(Posted by Alan)
Winkwell to Lot Mead (near Rickmansworth)
A very different day to yesterday, despite a near identical mileage, and similar lock count.
For a start we have shared locks all day, having worked on our own all through yesterday. Three different boats shared at various times, all rather bigger and shinier than Chalice.
Our last shares were with fellow Canal World Forum member "terryvanman" who has bought a very nice boat from another Forum member, but one where there was a sad tale to tell, as the builders had gone under during its construction, placing enormous stresses and extra expenses on the guy who had commissioned it. This seems to have led to him never realising properly his dreams of life afloat - not a nice story, but at least the boat has found a good home with someone who is really enjoying it.
Another major difference about today has been the weather - largely sunny all day to replace yesterday's rain - no need to light the coal fire today, and the sun block even came out.
We have stuck remarkably well to the schedule proposed by the excellent CanalPlanAC web-site, (http://canalplan.org.uk). Although an excellent planning tool, we usually find things that happen on the day mean we never quite adhere to their suggestion, but for the last two days we have, albeit completing today rather faster than they suggested.
Even the single hander ahead, towing some kind of lifeboat conversion, leaving all gates open and many paddles up, did not seem to slow us, although we were on his tail by the time he called it a day in Cassiobury Park.
Previous overnight stops around the Rickmansworth area at this time of year have usually meant fairly sporadic sleep due to the huge hoards of Canada Geese in the area, (we have had disturbed nights at Batchworth and Stockers in the past). Only time will tell whether a decision to stop short of Batchworth will lead to a quieter night, but there seem to be less noisy birds around.
Our mooring spot has given us a chance to explore some of the Ebury way, (a path / cycle track on ther bed of the former Watford to Rickmansworth railway branch), and for Charlie to get much needed exercise. This caused us to loop round the back of the short canalised section of the Chess that still acts as a mooring basin, and is accessed via a lock parallel to the usual Grand Union one at Batchworth. I realised I had never seen this arm before, and found it quite different from what I assumed. I was also surprised to learn there was once a further lock and arm off of it, long since abandoned.
Tomorrow presents a bit of a planning quandry - I doubt we really have time to get into London proper, and even the popular moorings at Kensal Green seem an ambitious target. I guess we will be looking for a spot part way along the Paddington Arm, but must admit appealing spots are rather few and far between. Before then, a fill of fuel is a must, if we are not to find ourselves short in London, where there really are no canalside sellers to speak of.
Winkwell to Lot Mead
Miles: 10.8 , Locks: 21
Total Miles: 21.5 , Total Locks: 45
Scenes from the museum
15 hours ago