Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 October 2015

We decided to chug to Hertford for the weekend before stopping at our winter mooring on Sunday.  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great on Saturday and we got a bit wet but it didn’t seem to matter.  At Ware Lock we bumped into a guy called Damian with his two daughters and we went through the rest of the locks with them.  Great to see Lucy (12) on the helm and Megan (9) doing the locks - a fine job they were both doing too.  I had forgotten how hard the lock gates are on this waterway but had Lou, Megan and her dad to help so between us we managed!

Mooring at Hertford was a bit tight as the towpath is being repaired which meant a chunk of river bank was taken out of action but we were able to find enough room for the two boats.  Steve lent over the back of the boat to tie up in Hertford and plop....phone dropped out of his top pocket into the river, never to be seen again.  We did have a net and tried to find it but no joy.

Poor Steve needed a drink after that so we went to the pub!

On Sunday morning as we left Hertford I saw the boat Mrs B – Martin whom I worked with was on board with his friend so I called out and after a stop to fill and empty he caught us up and we went through several locks.  We last saw Mrs B in Hungerford back in July!  They were heading for Cheshunt today where they will leave the boat for a couple of weeks. 

The weather was kind to us on Sunday and Lou is hooked on the way of life on the river so I think we will be seeing a lot more of her!

So our journey has come to an end for this season.  We have had a fabulous year despite the odd mechanical breakdown and the loss of several items overboard.  I am already planning our route for next year!

Here is what we have done this year:

Rivers and Canals:  River Great Ouse, Middle Level Navigations, River Nene, Grand Union Northampton Arm, Grand Union Canal – Main Line, Lee and Stort Navigations, River Wey, River Thames, Kennet & Avon Canal, River Seven, Bristol Channel, Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, River Avon, Stratford-on-Avon Canal, Worcester & Birmingham Canal, Droitwich Canal, Stourbridge & Dudley Canals, some of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, most of the Birmingham Canal Navigations.

Miles – 1,042
Locks - 730
Running Hours on the clock – 1285.5

If we cruise I will write the blog but will resume writing it next spring when we start the next season.  Thank you all for following our travels.

Leaving Broxbourne

Cathagena Lock - our winter mooring - they have beautiful hanging baskets in the summer.

That's our mooring space on the left!

That's where our nephew Sam lives, by Dobbs Weir Lock.

Family named boats - mum, sister and nephew!

Rye House - this is where Lewis Hamilton became go-karting champion!

Miserable day but the autumn leaves are still lovely.

Alright cock!

This is a posh one - I didn't see it when we came through here in the summer! 

Hoods up crew - Lucy and Steve on the helm, Damian and Megan paddles on the left, Lou waiting for instructions on the right!

Pouring with rain but the willows still look great.

Autumn in a lock!

Sunday morning - plants off the roof as we have to go under Folly Bridge to turn round.

and another to add to the collection!

Bit of a tight squeeze past where CRT are working.

Come on we've got digging to do!

Just caught this one!

but nearly missed this one.

In Hardmead Lock with Mrs B and another boat. 

Arriving back at Carthagena.

And moored - everyone came to help - we were grounding out as the water level is so low and every time the lock opens it sends the silt back this way.  They are a friendly bunch I'm sure we will be happy here for the winter.

Friday 23 October 2015

Easy morning this morning, we left Enfield at 10.00am for the final stretch of our journey.  Had a nice chug through this familiar area.  Disappointed to see that some of the paddles on certain locks have still not been repaired since we left back in July!

CRT do seem to be moving people on if they are overstaying their welcome and have made a lot of areas 14 day mooring in any calendar year which meant there were spaces to moor through Kensal Rise and some other spots that earlier in the year we wouldn’t have had the chance to stop even if we had wanted to.  This does mean that more people are now on the Lee Navigation.

We found a mooring in Broxbourne just before Carthagena and Lucy came to join us for the weekend.  

Not the best view from the lounge window!!  

I've gone ahead to open Enfield Lock and Steve is just leaving the mooring! 

Enfield Island - Lived in Enfield all my childhood but didn't know any of this existed!

Loved this programme when I was a kid!

Ramey Marsh Lock - this one has electric gates and manual paddles at this end and manual at the other.  There is a broken paddle at each end which makes emptying and filling much slower.

Through the lock and under the M25 - just between junctions 25 and 26!

