Thursday, 15 February 2007

Off the beaten track.

7 locks / 71/2 miles.

After yesterday’s busy day we slept very well to the extent we didn’t wake until 9am, so it was a quick breakfast, a fleeting visit to the post office for stamps and we were ready to move off. Just as we had pulled the pins to do our first chore which was to move across the canal to the water point we got talking to a gentleman out walking with his grandson. The grandson was wearing an “All Black” parka which grandad was quick to point out to us. It turned out that the family were back here to visit friends and relatives and were going back to NZ in 5 weeks time.
We eventually filled the water tank which was precautionary as we had put 2 loads of washing through the washing machine on our journey yesterday which would have used over 100 litres.

The journey was pretty uneventful except for meeting another Kiwi (New Zealander), I tell you we can’t get away from them.
As we were working the Dudswell lock we got into conversation with 2 teenagers who were fishing and it turned out that 1 of them was born in Wellington NZ but his mother had bought him back to the UK 7 years ago. He was looking forward to the UK summer holidays as he was going to Australia and NZ to visit friends and family.
The journey through the Tring cutting was not very interesting and being out of the sun the temperature dropped quite sharply.
It was good to get back into the sunlight at the end of it.
At the old BW yard at Bulbourne we saw the sculptor/artist who has taken over part of the site and producing sculptors out of metal. He was in the process of testing an artistic garden fountain that stood about 4 feet high. From here we noticed a marked change in the scenery from urban to decidedly rural.
At the top of the Marsworth flight we turned sharp left onto the Wendover Arm which although only being just over a mile in length with no locks is navigable. Our aim is to follow the lead of n/b Earnest and the Tuesday Night club in traversing these back waters just because they are there. If boats don’t use them there is no point in them being restored.
The canal is a narrow waterway with about a couple of dozen or so boats moored along the way and a bit over grown on the non towpath side. There is an industrial site along the way where there are signs warning of an underwater ledge but we stayed mid stream and had no problem. There is 1 tight bend as you pass behind the factory which could be a problem to any boat 60ft or more but we got around OK. From the factory it becomes very rural again right through to the end of the navigation. Just before the winding hole at the end of the canal is a stop lock which is secured open and the pumping station which is feeding water into the Grand Union canal from a huge reservoir behind it. Dot was concerned the winding hole was not going to be big enough but all her fears were laid to rest when we found the winding hole big enough to turn a 70 footer IF you could get it up there.
After winding we moored up on a delight stretch of tow path with no trains, cars or motorways. Utter peace and quiet. As the saying goes in NZ we’ve gone bush.

End of navigation of the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union

Plaque to commemorate the restoration of this section of the Wendover Arm in 2004.

View from our galley window tonight

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