About our boat

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We acquired our Narrowboat in January 2010 and are looking forward to many cruises around the network.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Wendover Arm to Slapton

Rainbow over Bridge 3 on the Wendover Arm.

Having stayed in all day watching the rain, by 5 o'clock the clouds lifted and the sun came out.  We were  treated to this lovely rainbow.  Deciding some fresh air would do us good we ventured out for a walk around the part of canal which is under restoration.  The day before it was dry dusty and all cracked up.  Now there are large puddles and all the dust has settled.  Weather for Friday is supposed to be good.

We left by 9 o'clock Friday morning to face the Marsworth 7 locks, unfortunately on our own.  After stopping for services we joined up with a couple from Rochdale who had been cruising the Southern waterways since June.  We had a very pleasant journey through 9 more locks with them talking about paint, lack of washing machine among many other mundane topics boaters discuss.  We then passed the chalk Lion way off in the distance, a commemoration to Whipsnade Zoo.

We then stopped just before Leighton Buzzard, in more rural surroundings, for the night.  However, although they did not disturb us, the trains are the noisiest we have heard all trip - so far.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Continuing the journey

Today is Thursday 18th August and it has rained all day, so we have the ideal opportunity to bring this up to date.  After completing the Hanwell flight we had a very sporadic journey to Cowley Peachey.  We stoppped for services and moved on a little.  We then stopped for provisions at Bulls Bridge Tesco.  Very disappointed not to have time to go down the Paddington Arm but this was closed following a bridge fire caused by the riots over that weekend. 

On passing through one lock we encountered a different type of guard pacing up and down.   Who needs dogs?

Whilst having breakfast next morning we had a very special visitor.

You can just make out the heron perched on our boat.

Having travelled up through Stockers Lock (No.82) we were advised of lovely moorings at Grove Mill so we took heed and stopped there overnight on Sunday.  On leaving Monday morning we passed under this very ornamental stone bridge.

Grove Bridge No.164

We caught up with a couple who had just purchased a boat and were cruising it home to Oxfordshire via the canals.  It was good to have company through the double locks all the way to Hemel Hempstead.  Once again we stopped for provisions. Sainsbury's this time and then continued to The Fishery Inn where we had arranged to meet Tim and Gwen from the Alvis Owner Club.  Very pleasant evening spent wining and dining.
On leaving next morning we carried on through the Port of Berkhamsted.

Entering Berkhamsted

This is a very well maintained town, with well kept gardens and plenty of interesting artifacts to look at. Display boards explaining the products transported by canal from the area.  And still we are climbing up from the Thames valley to the top to Tring Summit, where we stopped Tuesday night.
Wednesday we took a detour onto the 1 1/2 miles of restored Wendover Arm.  It was very narrow in places after the wide  G.U.canal and very rural.  Moored on the visitor moorings after winding at the end and then went for a walk to look at the reservoirs that feed the canal plus the restoration work continuing towards Wendover.
Wilstone Reservoir very low of water.

British Waterways are having to pump water, from this and two other purpose built reservoirs at the top of Tring Summit, every night for 3 hours, just to maintain water levels in the canal, as many pounds are low.  Each time a lock is used 50,000 gallons pass through.
After the walk we settled in for a lovely evening enjoying the beautiful sunset.

Wendover Bridge No.3  in front of our moored boat.

And this is where we have stayed all day today (Thursday) looking out at the rain and grey clouds hoping for better weather tomorrow.

From the Thames onto The Grand Union Canal.

We stayed on a very pleasant mooring at Chertsey whilst pondering the next step, planning to leave the Thames and get onto the The Grand Union Canal at Brentford.  We checked the tide times and phoned Teddington Lock keeper to let him know of our intention (as all books and papers read advised this).  He was very laid back and said to go through Teddington about 1.30 to 1.40 to go down stream on the ebbing tide.  This would ensure going through the Richmond sluices rather than the lock and arriving at Brentford by 3 o'clock latest. 
Paddle Steamer on the Thames

We have seen some wonderful craft on the Thames and plenty of narrowboats. 
On arriving at Teddington we awaited 'til the allotted time to enter the tidal Thames and then cruise down through Richmond sluices.  We could see the tide had already dropped by several inches.  Then into Brentford, almost missing the turn as it angled back from downstream.  Good manouvering on Colin's part saw us safely into Thames lock.  Then the exciting operation of opening Brentford Gauging Lock and so back onto the canal system.  One lock later saw us moored up for the night by a very pretty bridge.

Gallow's Bridge Grand Union Canal.

After a pleasant evening, we made an early morning start towards the Hanwell flight.  We were surprised at how much graffiti and rubbish was around after the idyllic setting we moored in. Should we have stayed there overnight? 

Looking up the Hanwell Flight. (6 locks)

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Continuing down the Thames to Chertsey.

The last 3 days have been spent on a gentle cruise down the Thames arriving last night at Chertsey.
Still we meet rivier users of all types.
Cox and 8 creating quite a wash.

This looks facinating but hard work.

