Tuesday, 19 September 2017

It had to happen sometime.....

Monday 18th September 20
Berkhampsted to Cow Roast
2.75 miles, 7 locks

It had to happen, especially as I mentioned in my last post that we had not got wet - yesterday we got caught out in two torrential downpours.  The first just as I had disembarked to work a lock.  Neither of us had coats on and there was nothing we could do to remedy the situation.  The rain stopped just as we finished the lock!  The second downpour was as we pulled pins to move off after lunch - this time we did have waterproofs on, but it was still very wet rain!

We left Berkhampsted in the dry - I think someone needs to do some trimming

You cannot go past this totem pole without taking a photo - well I can't.  It is genuine and was imported from Canada.

The morning after the day before - the fair is leaving town.
This is a sight you don't see that often - a heron perched high up in a tree

Definitely master of all he/she surveys

When we arrived in Waitrose we discovered the shopping list was still on the boat!  Although it is not far to go back, we decided to wing it rather than disturbing the dog and then leaving him again.  We managed with only one thing forgotten, which I popped back for whilst Chris unloaded the bags.

At the first lock after Waitrose we found evidence that someone had been 'fishing for treasure' in the lock.

These are just because I like the photos.

We were on our own today and it really did seem like an uphill struggle - tomorrow we start to go down, so hopefully it will feel easier.  This boat is not quite moored on the lock landing, but.....

We finally moored at Cow Roast and were glad to be able to light the fire and sit down with a cuppa.  Although we did not go far, it seemed like a very long and arduous day.

Tuesday 19th September 2017
Cow Roast to Bluebell Tearooms, Tring Reservoirs
3.5 miles, 7 locks

Today was a much better day in so many ways.  It was chilly and slightly misty first thing, but the sun broke through eventually, it did not rain and we did 6 of the 7 locks with another boat.  We travelled a little further than yesterday, but even though we did the same number of locks, today took a lot less time - the advantage of sharing the locks even though we had to fill them all before we could enter.

As we neared the first bridge of the day we came across this motley selection of boats - we are sure we have seen the 'car boat' before, but cannot remember where.

What on earth is this boat towing?

A floating garden!

 Having spent 7 days steadily climbing out of London (it seems a lot longer!) at Cow Roast you reach what is called The Tring Summit - a 3 mile pound, which is mostly quite straight) 

before Bulbourne Junction where you start to go downhill again.

It caught Monty out two years ago and it did it again this time.  He has become so used to supervising the lock worker and then running to the stern to get on again before the boat moves off and then lo and behold to his consternation the boat was down at the bottom!

As I reached the first lock I noticed a boat in the pound below waiting to go into the second lock - would they wait for us?

 Yes I am delighted to say that they did.  We flew through the next 6 locks enjoying a lot of chat with like minded boaters.

Darryl kept Chris company

and Pam and I put the world to rights!
Thank you both for waiting for us - a sign of great boaters and something you always hope will happen, but, sadly, it is not always the case.  Even better we have agreed to start off at 9am tomorrow and travel together again.  The icing on the cake for us was they have bikes and were going into Tring and very kindly got the paper for us.

We are moored a bit behind them - it is busy up here, but as it is such a lovely spot it is not surprising.

Chris and I had lunch in the Bluebell Tearooms and then took Monty for a walk around Startops Reservoir, coming back with Startops on our left and Marsworth on our right.  A lovely walk, but not the same luck as we had two years ago when Chris found a £20 note!

Even though the sun is still shining we are glad we have the fire going as I think it is going to be a very chilly night.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

We did it again!

Sunday 17th September 2017
Winkwell to Berkhampstead
2.5 miles, 7 locks

For the third day on the trot we have managed to moor just before the rain started!  A habit we must cultivate.  Mind I have to admit that today's rain was quite light, well to start with, but it is always good not to get wet.

As we pulled pins this morning the boat about four ahead of us did a simultaneous manoeuvre, which 
would mean we would have the pleasure of working the locks with another boat.  Today we were joined by Jenny, a single hander who has lived in London for a number of years and is moving up to Tring.  I know Jaq will empathise with her on not wanting to climb lock ladders, so we agreed she would stay put rather than having to bow haul the boat into every lock.  It is the same amount of work for me whether there is one or two boats and at least with two you don't have to worry quite so much about the boats moving about as you fill the lock.  They were both able to wriggle in and out of the locks, so just the one gate required.

There are quite a number of locks on this part of the GU that have to be left empty - this one says it is on the repair list for this winter - we shall see.

It was a pleasant trip made all the better by good company and Jenny, if you do see this, we both wish you well with life at your new mooring.

I spotted this en route - no change since two years ago.

All  of a sudden we found ourselves approaching Berkhampsted and a pub advertising 'Free Beer Inside'.  Can that be right?

No, of course not!

 Onto the next lock and our last one of the day and a welcome to the Port of Berkhamsted.  One of our guide books (Pearson's) states about Berkhamsted that 'it is a supremely civilised town which clearly takes a pride in the appearance of its canal and that graffiti and vandalism are conspicuously absent'.

Sadly this no longer seems to be the case in all parts.  Hopefully they are still correct about the lack of vandalism.

Just past lock 54 we spotted a mooring with rings, so we decided to stop. Jenny only had one more lock to go before meeting friends at Waitrose who were going to help her the rest of the way to Tring.

It was just too good a spot to ignore

And opposite us is this rather ornate property with a stunning floral display despite the fact that the flowering season is almost at an end.

how is this for a conservatory?

Some evidence of growth since we passed two years ago

 With this lovely sign to the right of the house

Dinner was booked on line in The Boat for 7pm tonight - I have roast beef in mind.  Why did I not walk the 3 mins back to book in person - well it was raining and I had my slippers on!  That is my excuse and I am sticking to it.  Chris is thinking of going for the salad!

We went for a walk along the towpath to check out the mooring possibilities for Waitrose tomorrow.

 There is a fun fair in town on the park with many youngsters enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon.

 Having checked out the moorings further along we feel we made the right decision to stop where we did.  It is noisier along here with many boats moored.  There are 4 hour mooring spaces for Waitrose, so we should be okay in the morning.  There is a good view along the canal both ways from the bridge by Waitrose.

The spaces for Waitrose - we have discovered there is also a garden centre and a M&S food outlet behind these trees.

They do seem to take a pride in the canal in Berkhamsted with a several of these plaques with a lot of interesting canal history.

Many householders make the most of their canal frontage - like the one opposite our boat, this one must have been stunning at its height.

 This is hanging on a garden gate - we have no idea what it is for?!

And so to the meal - was it any good?  To start with we had to face the disappointment of there being no roast meat of any sort left as they had had a very busy lunch rush.  Do we give up and go back to the boat and rustle something up?  No we decided to make the best of a bad job and we were very glad we did - we both had a burger (a rare choice for me) and they were superb.  The waitress we had was first rate and the manager came over to apologise for there being no roast with the offer of a free dessert.  Well we could not pass that up completely and had sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream with two spoons - there just was not room for a whole pudding each!  We would definitely go back if we come this way again.