Henley Whalers - Annual Long Row - 2017

Version 12/8/18


Upnor Castle
Upnor Castle

Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th October

"The Garden of England" plus Maritime Heritage
Very green. Mainly tranquil. Some historic flourishes

Contributions welcome.

3-Minute Video
Video of the best available pictures


Click any picture to enlarge

More of a summary than a report

Friday 13th October - Skeleton crew (beaten by buraucracy - obliged to use the alternative slipway - notes further down) launched at EA Slipway near Hampstead Lock and Yalding station. 51.227063, 0.413820 - Picture.
Moored at Hampstead Marina.
Shuffled trailer and cars to Medway Yacht Club (the final destination).
Adjourned to the hotel, Premier Inn at Sandling near Allington Lock.
Dinner at the adjacent Malta Inn.

Medway Map
River Medway

Mollys at Breakfast
"Mollys" at breakfast

Molly at Hampstead Marina
Hampstead Marina

Toward Yalding
Heading toward Yalding
Pub Mooring at Yalding
Pub mooring, Yalding
Yalding Bridge
Yalding bridge - Only inches wide enough!
Saturday 14th October - Morning
Minimum cars to the start at Yalding. 10 crew.
As compensation for being unable to enjoy the "magnificent Seven" greenest miles of the Medway, we devised a route to explore rivers and creeks around Yalding, then up to the "closed" bridge before returning ahead of schedule to "Teapot Island" - "Bistro-style large menu, fully licensed" for lunch (pre-arranged).
Hampstead Lock Video
Hampstead Lock (video)
Lifting Bridge
See the height gauge!
Lifting Bridge
Pretty low?
Lifting bridge not lifted
Low enough!
Low enough!
Your contributions welcomed.
First sight of the barrier
Boom 2
Environmental boom
Useless boom
But the boom is not leak proof!
Rail Bridge Scaffold
Scaffolded rail bridge

The four rail bridge pictures above were taken on Saturday. More below

"A fine exploration of North Kent"

"An enjoyable exploration of a new part of the country, with plenty of features of interest"

"Gorgeous, scenic weekend of camaraderie in kind conditions". "Enjoyable weekend despite the problems"

Teapot Island - lunch stop
Free-Wheeling through a disused lock
"Free-wheeling" an ex-lock (video)
Converted oast
Converted Oast House
Geese on guard
Lunch queue
"Mollys" queue for lunch. Teapot Island
Wier, Lock, Canoe chute
Weir . Lock . Canoe chute

Saturday 14th October - Afternoon
Began the afternoon cruise a little ahead of schedule.
Sylvan scenes predominated. Ancient bridges. Glimpses of villages.
Maidstone (old and new) provided interesting contrast.
Allington Castle was clearer through the trees than the picture suggests.
Allington. Moored above the lock alomst outside the hotel.
Collected cars from Yalding.

What fruit be that?
Canoe Chute
Canoe chute
Teston Bridge
Teston Bridge
East Farleigh
Teston Bridge

East Farleigh
East Farleigh

Click any picture to enlarge

Allington Castle
Allington Castle
Allington Castle
Allingon Castle
(anyone got a better one?)
Allington. Barges
Allington. Lock & Sluice in background
Molly moored at Allington
Molly moored at Allington, courtesy (click for pic) of "Kentish Lady"
Malta Inn
Malta Inn
Saturday Night stop
Thirsty crew
Thirsty "Mollys"
More thirsty crew
Three Graces?
Allington low tide
Allington. Low tide
Sunday Crew.  Allington Lock
Sunday Crew. Allington Lock
Aylesford Bridge
Aylesford Priory
Aylesford Priory

Sunday 15th October - 12 crew
09:30 met at Hotel.
10:00 in Allington Lock.
With the slowly strengthening ebb tide, soon passed through Aylesford, followed by Snodland, Halling and Borstall (The original one is now closed!).
The upper tideway was cluttered with large amounts of flotsam and jetsam.
More industry here than yesterday, but still mainly rural as far as the outskirts of Rochester.
Closeup view of many "fine-boats" in a timed "Heads" race.
Welcomed at Rochester Cruising Club (pre-arranged) for Sunday roast and R&R.

Halling Church
Medway bridge/s
Medway Bridge(s)
Rochester Castle
Rochester Castle
Rochester Castle
Rochester Castle.
Sunday lunch stop at RCC.
Busy crew
Getting away from it all?

.Rochester Cathedral
Rochester Cathedral

Sunday Afternoon -
Time for a brief wander to see the Castle grounds and Cathedral.
Onward with the ebb tide through Rochester, past Strood and Chatham (Fort Amherst high on the hill)..
Spied some historic ships in the Historic Shipyard.
Upnor Castle, and Arethusa (training "ship") all too soon cued us to round up and come alongside the pontoon at Medway Yacht Club.
Refreshments, Car Shuffling, then a few challenges with the slipway due to low tide (we had been warned!), and head out to do battle with the motorway.

Rochester Castle grounds
Rochester Castle grounds
Fort Amherst
The Command House
Fort Amherst (top right)
Fort Amherst
Fort Amherst


Upnor Castle
Upnor Castle
Medway YC
Medway YC (finish)
Click any picture to enlarge
Click here for Video.
Medway YAcht Club
Medway Yacht Club
Sunday Crew. at MYC
Sunday Crew at MYC.
View from the bar
View from the bar. MYC
Your contributions welcomed.

Statistics - Saturday 14/10
Before lunch, 5.2 miles, 2hrs 30 mins. 1 lock.
Lunch, 1hr20.
After lunch, 10 miles, 3hrs 10 mins. 3 locks.
Anticipated - Day 1. Non-tidal 18 miles +9 Locks

Statistics - Sunday.
Before lunch. 10,8 miles, 2hs 35. 1 lock.
Lunch, 2hrs 20..
After lunch. 3.5 miles. 1 hr.
Anticipated - Day 2. 1 lock +Sheltered tidal 15 miles

(For comparison Wed 18/10 pm we covered 4.8 miles in 1hr14mins, max speed 5.3mph.)

Regrets? - It would be easy to spoil this page with a diatribe about the river closure at East Peckham rail bridge.
EA had granted permission for us to continue if we could fit.
We negotiated with Network Rail. They said that if we produced proof of EA's permission, they would allow us through. We produced it. They U-turned.
We surveyed the bridge on Friday. There was plenty of headroom (far more than at Yalding/Hampstead lifting bridge). And as for their "Environmental barrier". .. Enough!

Cons - We were needlessly and at short notice, denied access to the "Magnificent Seven" greenest miles of the navigable Medway, and one of our five castles.
Had we known earlier, we could have planned a shortened route with only one night of accommodation.
Pros - We explored, Swallows and Amazons style, five un-planned miles around Yalding.
Overall the event was a useful "Taster" for a Medway Raid.
A 2-day "down-hill" row from Tonbridge to Upnor could be an addendum to a Medway Raid?
Lowest headroom = 1.9 metres.

Bridge 1
Bridge 2
Bridge 2
Bridge 3
Bridge 3
Bridge 4
Bridge 4
The four rail bridge pictures above were taken on Friday. More in the cruise summary..
Back to Top
Past & Future Long Rows here.


General Information.
Boatlaunch . Use the map to find slipway then details.
River & Canal Licensing - A list of authorities.
Canal Guide.co.uk - Online guides to many UK canals & canalised rivers...
Canal Plan.org.uk - Maps of many waterways.
Jim Shead Waterways . Distances. Details, Pictures (loads). Links. Interactive map.
Waterway Routes.co.uk . A source of cruising maps to buy.

Valid CSS!

Back to top

To Homepage