Thursday, August 25, 2011

Climbing up the Chilterns

We had got to Cassiobury and walked off Iron Bridge Locks up into the woods on clear wide paths. It was busy with walkers, runners and cyclists. The route we took went across the golf course several times so we had to look out for flying balls.

A lock cottage
Back on board we were watching TV in the evening as you do, when the boat started to lean over! Looking out we could see the water moving towards the lock. We had to slacken off the ropes and push the boat off the mud but it was still leaning over. Went to check the lock and found the bottom gate open. The top gates were leaking badly so shutting the bottom gate solved the problem once the lock filled itself. All paddles were down as they should be.
We set off for Kings Langley in the morning and arrived in time for lunch. We travelled on our own for a while till Roman Lady joined us. Going up these wide locks is always easier with two boats and also saves water. The shops at Kings Langley provided us with bread, milk and veg. "What is it about those bright orange carrots that shrivel up as soon as you need them?"

A few days later we continued up and up the Chilterns. We were soon joined by a boat called Midnight this time. They wanted to go all the way to Berkhamsted so we agreed to stay with them as it was a sunny day. We managed to do all of 17 locks and 6 miles. The water levels were very low in many pounds between the locks.

The previous pound was lower!
Most boats were going up and down two by two and we were lucky not to run aground in the shallows. One advantage of having a 57 foot boat is it being a popular length. We were lucky to slot into a mooring gap which was just the right length. Now the moorings between locks 52 and 53 are completely full.
British Waterways 'bean counters' are silly. They employ people to do maintenance but do not let them work because it costs too much! But now many have to control the use of locks and restrict navigation to save water. Now it is raining so maybe we will be able to continue up and down the system. Our future plans this year is to head for Staffordshire so hopefully once the August rush is over water levels will rise.

No comments: