Crouch Valley

River Thames Cruise 7th September 2017

The Going Out Group River Trip

On Thursday 7th September 2017, 28 members of the Crouch Valley went for a cruise on the River Thames. A similar event had taken place in 2014, this trip was just as good.

Although much of the day was cloudy, only a brief spell of light rain occurred and it was fairly warm. There was so much to see and photograph and this is just a fleeting summary of some of the points of interest.

On the outward journey, the Captain’s continuous and informative commentary and amusing comments really made the trip.

We assembled on the landing stage of the Tilbury Ferry, the Ferry which is now much reduced in size took us over to Gravesend where we boarded the MV Pocahontas. Although the first stretch was not scenic, it was interesting. Industrial as well as many huge facilities that make our lives liveable were all described by the Captain. The Tilbury docks and several big ships were passed as we approached the Dartford crossing to go under instead of over!
Today river traffic is light, but we did see some notable vessels and barges being pushed full of waste. We passed the Rainham Marshes familiar to the Bird group. As the heavy industries lessened we now encountered housing and office accommodation of a bewildering range of design and size. Also we were now in the territory of well know landmarks, the first being the Thames Barrier followed by the Emirates Cable Car and the O2 Dome.

We docked at Greenwich Pier to drop off those spending time with the attractions there, they were picked up on the way back.

The ever growing landscape of the immense square footage on the Isle of Dogs is surreal to see from the river, because of the twists and turns of this body of water, building are seen from all angles. Another aspect of accommodation pointed out by the Captain were the very expensive conversion of the numerous former warehouses as well as new builds. Many tall cranes denote this vast frenzy of building is continuing and famous views of historic architecture are disappearing. However the river still gives glimpses of this heritage. An example of old and new comes into view as we sight Tower Bridge, we also see the curios unmissable 1016ft of the Shard.

The Belfast continues to display it might as does the Tower of London from another age. We are reminded as we pass, that Somerset House was once thee place for all our BMD records. Approaching Westminster we can see the scaffolding climbing Big Ben and some work on the Parliament buildings. Bridges are now a feature and each one noted and described by our still talking Captain. The turning point comes as we reach the former Battersea Power Station now being brought back to life with various developments inside and the surrounding area.

With the now almost silent Captain, we can see everything again. Its great fun on our return voyage to see it all once more and marvel at the most amazing views that span centuries by being on the water of the River Thames.

One final comment. It seemed a straight forward matter for Rosemary to once again arrange this river trip, however this turned out to be a somewhat frustrating exercise. At a late stage in the arrangements, Rosemary was informed that no parking would be available on this date due to work on the landing Stage. With a real problem of where to leave the cars, Rosemary and David came up with a solution. We were given permission to park at the nearby Worlds End public house and a large group elected to have a meal there after the River Cruise. In fact it ended the day rather well. This could not have happened without the huge amount of extra arrangements. Phone calls, menus and many emails. We thank Dave for keeping Rosemary on an ‘even keel’ and to Rosemary our sincere thanks for not only making this U3A outing possible, but an enjoyable and memorable day.

On behalf of the Going Out Group.
Colin Martin.

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.