9.30pm.
There are three mown stretches of bank prepared for visiting boats but irritatingly one was occupied by a boat and the other two contained a fisherman. Undaunted we created a mooring adjacent to the service block and refilled the water tank and disposed of the rubbish and then had a think about our best approach to the return journey.
As tomorrow is forecast to be even hotter than today we decided to get up uncharacteristically early at 6.00am and get a good four hours under our belt before the sum gets hot. By my reckoning that would take us back to our previous nights mooring above Bowers lock, where we know there is shade. Then, when its cooler, we will set off again and cover another 5 or 6 miles in the evening.