Saturday, 31 May 2014


Here I am Rune
Distance 4.4 miles
Total 422 Locks 8 Tunnels
Running total mileage 580.0 miles

We’ve reached our daily target of Berkhamsted travelling again as a pair through the locks with the crew of a boat called ‘Octopus’. They are also a liveaboard crew but only from June to September. Talking to them it seems that they have travelled a good proportion of the system in the years that they have been doing it. 

Annoyingly we found, as we set off this morning from Hemel Hempstead, that had we carried on for another 200metres the previous night the mooring outlook would have been far better. As it was he had a perfect outlook of the B&Q car park and the Travis Perkins timber yard, had we done the additional 200 metres we would have been overlooking parkland and a cricket pitch, well you live and learn.

The only testing part today was, once again a side channel emptying into the canal below Winkwell Bottom Lock which throws you off line as you approach the lock. I saw the difficulty approaching the lock and allowed for it, I also moored on the left hand side of the lock to allow the lady steering ‘Octopus’ to be swept into the right side of the lock by the current. It didn’t actually work out like that though since, as she approached the lock she was steering directly towards where she wanted to be without allowing for the side current, consequently when the current caught her it swept her into the side of the lock entrance with a bit of a clatter! No real damage done though.
The approach to Berkhamsted

Bridge 141

Berkhamsted Totem Pole

Berkhamsted is quite an attractive town from what we’ve seen of it. I quite liked the bridge as we approached the town (photo) stating ‘Port of Berkhamsted’, seemed a bit ambitious to me. Think we may take a bit of time exploring the rest of the town tomorrow, it appears that there are Castle ruins to be explored.  

Friday, 30 May 2014

Hemel Hempstead

Here I am Rune
Distance 6.8 miles
Total 410 Locks 8 Tunnels
Running total mileage 576.0 miles

A good days progress today, assisted by the fact that we were accompanied through most of the locks by a 4 person crew of very competent hirers. Most of the trip was through woodland and parkland and also past a golf course in which the bridge (photo) was located. This was apparently the Earl of Essex’s land and he insisted that if the canal were to go through it he wanted an ornate bridge on his land, so the canal builders obliged.

We have comfortably made our target of Hemel Hempstead today although we have pushed on a bit far beyond the Sainsburys so will either have a bit of a walk back or have to see if there is another supermarket nearer to our location.

The target for tomorrow would, I think, be to get to Berkhampstead, we’ll see how we get on

The Grove Bridge

Grove Bridge Plaque

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Cassiobury Park

Here I am Rune
Distance 3.7 miles
Total 396 Locks 8 Tunnels
Running total mileage 569.2 miles

So now I have reached the milestone of 100 blogs whilst we continue our way up the Grand Union. A bit of a slow day today since we didn’t get away particularly early and had an hour stop to replenish supplies at Tesco. Starting to edge our way out of the London area as we are now on the outskirts of Watford at Cassiobury Park and tomorrow we should cross the M25 when you really feel that you’ve escaped from London. Once again no great dramas today and although it is pleasant countryside there wasn’t much that was photogenic other than a rather colourful (and unidentified) bird that was too quick for me to photograph. We still pass the occasional parakeet, which seem to now be living wild around London (presumably escaped/released pets!).

Managed to install the auxiliary bilge pump yesterday, so now if any water builds up in the bilge under the rear study we now have the means to pump it out, rather than baling it out with a washing up bowl. 

The target for tomorrow will be Hemel Hempstead since we need a reasonable sized town to get the weekend shop (Sunday joint, fresh fish for Saturday night). At least today’s weather was OK (not as per forecast!), let’s hope tomorrow’s is as good, forecast for the weekend looks pretty good, but then forecasting has been a bit hit and miss recently.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Rune on the move again

Here I am Rune

Distance 7.4 miles
Total 391 Locks 8 Tunnels
Running total mileage 565.5 miles

Well after a short break back in Torquay we are back on the boat and back on the move again. Unfortunately the weather isn’t anything special, in fact last night listening to the rain drumming on the roof and not feeling too warm we actually lit the coal fire! This is nearly June, what is going on?

The various minor boat irritations seem to have gone into remission as the stop solenoid now seems to be working as it is supposed to and the alternator still seems OK and charging well. Today’s trip didn’t have much in the way of any dramas although there is a short section below Copper Mill Lock which could be regarded as a bit testing. The problem is that as you approach the lock a very strong river current comes in from the right. Fortunately all of the canal books warn of this and there is also warning signs on the canal bank as well, the only real problem that would occur would be if you approached it too close to the towpath side as the current would sweep you sideways and without enough room to manoeuvre you would probably clatter into the embankment, fortunately this didn’t happen to us, we just got swept around a bit.

Tomorrow we press on towards Hemel Hempstead, although there is a convenient branch of Tesco alongside the canal in Rickmansworth that we may need to call in to restock.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Cowley Lock

Here I am Rune
Distance 0.3 miles
Total 385 Locks 8 Tunnels
Running total mileage 558.1 miles

The shortest hop imaginable today to take us the quarter of a mile above Cowley Lock the purpose of which was to get onto some secure moorings (rings rather than mooring pins) to enable me to do a bit of minor repairs on the boat. It looks like the stop solenoid is going to continue playing up and since we are within a mile of one of the three UK Lister main dealers here it seem prudent to me to change the solenoid over for a new one, and also to get the replacement oil and filter ready for the next oil change. To that end we are likely to be at this location for a short period of time whilst I carry out the servicing so there wont be much to report for the next few days.