29 March 2013

Trapped by the tide


I really should have known better.

I have been to the river at high tide many times even getting up very early in the morning to catch a particularly early one with my youngest son. On one memorable occasion we stood on one of the benches while the tide abated.

On this day the tide was due to be 5.1m, which is high for this stretch of the Thames. We got there as the tide was still coming in and watched it claim more and more land from the water meadow in front of Ham House.

I may even have smirked at the visitors who were oblivious to the tides and arrived at the tow-path only to find it under water and impassable.

However I had underestimated the tide and it continued to rise and blocked the path behind me. My salvation was a sturdy and large bridge that just about remained above the water.




I was stuck there for half an hour or so, the water comes in quickly but leaves slowly. Almost desperate to get away I took the squishy route along the tow-path that started to clear of water first. It was not an easy escape as my muddy shoes and trousers can testify.

The two lessons I learnt that day were that even locals with good local knowledge can get caught out and that trying to escape from a flood can be fun.

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