Friday the 21st of December, the shortest day of the year, and I had arrived at Putney Pier for my first attempt at the Thames Clipper Challenge.
The RB6 boat was late arriving at Putney: but I was pretty relaxed about that - as long as it did turn up, as there was time spare at Embankment.
The times for this leg were:
- 17:18 Putney
- 17:25 Wandsworth Riverside (1)
- 17:29 Plantation Wharf (2)
- 17:34 Chelsea Harbour
- 17:38 Cadogan
- 17:44 Battersea Power Station
- 17:47 St George Wharf (Vauxhall)
- 17:53 Millbank (2)
- 18:00 Embankment
(1) Didn't dock and not sure what happened here. It might have been too low tide and/or no passengers but the boat ended up banging into the pilings for the new pier being planned for 2019
(2) No passengers so slowed but didn't actually stop.
So got to Embankment on time and here there was a pause. I could have continued from Embankment but there was the danger of getting the boat that stopped London Eye (Waterloo) but not Westminster. The only way of being sure of picking up the next boat from Westminster was to walk to Westminster. As it was a short way and had plenty of time that is what I did.
The South Bank was looking very seasonal and the moon was full:
Finally the RB1 arrived and off we went:
- 18:40 Westminster
- 18:44 London Eye (Waterloo)
- 18:54 Blackfriars
- 18:58 Bankside
- 19:03 London Bridge City
- 19:06 Tower
- 19:18 Canary Wharf
That was a huge relief! Got to Canary Wharf in time for the RB4 over to Doubletree Docklands. But it wasn't over yet as had to get there and back and catch the next Woolwich clipper. They were slightly in "its CHRISTMAS" mode, with staff wishing each other "Merry Christmas" and "See you next year" but they (as I found generally) were very efficient and so soon off we went to the south bank of the Thames:
- 19:24 Canary Wharf
- 19:26 Doubletree Docklands
- 19:30 Doubletree Docklands
- 19:32 Canary Wharf
I then rushed to the display to see the next Woolwich boat only 3 minutes away - hurrah!
So I was in time to catch that and for the final time was off, stops including Greenwich (below, also looking seasonal) and on to Woolwich.
The final times were:
- 19:38 Canary Wharf
- 19:41 Greenland (Surrey Quay)
- 19:44 Masthouse Terrace
- 19:47 Greenwich
- 19:55 North Greenwich (The O2)
- 20:06 Woolwich (Royal Arsenal)
I used my phone as a stopwatch using the gangway up/down as the trigger and the times were:
My Thames Clipper Challenge time was 2 hours 48 minutes - exactly as predicted by the timetable!!
I was pretty pleased by that: but could it beaten, if so how?
Anyhow, it was good enough for me to declare the first Thames Clipper Challenge a success.