Although I had finished 'London's Lost Route the Sea' I remained curious about how the boats had carried on to Portsmouth. The Portsmouth and Arundel canal used to link the river Arun with Chichester Harbour where the inland estuaries provided a route to Portsea Island (see the tiled map below).
The route then passed onwards via the Thorney Channel and then through the Langstone Channel. This latter part I wanted to explore.
The channel between Langstone Quay and North Hayling was dredged originally, as shown in the map below. The remains of this 'new cut' can still be seen at low tide when it is about six inches deep.
I set off from Emsworth and skirted across the mud flats at high tide towards the channel. Infront of me was a road bridge now connecting Hayling Island to mainland.
Beyond this were the remains of a railway bridge. To the left of the channel I could still see the remnants of the large cogwheel that enabled bridge movement to let ships through.
The railway was served by a 'puffing billy' train, featured in the short film below. The distinctive puffing sound from the last days of steam locomotion brings back old memories for some.
I was now in the Langstone Channel. Instead of going south, I decided to go northeast to find a small duct connecting Langstone Harbour to Portsmouth Harbour. Someone had warned me that high tide is needed for the duct, but also the bridge clearances might not be sufficient. I got stuck at a railway bridge.
A snag of going under the bridge was that the trains appeared without warning. This is exactly what happened as I squeezed under the first bridge, the train passing just overhead at about fifty miles an hour. I hardly had thought 'I shouldn't be under here' when the train had gone.
A few more bridges took me through to Portsmouth Harbour. As PicoMicroYacht passed south a police launch came along to check me out.
Further along I could see the police launches fussing around HM Queen Elizabeth, a huge aircraft carrier still being commissioned.
Finally PicoMicroYacht arrived at Haslar marine, with the distinctive green painted lightship, now used as a restaurant.
Postscript: Close to Langstone Bridge is the home of the famous Langstone Cutters Rowing Club, here seen rowing round the Isle of Wight.