Saturday, January 4, 2014

High tide at the Thames Barrier

I have always been facinated by nature and what it is capable off. The all might man, out smarted by mother nature herself. So when the Thames Barrier (@AlanBarrierEA) twitter account came to my attention I watched with interest.
Over recent weeks we have seen a huge rise in the number of closures, and today being the weekend, and being daytime allowed me to take the time to get over there and get some pictures, and hopefully some time lapse too. I say hopefully as it is currently uploading as I type this blog.

Anyway, I saw the tweet go out earlier, and mentioned it on Facebook to a friend who recently said they wanted to see it closed. Another friend on Facebook then asked if I would be going along. With nothing else planned for the day I thought why the hell not, so headed over there.

First time at the location I had no idea where I was going, so headed to the West side of the barrier, and took some snaps, and a time lapse of two of the gates shutting. Once that was done, and with Iain on his way, I decided to explore a little, so walked about until I realised I could get to the East side of the gates. With a few left to shut, and a better, raised viewing platform I set up for another time lapse, and took a few stills.
Iain arrived and we got chatting about all sorts of thing, the final gates began shutting, and the water seemed to start to settle a bit, as it had nowhere else to go. With one gate left just open the rushing sound of water filled the air, and drew our attention back to it. Watching for a few minutes, then suddenly seeing the first signs of water lapping over the side of the footpath (we were much higher).

As we watched, the small washes became a little bigger, and the water began to fully breach come over the walls banks. Over the course of the next 30-40 mins we stood and watched, with a now growing crowd, as the level continued to rise, so peacefully.
As I began tweeting pictures out over Twitter I was shocked to see the number of retweets, replies, questions and comments coming in, so thank you to everyone for contributing to my 15 mins of fame.

At one point the Met Police helicopter appeared over head, not directly, and possibly not related, but it added to the atmosphere on the ground. Eventually we reached high tide, but the flow of people was now increasing even more. As I left, with 2 flat phone batteries and numb hands, a steady flow of people was still arriving, heading towards the viewing point.

The time lapse I am happy to say has come out amazingly well, so I shall leave you with a link to it, and also a whole host of other images taken on my trusty Blackberry Q10
If you choose to use any of the images, I would love a comment or tweet just to let me know you did.

Time lapse video here.

@michaelsnasdell (Twitter)

Here are the pics...

**Please note... The water regularly flows into the park at high tide with the barrier closed, and for this reason there are signs and safety measures to prevent people going to the water. The images were taken  from the top of the ACTUAL flood defences which are approx 10ft higher than the foot path**


  1. A big thank you to the both of you I have managed to watch and read all about the rising tides in the comfort of my lovely warm top floor flat with a big smile on my face :) Thanks

    1. No problem, glad it was of benefit to you :)

    2. Thanks Michael..we tried to send you a direct tweet but it said it wount go because you do not follow us. We used two of your photos on our portal when reporting the flooding and credited you accordingly. It you have a email, it will be nice to state it here to make it easier to contact you in future please. Our portal is called Woolwich Online and the link is And here is the link to our report.. Regards.

    3. Hi there, my email should be available through my Google+ account to which this blog is attached to. snazy123 at
      Many thanks for the link and the credit for the images, I am absolutely fine with that. I shall take a look at the article now. Thank you for sharing with your followers.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.