Sunday, 15 November 2009

Home to Cowroast

Once again apologies for my failure to post our boating 'adventures'. I've spent the last couple of weeks frantically trying to cope with the lack of one third of our small department. We have now recruited another teacher who knows one end of a computer from another, and I hope very much, that life will start to return to some degree of normality.

31st October 2009

We set off around 9 am. Not too early, but after at least one of the other Cowroast boats moored near us had set off - so the locks were against us for several locks. It was not going to be a hard day - it's only 15 locks from Winkwell to our home mooring at Cowroast.
Berries by a lock in Berkhamsted.

In Berkhamsted we stopped for a top up of supplies, but there were few delays on the trip. I found that, for the first time since my fall down the stairs, I could actually tackle the odd lock, although I still found my right ankle, and left hip painful at times.

Chalice at Dudswell, only a few locks from 'home'.

We caught up with a charming extended family at Dudswell upper lock, and worked up to Cowroast with them. A couple, with a daughter/step-daughter, and a couple of nieces.

The family said that the summit pound was low, and they had had problems a couple of days earlier when travelling south. We didn't find a problem then, but we have since heard that there is a water shortage due to low rainfall levels.

Approaching the marina one of the 'on-line' Cowroast residents appeared - nice to get another welcome home Jim!
Locks: 15, Miles:5.4
Total Locks: 90, Total Miles: 91.9

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Above Winkwell

Friday 30th October 2009
Today was the day that many of the leaves started to fall - coming through Cassiobury Park it was like being in a leaf snowstorm.
Leaves falling in Cassio.

Later in the day it became a bit less windy, and the sun came out. We kept going on through Watford, Kings Langley and Hemel Hempstead. We knew that the Narrowboat Trust were somewhere behind us as we had met their lockwheeler, as well as someone with a sleeping bag waiting by a lock for them to arrive. At Apsley we thought they would catch us up, as we were waiting a long time for the lock.

Blackbirds Moor - Boxmoor

For once, having moored several times after dark, we stopped at around four pm, just above the swing bridge at Winkwell. As dark fell the Narrowboat Trust finally passed us - they were heading for Berkhamsted that night - "we don't stop for the dark," said the man we'd met by the lock with his sleeping bag.

The Narrowboat Trust coming through Winkwell

The Narrowboat Trust pass Chalice

We had planned to get some blogging done in the evening - but after dinner we went to the pub for a quick drink. There we met up with the Cowroast resident we'd shared locks with in both directions on our trip. Somehow the blogging didn't get done as we swapped stories and discussed boats and canals.
Locks: 19, Miles:9.8
Total Locks: 75, Total Miles: 86.5

To Common Moor

First - an apology for the delay in posting recently. We had a problem with power one evening, resulting in no computer, then we spent far too much time in the pub with a fellow Cowroast resident - meaning no posting. I lost far more time than I intended on NOT moving Chalice to her new mooring (this will eventually be posted - promise). Also, I've got back from the trip to try to catch up with all the things I need to do for work - and I'm still limping around and finding it very tiring. Added to all of this my head of department at school is about to begin treatment for a major health problem and will effectively be off work for the rest of the academic year - I'm being asked to help to cover, and to help produce suitable work for the rest of the classes that need to be covered. I will catch up, but it will have to be when I can - sorry.

Thursday 29th October 2009

We wanted to get to at least Common Moor lock, to be back at Cowroast before dark. We made the long trip through the lockless miles to Cowley with Alan steering - I was doing some washing for part of the journey - I'm not entirely sure why. As we came out of the Paddington Arm at Bull's Bridge a boat was turning in - at the helm was a very pretty young woman, wearing what looked like a genuine mink coat - not exactly what I would consider typical boater clothing.

Arundel passes fully loaded with sand - right down to the gunwales.

Arundel as she passes

Autumn leaves at Black Jack's Lock

It was a pleasant, warm autumn afternoon, travelling up through the locks towards Batchworth where we stopped for supplies at the big canalside Tesco store. It was beginning to get late after this, but we didn't really want to stop in Batchworth - so pressed on for a little longer. We planned to go through Lot Mead lock, and then moor up, but the canal was so shallow we decided to go on through Common Moor lock, despite the gathering gloom.

At the lock there was a boat in the lock - at first we thought it was moored there, as we could see no-one around, and there was a generator running on the back deck. Eventually, a man appeared and explained that he was waiting for someone else to arrive - we spotted the boat's light in the distance as we were talking to him. We worked the two boats down, and then worked up ourselves, mooring, in pitch darkness, just after the lock.

Going up through Common Moor Lock in the dark - the lights at the top gate are our head torches

Locks: 11, Miles: 16.9
Total Locks: 56, Total Miles: 76.7