Kids having fun in a Dragon Boat.

What a lot of produce but too far away to stop.

Not to mention all the launches of all shapes and sizes, plus the nearer we get to London larger pleasure boats.
We have got very used to the Locks being operated for us.  However, when we arrived at Boveney Lock the welcome committee was not what we were expecting.  Four police divers at the entrance, apparently looking for the key to the Lock operating panel.  I don't think I would like to have been the one who dropped it. Once locked through we went to use the services, whilst waiting started chatting again. 'Definitely beats an office job.' he says floating in the water. 

Talking to a Police diver.

 Suddenly the wind got up and blew the hat from the lady on the next boat to us and the sign saying Police Divers.  One of the divers immediately climbed in and rescued the hat (no problem) however the sign had gone to deep so he needed one of the others with breathing equipment to salvage it.
I must say from our experience so far, the services have been good and easy to plan along the route however moorings have been more hit and miss.  The large towns have good moorings but charge well and there is not much riverside mooring in between.  Having said this it just adds to the pleasure of cruising somewhere different. Our last part of the Thames will be to Teddington and then through Brentford Lock onto the Grand Union.  Back to do it yourself locks!!!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Lechlade to Eynsham

We chose to make an earlier start today (Friday) and go through St. John's Lock on Self service.  I'm quite getting the hang of these locks and am certainly having fun using their specially designed poles. There is a statue of  Father Thames, which once marked the source of the Thames north of Kemble at St. John's Lock.

  The weather was perfect, warming nicely without getting to uncomfortable so we decided to have a long day (for us) cruising. We met several boats, swimmers and walkers along the way.  Such tranquil settings it will be a shame to leave it for London. 
On we went passing through all the well maintained locks once again with cheery lock keepers in attendance.  However, we didn't realise how helpful until we arrived at Pinkshill Lock. 

Lock keepers cottage at Pinkshill Lock

 Whilst waiting for the Lock to empty I enquired if the hirebase just round the corner would be open for fuel and gas.  Without further a do he dialled them up, explained we were just locking through and could we get gas & diesel tonight.  It was 5 o'clock and they were just closing but as he had phoned on our behalf they would wait 10 minutes for us to get there.  Once again cheerful & helpful service.  Now to look for a mooring where we can BBQ tonight. 

Heading towards Lechlade

We had decided Lechlade would be our destination however, the weather made us think twice about moving.  The worst rain we have had for a long while. So we sat and watched the ducks and caught up with other little jobs that needed doing.  Then while having coffee and looking out the window three flourescent 'balls' came floating round the bend.  Of course they weren't balls at all they were swimmers, with an escort boat. Then 5 minutes later 4 more swimmers and tender came by.

By 2 o'clock the skies had lifted and boats were beginning to move, so we chose to head off too.  A quiet cruise to the next lock and then onto Grafton Lock, which was self service, the first we have had to operate on the Thames.  Slow and steady we worked our way through.  It turned very windy after this lock, so a slower cruise and on through the next 2 locks brought us to our destination much later than our normal end of day.  Lechlade in the sun looks picturesque.  A very quaint Market Town.
By 2 o'clock the skies had lifted and boats were beginning to move, so we chose to head off too.  A quiet cruise to the next lock and then onto Grafton Lock, which was self service, the first we have had to operate on the Thames.  Slow and steady we worked our way through.  It turned very windy after this lock, so a slower cruise and on through the next 2 locks brought us to our destination much later than our normal end of day.  Lechlade in the sun looks picturesque.  A very quaint Market Town.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Moorings at Osney Bridge Oxford.

This was the view of the moorings looking down river towards Osney Lock, which is round the next bend.  We spoke to several other boaters whilst moored here and decided when we leave we will turn and go up to Lechlade. This is the highest navigable point of the Thames.

Monday (1st August) we spent the day doing tourist sightseeing bits around the city, admiring all the fine buildings and the history. Later we had our first visitors for this trip.  Malcolm & Jennie joined us for tea and cakes and a look around. When there's more time we will go on a cruise together.  Having recovered sufficiently we then had to decide where to eat.  There is almost too much choice, but we settled on 'The Jam Factory'.  This was as excellent eatery and we wine and dined 'til late into the evening.
Tuesday (2nd August) we took the bus to Malcolm & Jennie and then all went to Rex's funeral over in St. Albans.  Joining several members from the Alvis Owner Club for a sad occasion is never fun.  However, we combined this with a meeting in the evening at 'The Bird in Hand' at Knowl Hill with other members, which once again turned into a very sociable wining and dining event.  Having done a fair amount of our cruise by road in a matter of hours we will back on the boat to cover the distance at walking pace.

Under the Toll Bridge at Shillingford

Wednesday 3rd we set off from Osney Bridge back upstream cruising through some very pretty countryside and  well kept locks which are all manned by cheerful lock keepers.  It was a delightful day which ended just past Rushey lock on a very pleasant riverside mooring with the sun setting beautifully. 

Late evening looking across open coutryside. Beautiful!

External view of Heather May