River stay away from my door


The River Thames is still being denied us. Until the Environment Agency lift their ‘red boards’ warning of strong currents and dangerous weirs from their lock gates, we cannot move from Lechlade, Gloucestershire in our Drascombe Lugger 19, kindly on loan from Sarah Black, head of the RYA’s Green Blue initiative.

All weekend I have been battling with a nice lady on the EA ‘floodline’ phone number. I had explained that we are used to strong currents, indeed seek them out, but Rasa, from the EA’s call centre in Northern Ireland, could not get through to the lock keeper at St John’s Lock to ask him what the latest position was.

So, today, back in the office instead of out on the river, I called up their press office. Still no deal: ‘If we let you through, then others with less experience will want to go through as well and already we have had the rescue services out to three dinghy sailors.’ Although the EA cannot, legally, stop me from proceeding, my insurance would be invalid if I did so.

So until the river is still and low we wait.