Maritime Heritage afloat in Dartford Creek and Slough

Management Side of what might have been a Great Maritime idea

Drayton to Slough West

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West Drayton to Slough

I'd stopped by Morrisons at Yiewsley to fettle and locate a Grand Union Milestone. In finding the milestone I also discovered the butt end of a canal I'd not seen before, just by the Packet Boat Marina. Looking up my A-Z and my Nicholson's I discovered "The Slough Arm". It had been mentioned by an acquaintance, but didn't register at the time. Passing previously, I believed this little spur was part of a marina but now discovered it was some five miles long.

At the intersection, there was no sign at all of anything interesting but I was keen to find Sarah's boat which I understood to be down there 'at High Line'. Tiller hard over and [Pentargon Springer] stuck her nose in. There was a muddy but  well-used towpath on the left side.

Also on the left, a huge derelict warehouse indicated previous commercial or industrial activity. Closer observation showed the 'warehouse' to be stuffed to the very roof with fly-tip.. Obviously some real estate C&RT does not even know it owns has been opportunistically commandeered by entrepreneurs to dispose cheaply of spoil they were probably paid thousands to get rid of legally. Some day this opportunism may cost C&RT tens or hundreds of thousands to get rid off. If the building does not burst at the seams first and dump all its contents in the canal.

The Slough Arm is well-described in Wikipedia. Feel free to look up the details while I deal with some sustained "leaf-mugging". I googled "leaf mugging" and to my great surprise discovered the only reference and description on t'internet is right here within this website and neatly incorporates a link to a rambling conversation playing around the subject on

 canalworld.net

From [Pentargon Springer's] own website then:-

" Leaf mugging occurs when the propeller picks up and retains sodden and partly submerged or suspended leaves on the blades, reducing the ability of the prop to move the boat forward. Generally, provided it is anticipated, stopping the prop for a moment will cause the water-flow over the blades to clear the prop. Sometimes a momentary selection of reverse, speeds up the process and when forward is re-engaged it is possible to see the leaves been churned away from the stern." 

 Another vegetable challenge on the Slough Arm is floating pennywort of which there is no shortage. This nasty and intrusive plant was introduced to England by aquatic garden centres within the past 30 years and is becoming a particular nuisance in the London area. Luckily for me, it was not 'all joined up' during my visit and I was able to navigate through til arriving under the M25 at which point tying up for a cuppa and a stroll was in order.

These 'strolls' are an essential element of my Odyssey. I'm known to explore my surroundings intimately for "opportunities". An overhead bridge with traffic is an invitation to check the road above for bus stops (well! not the M25!). Finding a bus stop is an opportunity to find  where it's bus goes. A copse is an invitation to check out the contents: mushrooms in Autumn, wild garlic in Spring, rose hips in Winter, bullace in Summer, maybe a spindle bush or an apple tree. The possibilities are endless.I was scheduled to meet Sarah on the following day, so I decided to wander right down to the end of the Slough Arm in the interim. To the "Basin".

Crikey! Could it ever use the attentions of a Lengthsman

 However, what most took my fancy was a five mile stretch of cut (apart fron 500m of linear mooring at Highline) completely devoid of boats while just a few miles away the London cut is teeming with boats often multi-moored. It is for others to extol the virtues of the Slough Arm as a mooring place, but could I suggest to C&RT that The Slough Arm could become a "Site of Special Scientistific Dis-Interest" where enforcement officers would be asked to ignore calendars and concentrate on licenses only?

Putting an optimistic notice up in the Sloigh Canal inviting Winter Moorings does not cut the mustard unless it includes the word "free". The fact that the Slough has absolutely NO facilities would ensure that those who availed of "free" mooring would, BY DEFINITION, have to travel five miles back and forth to Yiewsley for waste disposal, water and groceries. The constant canal traffic thus ensuing could only help to free up the bottom and disperse rotten leaves more evenly.  It might even help to make vegetable soup out of the pennywort? Or not?