Kingswear Castle's Weekend on the Thames 2000

by Martin Longhurst

The weather forecast on Friday 1 September was very poor and Captain Megorran was concerned that KC would be unable to make the passage to London the following day. On Friday both the Waverley and Balmoral were forced to curtail their sailings. In the event, he put off a large coach party on the Friday, but decided at 07.00 hrs that he would attempt to get through. 80 hardy souls joined the paddler at Strood for the day long passage to London Bridge City Pier. Sea conditions were, in fact, within, but close to, acceptable limits. An evening cruise to the Thames Barrier was offered on arrival in London.

Sunday 3 September was a red-letter day for KC with two new piers visited. A private afternoon charter was given UP RIVER from London Bridge City Pier to the Waterloo Millennium Pier (and back) so the guests of the charterer could indulge in a revolution on the London Eye. Subsequently, a public trip carried 45 passengers to Trinity Wharf, at the mouth of the River Lea, the berthing place of the Clyde puffer VIC56, for a visit to this preserved vessel.

Monday saw the return sailing to Strood, which took 110 people, including some coach passengers transferred from Saturday's excursion. It was a beautiful autumnal day with almost unbroken sunshine and light winds. The passage was proceeding so well, Captain Megorran was able to take us further down the Thames than necessary, past the wreck of the Richard Montgomery, turning off Minster on the Isle of Sheppey.

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