Innocently we planned to continue AMYC’s return to boating programme after the tribulations of 2020 with a cruise to Chatham and Burnham. After lots of planning eight of our boats gathered at Teddington on 12th August, ready for departure the next morning. We enjoyed a pleasant socially distanced meal that evening at the Anglers pub and retired for the night. Up at the crack of dawn ready to start locking out at 7-30 am, we needed three locks to fit us all in. On our way down the Thames as we neared the estuary Venture was boarded by the Border Force. They were very pleasant and simply asked a few polite questions about our route and the purpose of our voyage.
Despite earlier concerns about the weather it was actually quite clement. We were welcomed by our Commodore on Mojito when we entered the Medway. Sadly two boats suffered mechanical problems with one, Bagpuss & Co, having to be towed to safety into Chatham Marina.
Our arrival was celebrated that evening with drinks and nibbles aboard Mojito followed by an enjoyable meal at the nearby Italian restaurant Villagio.
Our innocent joy was not to last: the next morning we were greeted by the news that Hammersmith Bridge was in danger of collapse and had been closed to navigation. Then there was another message suggesting that navigation might be possible through one arch. Then finally confirmation that passage through the bridge was completely impossible, preventing a return to our home berths at Shepperton and Penton Hook on the non-tidal Thames. After much discussion we decided that the best thing was to continue with our plans and see how the Hammersmith situation developed.
That evening we had a splendid barbecue, accompanied by Pimms, at Chatham Marina with the cooking expertly supervised by Chris and Tony:
A good time was had by all; as the evening progressed there may have been some singing to sustain our spirits in the situation. Fortunately most of our members have not attempted to make a career in the music industry <grin>.
Saturday dawned fair and we set out to our next destination, Burnham on Crouch. After a pleasant trip we all moored in Burnham Yacht Harbour and enjoyed its peaceful location and the pleasant stroll along the riverside into the town.
An enjoyable socially distanced dinner at the Swallowtail Restaurant in the marina completed the day.
Sunday was spent either exploring the town or relaxing onboard. In the evening the more energetic of the group walked into Burnham to enjoy an excellent curry. Here they are looking pleased with their adventure:
Monday saw us returning to Chatham to complete a very enjoyable cruise.
Of course due to the closure of Hammersmith Bridge we cannot return by water to our home berths on the non-tidal Thames but fortunately we have all found a safe haven in Chatham Marina to wait and see if the Hammersmith Bridge situation improves.
Here’s a few photos taken by members on the voyage down the Thames and back up the Medway to Chatham: