Monday, 24 October 2016



IMG_8861We were lucky to pick up this mooring at the top of Rickmansworth (5th boat down). These moorings are all 14 day and are normally full when ever we pass through. We have a few days to wait until our mooring will be ready in London so this seemed a good enough place to spend that time.

IMG_8858For the size of the town Rickmansworth has a small High Street ,but one thing it has is a Wetherspoons pub and how rude would it be not to go in for a drink and a bite to eat. It’s called the Pennsylvania which is the American state founded by William Penn who, at one time, lived in the High Street, Rickmansworth. Penn died in 1718 and was buried at the Friends’ Meeting House, Jordans, near Rickmansworth.

IMG_8862We have been this way many times and never thought much about the second lock which is next to Batchworth lock. It seems to be well maintained . It also has this odd shaped weir next to it. We found out that it was called Chess Lock,and goes towards Rickmansworth Wharf. It doesn't go that far nowadays, as it stops at the residential moorings in Chess Basin, but the lock is still in working order and in use.

IMG_8866After walking about 100 yards around the corner from the lock we came across this electric lift bridge and then Chess basin with at most only 10 residential boats in it’s 2 sections. The road over the lift bridge seemed to go to just one residential property. It seems to be a bit of a waste having an electric lift bridge here that is hardly used when certain other bridges on the system are desperate to be powered.

IMG_8877With availability issues in London for coal diesel and gas we contacted Phil and Mary on their fuel boats Hyperion and Hyades for a delivery while we were in Ricky. Bang on time and with a smile as always they filled us up with diesel,coal and a bottle of gas that had just run out. As with all the fuel boats on the system they do a brilliant job getting to us in all weathers ,even breaking through ice .They have a Facebook page  and can also be contacted on  07415298381 .                                                                                             


                                                                                                                              Happy Days

Friday, 21 October 2016

Abandoned !


IMG_8824We were awoken early from our mooring at Kings Langley by voices outside. Looking out of our cratch we saw six men boarding the boat moored in front of us. After quickly getting dressed I went out only to discover that the boat had been seized by The Canal and River Trust. I spoke to one of the guys taking the boat and he explained that the boat had been abandoned and the licence fee for the boat had not been paid.

IMG_8829They left this letter which was posted on a post believe it or not next to where the boat was moored. Maybe someone knows the owner .

IMG_8825The last time we were here some six months ago they were putting down a new surface on the towpath . I'm pleased to say that the work has now been completed ,but not so pleased to see that it has now become a racetrack for speeding cyclist.

IMG_8831After pulling pins at 09.10 we soon cruised under the M25 and where it starts to feel you are getting close to London , But we still have 15 hours of cruising and and 19 locks before we get to Little Venice and our reserved mooring at Rembrandt Gardens..

IMG_8837Passing The Grove Golf course and they seemed to have some sort of competition going on called the British Masters

IMG_8844We then passed the mill at the grove which was a water powered Corn mill that has now been converted to residential use .A wheel and pump can be found in the grounds of the Grove Golf Course. It used to pump water to the Manor House from the canal and is now left in a bush near Grove Mill. I find it a bit strange that it is left in a bush !!!.

IMG_8798We saw our first Red Kite just below Milton Keynes and it seems that every time we head this way we see more and more of them . At one time confined to Wales, a reintroduction scheme has brought them back to many parts of England and Scotland. Central Wales, central England - especially the Chilterns, central Scotland - at Argaty, and along the Galloway Kite Trail are the best areas to find them.

IMG_8848After a night at Croxley we dropped down Common moor lock only to be greeted with this mess on the Towpath. I would have thought that it had been left by boaters . Such a shame as it gives us all a very bad name.

IMG_8849I always enjoy passing long lines of moored boats and I’m not bothered about slowing down to tickover’ after all it’s a journey not a race on the canals, it’s just good to have a good look at other peoples boats and be a bit nosey sometimes. 

Just a short cruise today and we were lucky to pick up a good mooring at Rickmansworth where we will spend a couple of days before we push on into London.

                                                                                                         Happy Days

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Pop up


IMG_8788We pulled pins from Berkhamsted at 08.15 and entered the lock at the end of the Waitrose pound. This has to be one of the most popular mooring spots on this part of the Grand union . When we got here we were lucky to pick up the last available mooring.

