Last weekend we went on one of our jaunts. An event that we had known about for quite some time. The Thames Flotilla – A visual illumination of 150 boats gliding along the freezing waters all the way from Chiswick to Tower Bridge. What started as a Jubilee celebration last week became a remembrance – you may have heard someone important died a couple of weeks ago and if you hadn’t heard – Welcome to earth.
The Flotilla comprised of 150 vessels, ranging in size and shape from Party Boats, Barges, Speed boats, dredgers, dinghies, River Cruisers, Canal Boats, Row Boats to Tug Ships and even the ‘Gloriana’ The (late) Queen’s own Barge bringing up the rear.
We took up a position on the West side of London Bridge along side about a 100 other onlookers, while more like a 1,000 people crowded on the East side, (for the view!) Waiting to catch sight of the boats coming out from under the centre arch and heading towards the gloriously illuminated Tower Bridge. The thing was that trying to see down to the water wit h that many people at the rail made it impossible for the East side crowd to really see much and the crews and passengers on the boats had given up waving and cheering once they were under the bridge’s arches.
We on the East side however got a full view as each vessel passed under Cannon St Rail Bridge, illuminated in a rainbow of colour and reflecting on the blackened water, creating a stunning sight and a nice long view of each craft all decked out in lights and many crowded with people all waving and enjoying their time on the water, even if they all looked decidedly freezing!!
The procession was so slow that by the time the lead boats made it to the open water between the iconic bridges we had left our vantage point and walked down the North Embankment to get a second view of the cruisers and to see the end of the jaunt, yet most of the waiting crowd on the East of London Bridge remained fixed trying to catch any glimpses they could of the varies vehicles far below.
The end of the Flotilla saw the great counter-levered arches raise up in a silent salute to the vessels – usually the bridge only raises these days for ships with high masts and multiple decks, those that need the extra room to get through – but on Saturday night the bridge closed the roads and lifted to accept the leisure craft that pottered under the blue wrought iron facade and glass viewing platform high above.
In all the procession took about 30 minutes to pass under London Bridge and Tower Bridge (it took about 1 hour and 15 mins for the full run from Albert Bridge) and though it was short it was never the less it was worth going to see!
We adjourned to the pub to get warm and enjoy the rest of the night with friends!
We will be back with another post next week, what will it be?