Keep seeing these red bodied spiders at locks!

Approaching Cheshunt Lock.

So near to London and yet still very much in the country!

Nearly got this one - I think it's a sailing boat!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 October 2015

As predicted it poured with rain pretty much all day on Wednesday so we didn’t venture out very much only to grab a bit of shopping.

Thursday we decided that we were going to get as near to Carthagena as possible.  We left Paddington Basin just before 8.00am, you could see the remains of a lovely sunrise over the tall buildings surrounding the basin.  Back through Little Venice, Maida Vale Tunnel and past London Zoo and Regent’s Park arriving at the three locks at Camden at about 9.00am.  As we arrived at the top lock another boat, Rea, had just gone in, that was handy.  We got through the first two locks but the pound between the second and third locks was so empty that when we drained the second lock both boats were grounded.  Luckily there was a volunteer on hand who opened the sluice gates further up the flight and we had to sit and wait until there was enough water to get through the third gate.  He thanked the other lady and me for closing the gates and paddles behind us which we thought was strange as on a canal that’s the done thing.  He said you would be surprised at how many people just leave the gates open, hence the reason there is no water in the bottom pound.

Once through there we stopped at St Pancras Lock to do a quick fill up and empty, they had something caught round their prop so had to stop to free it so we carried on together through St Pancras Lock, Islington Tunnel, City Road lock and Sturt’s Lock – the gates on this stretch are really heavy and Steph (the other lady) was struggling with them so they swapped places in the end and he did the locks and she stayed on the boat – through Actons Lock and Old Ford Lock then a sharp left onto the Hertford Union Canal.  We got to the top lock at Victoria Park but they had decided to moor so we carried on alone.  There was a young guy with his two boats tied together in the lock, he had emptied the lock but had grounded – another water shortage – this is the first time that we have ever had this and twice in one day!  So we opened the top paddles again with the bottom gates open until there was enough water for him to carry on.  We were ok once we had refilled and emptied the lock, although these water shortages are causing us a bit of a delay.  Nothing we could do – you can’t hurry life on the canal!

Through the three locks and left at the Olympic Park (where we stopped last time) and onto the Lee Navigation.  A fairly long chug before we arrived at Tottenham Hale and Stonebridge Locks which are electric so a bit easier on the knees! We stopped to close the locks then remembered that we are now on a river so you don’t have to close your exit gates (we’ve been on the canals for such a long time!)  Under the North Circular and through Pickett’s Lock and Ponders End Lock.  We finally stopped just before 6.00pm just short of Enfield Lock.

Oh what a beautiful morning - goodbye Paddington Basin.

Little Venice - Rembrandt Gardens on the right - you can pre-book these moorings, must remember that in future.

Give us a wave Mr Cormorant!

Little Venice leading to Maida Vale tunnel - can you see how tight the moorings are...

There it is - the couple that we saw at Cowley Lock - I would have loved to have seen them getting their boat in there!

Coledale Bridge - an impressive structure

The Avery at London Zoo - not sure what they are. 

Cumberland Basin.

Moo!  why would you have a cow on your balcony?

Camden Top Lock.

Can you see how low the water level is in the pound?

I went ahead to fill the last lock - opened the paddles - I've never been able to see them before!

Grounded in the second lock, but the sluices are open now you can see the water pouring into the pound - it took about half an hour to get the water level high enough!

More new development opposite St Pancras Lock - They will probably be paying just short of £2 million for an apartment overlooking the gasometer!

Islington Tunnel.

Floating Library.

Hi Jay - hope you are happy in your nest!

This isn't a great photo because I only realised what it was after we had passed it.  Hilly - do you remember you sent me that article back in August - Bert's Barge - The Cool Hotel Guide - this is it - £300 a night!!  

Sharp left into Hertford Union Canal.

Autumn in Victoria Park.

Plastic Bag collection on a balcony opposite Victoria Park!

Would you like a gherkin with that!

Olympic Park.

I thought this was the first weathervane I had seen in while - but it seems to be missing its N, S, E & W!

Some fun-gi's hanging out on a bench!

We are not sure whether somebody chained their baby seat to the railings or whether the bike it was attached to has been pinched!  It is Lea Bridge after all...

StoneBridge Lock is a double lock - glad we're in this one!


Back on the Lee - we haven't seen any of these for a while...and a white one - that's a first!