IMG_8805With good weather forecast we were determined to put in a good days cruising and pushed on until we had a problem at Winkwell. There is an electric swing bridge here that is notorious for failing and it seems that is what has happened now. The bridge was stuck half open which meant that cars couldn’t get over it ,but luckily we just managed to squeeze through.

IMG_8808We then passed this boat at Winkwell lock. They looked to be a couple of Livaboards and said they were on their way to Milton Keynes and asked us how long would it take them to get there. But what got me was their louvre windows  . I have no idea why they did it, maybe for security or maybe because they were draughty ,but it looked like they had spray foamed inside of them as you can see in the picture.

IMG_8811This is new and just popped up from nowhere ! It’s a Pop up cafe at Fishery lock and seems to be run by an enterprising boater and trading off their mooring.

IMG_8812I counted 18 solar panels on this boat and they looked like they were big enough to be 200 watts each .He must be running something big onboard for that lot to power. I would have thought he would be very self sufficient even in Winter which is good.. Mind you I wouldn’t mind a few more on Inca if I had the room.

IMG_8813It’s that time of year when we start to see everything changing colour. I haven’t a clue what this bush is but Carolyn says we will have to get one.I’m not sure exactly where she expects me to put it, although no doubt some people could suggest somewhere.

IMG_8814Can you spot the Kingfisher in flight ? A load of rubbish picture I know,but you should try getting a picture when it passes you at what seems to be a hundred miles an hour. I will keep trying !!!

IMG_8820We have seen so many of these lately and mostly in locks. It’s a Red signal Crayfish which is an invasive species in this country. I do have some traps for catching them which I will have to dig out as I understand they are very tasty. Mind you I don’t think I would eat any caught in the canal , but there are a few river sections where I might give it a go sometime.

IMG_8818It’s certainly looking a lot different and darker as you go down the two locks at Nash Mills. Most of the new flats are finished and there is just the block at the bottom lock to complete. With 2 bedroom apartments starting at £315,000 I think I will give it a miss.

We eventually moored up at Kings Langley after a most enjoyable six hour cruise. We will spend the night here before moving off in the morning and continuing our journey to London.

                                                                                                            Happy Days

Monday, 17 October 2016

Heron race


IMG_8762We pulled pins from below Seabrook lock no34 at 08.45 and found Richard and Jules on their fuel boats approaching the lock. Carolyn gave them a hand to lock down and had a natter with them. Jules said that the next lock up which was Seabrook no35 had been vandalised and someone had stolen the paddle gear on one of the bottom gates. As you can see from the picture it’s gone,but the gear wheel is still in place even though it will slide straight off the shaft. Why anyone would want to steal this is just beyond me.

IMG_8769After sharing the bottom two locks of the Marsworth flight we had the other seven to do by ourselves. As always there are loads of Gongoozlers on this flight and as always Carolyn gets the kids and sometimes the adults involved by getting them to open and close the gates. We always we look out for Spaceships as we pass Startops reservoir as our friend Rich (nb Oakapple) tells us that the reservoir was formed by Aliens when they visited many years ago.

IMG_8772After a good three hours from setting off we made it to the top. We did talk about turning right and going up the Wendover arm for a day or two, but in the end decided to go straight onto Cowroast.

IMG_8774Every time we pass the Ironworks at Bulbourne we just have to slow down and admire the work they turn out here.

IMG_8776This was a bit unusual and a first for us. This Heron decided it wanted to give us a race,with it going full speed along the towpath I eased off the throttle and kindly let it win.

After a good cruise we moored at Cowroast for the night and visited the Chandlery where we had to buy a few bits for Inca.We always wondered how Cowroast got it’s name and it seems it probably came about due to it being used as a drovers route so that cattle could be taken to London to provide meat; the cows and their drivers would rest overnight before continuing their journey onward. The current name "Cow Roast" is believed to have come from the corruption of its original name "Cow Rest"

IMG_8781The following morning we pulled pins at 07.55 and with a good mist on the canal Carolyn walked ahead to set Cowroast lock. Due to repairs being carried out on this lock in November we wont be back up this way until after the repairs are completed, hopefully the work will finish on time.

IMG_8787Dropping down the seven locks in to Berkhamsted this is the only boat we passed . After seeing it we came up with a cunning plan and decided to spend the rest of the day in Berko. Once moored up Carolyn had some essential looking around the shops to do while I caught up with a few little jobs on Inca.

