The first indication that the dreadlocked crusty and grunge brigade on their way to 'blockade' Kingsnorth yesterday were going terribly wrong came from Southeastern Trains. Protesters behung with tents and bedrolls were turning up at stations across the south-east and buying tickets to Ashford in Kent.
Kingsnorth is a hamlet on the delightful Romney Marsh line that takes one to the difficult port of Rye (yes, reader, I have piloted the Stone Channel on a falling neap tide), somewhere north of Ham and a little south of Ashford. It has many attractions, but a coal-fired power station is not amongst them. Confused phone calls were made, and realisation dawned on ticket office staff that the crusties wanted Grain, not Ashford. For the Kingsnorth that is the coal fired power station is on the Medway estuary. I could not but suspect that there had been a little disinformation spread on the protesters' websites.
Indeed, Medway Ports were way ahead of the game at the beginning of July when they were picking up a plot from the crusties to block the cooling water intakes with rafts. A notice to mariners was issued on the 10th giving notice that a boom was being strung around the intakes - as I've marked on my chart below.
Apart from the sheer stupidity of floating rafts on a busy waterway - if Raedwald should hit a semi-submerged raft she'll be getting a crest of dirty blond dreads for the masthead, I promise - the crusties are putting themselves in some danger. The Medway tidal currents are strong, and the area inside the jetty and especially around the water intakes is somewhere to be avoided even in a heavy boat with a powerful engine.
As Kingsnorth not only supplies London but about 4.5% of the UK's leccy, I'm rather keen on seeing it replaced. And with coal at least we can use our own supplies if we have to, rather than being held to ransom by gas suppliers. So I've prepared a hoist to fly when next I pass the Hoo Flats - CCOAL, or Yes, Coal (Si Coal) in layman's. Now what can I bait the lines with to catch crusties ....