Guildford (2)

What a start to the day (7/8)! We woke to blue skies and decided to move towards Guilford to see what the mooring arrangements were at Dapdune Wharf; we planned to leave Albert there for two days while we go to a wedding near Farnham.

Maggie went up to Stoke Lock to get it ready and I stayed on Albert to cast off. I cast of at the stern first. Because it was relatively shallow when we arrived we had left the stern well out from the bank and the bows tucked in alongside. I then went forward and cast off. No problem so far. I then walked aft and selected forward – no progress we were stuck aground at the stern. This isn’t usually a problem and often happens with a deep drafted boat, it usually just requires a bit of poling. I tried to push Albert off using one of the long poles we have aboard but she just wouldn’t budge. She appeared to be firmly wedged under the stern and was determined not to move. At this point I should point out that there was a reasonable flow on the river, particularly from a storm water discharge just opposite our mooring. The flow started to move Albert’s bows downstream, but unfortunately not the stern. In a very short space of time the bows moved across the river to the opposite bank and we were blocking navigation, from bank to bank. Try as we may we couldn’t either pole the bows back or get the stern released. In the end we had to call out the local lengthsman who happened to be at the lock on his boat and he immediately saw our predicament. He and his girlfriend arrived with poles, shortly followed by the crew of cruiser Idler who we had shared locks with the day before. Even a passing jogger joined in to help.

Several techniques to move Albert were tried but eventually, some two hours after we had first tried to leave our mooring, we got her free. We joined three ropes together and with five people pulling upstream on the bow and two poling at the stern Albert came free to much celebration. She was unscathed but looked rather muddy. We were very relieved.

Dapdune Wharf, Guilford

We then went up through the lock with a boat that arrived just after we were free and headed for Guildford. When we arrived at Dapdune, there space for Albert available so we headed for it and moored up behind the former working boat NB George. We often see George moored up just north of Weedon on the Grand Union. We checked on the mooring arrangements at the wharf with the staff at the National Trust Navigations Office and they were fine.

Wey Barge, Dapdune Wharf