Friday, 26 July 2013

Hello, is there anybody there?

The Grand Union Canal down here is broad, deep and bereft of moving boats!  Yes there are many many that look as if they never move, clustered in the usual spots where they have road access, but boats actually moving?

I think today we may have seen eight boats moving. Now this is late July, where have they all gone? We met in passing one of those moving, N.B. Matilda Rose, and they expressed similar sentiments. Still, I suppose it beats waiting in a queue at locks....

After our exertions yesterday, we had a little later start than normal moving off at about 0845. The canal is very pleasant here in what is I suppose the outskirts of Harefield. As we ascended, Ali was asked by a chap waiting above if we would share the locks with him. Of course, she said yes, so off he set with us following. At Springwell lock, the chap was first in. His wife/partner had a windlass, but he was on the lock side holding the centre line. Ok I thought, may be a good reason for this, so I entered and the lock was filled without him on the boat.

If I am honest, I was not happy with this but waited to see what happened at the next lock, Stockers lock. Upon arrival, I entered first and he started to move into the lock mouth. I turned around, saw the high bow of his boat heading towards my stern, with nobody at the tiller. It took me a few seconds to realise that as he came into the lock, he had grabbed the centre line, hopped off and clambered onto the lock side, nearly falling in as he passed the balance beam.  I admit, I said I was not happy that no one was controlling the boat and that he could not do this at the end of the centre line. And, if that was his method of locking, we would not be sharing locks. So after a quick stop at Tesco at Batchworth, we left them to it. The man was a danger to himself and may well have a fear of actually being in a lock!

Morning view (we are moored to the left)

Not often is old and new so close

This little tug was called Scouser
 The day was warming up, hot and humid. We were making steady progress up until we arrived at Hunton bridge locks. As we approached we could see a CRT work boat moored virtually on the lock landing. The lock is around a right hand bend here. We edged forward to ensure nothing was exiting, then squeezed in between the CRT boat and the lock.  At this point we could see a fuel boat was in the lock, or was it? Closer inspection revealed that the bow of the boat against the bottom gate, whilst the stern was against the bank towpath side so that the boat was katy corner in the lock,the top gates open! It transpired that a fuel delivery was being made to the lock cottage here, which has no vehicular access. So sack after sack of coal was unloaded from the hold onto the lock side on  the port side, then barrowed away, whist a delivery of kerosene was being pumped to the cottage from starboard.

Delivery being made

To this lovely lock cottage
As we were going nowhere for a while we had lunch! Not a boat came behind us in the 45 mins this went on, which illustrates how quiet it is. When the good ship Archimedes had completed his delivery, we were able to carry on.

Grove Bridge

The water lilies are starting to flower

The heat was somewhat draining today and so by 1600, passing what looked like a nice spot, we moored, just below North Grove lock.  A nice spot. OK, the east coat main line is one side and the M25 I think just ahead, but it will do. At least no blooming planes!

Miles 7
Locks 13


  1. Being a trainspotting anorak I must correct is the west coast main line :-)

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  3. Bloody hell, I know John is bad with direction, but we live on the east coast, you would think he would know where the trains come from! He is now arguing that they should be called the central line as they go up the middle!!


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