                                                                                                                 Happy Days

Sunday, 16 October 2016

boat names


With it being my Birthday today (fifty bloody eight, although I don’t look it .Ha ha) I just thought that a few funny boat names would be good to have a chuckle at.. Now back to the red wine.    Cheers !!!!!

IMG_8492Red Mist used in reference to a fit of extreme anger that temporarily clouds a person's judgement. But never on a canal surely !

IMG_8544Just wish more boats would idle by.

IMG_8557I liked this one ..Just hope people take notice.

IMG_8573It always is.

IMG_8579So true, Now where’s that next bottle ….

                                                                                                              Happy Days

Friday, 14 October 2016

Blog Followers


IMG_8707We pulled ropes through rings at 09.10 from Fenny Stratford and headed through the 12 inch rise lock and on towards Soulbury 3 locks. Then it was just our luck to meet this widebeam Hotel boat in a bridge hole.

IMG_8710On the way we had a shout from Linda on Nb The Pearl who follows our blog. It’s always good to have a hello from a blog reader and we will give you a shout when we head back this way in a couple of months.  …… PS ,Striking the pose and looking good !!!

IMG_8723Stoke Hammond lock is always a pleasure to work through and it has to be one of the best kept locks on the system.

IMG_8726The next locks are the Soulbury three . With it being early in the morning there were no Gongoozllers at the pub to watch us up the flight.

IMG_8738After a night moored just before bridge 110 we had and early start pulling pins at 07.35 . The idea was to get onto the Leighton Buzzard Tesco moorings and do a big shop at Aldi and Tesco. Passing Wyvern boat hire base we noticed this rather tidy looking Morris van.

IMG_8745After a couple of hours moored at Leighton Buzzard and filling the cupboards and of course the wine cellar we then passed up through Grove lock where we had yet another shout from a blog follower (just wish I got your name) We will look out for you when we come back through .We went through Church lock where Carolyn walked Hamish the next couple of miles to Slapton lock.

IMG_8751After passing through Slapton lock we noticed that they have added a couple more holiday pods or what ever you call them. Well it seems after a bit of research that they are luxury en-suite Wigwams and are situated in the beautiful mature orchard at Hill Farm on the edge of the beautiful Buckinghamshire village of Slapton.Adjacent to the towpath of the scenic Grand Union Canal, and with breathtaking views of the Ivinghoe Hills Nature Reserve, the orchard is home to wonderful old apple, pear and damson trees.The tranquillity of the orchard, with its canal side setting and breathtaking views of the Chiltern Hills make this an ideal setting to enjoy a unique glamping experience.

Opposite the wigrams we had another shout from Wb Hetty who also follow our blog, good to hear from you and we will give you a shout when we come back through . There’s going to be a lot of shouting on our return trip !!

With the skies turning grey we decided to moor up and spent the night below Seabrook lock no 34. Tomorrow we plan to get to Cowroast which should be a good 3 or 4 hour cruise and take in 11 locks and 1 swing bridge including the 7 locks of the Marsworth flight.

                                                                                                                    Happy Days

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Through MK (Milton Keynes)


IMG_8681We pulled pins from our mooring at Grafton Regis at 07.45 and had ahead of us a cruise of about 6 hours to Fenny Stratford . Reaching Cosgrove and we were lucky to get a hand down the lock by a working party that were restoring the Buckingham arm. Its no doubt a thankless task , but they are working their way to re opening the arm .

IMG_8687Crossing over the Cosgrove Aqueduct and my fear of heights kicks in again. What is going on with me ?. I have been over here so many times and never had a problem before.

IMG_8691Then at Target Turn after passing through Bradwell we met up with our friend Gary on his Coal/Diesel boat Ascot. We had 12 bag’s of Excel coal from him at the very reasonable price . We haven’t seen Gary for sometime ,so it was good to have a good old natter. Yet again we always try and use the coal/diesel boats in the area we are travelling through, they are there all year round and are always there to help us out in the Winter months when the going gets a bit more difficult due to bad Weather and stoppages.

IMG_8694Cruising through Milton Keynes and we passed this new piece of Art that we haven’t seen before.

IMG_8696We then came across this new seat on the towpath. How brilliant is that ?.

IMG_8701At Simpson we passed this boat with one of the best bow fenders we have ever seen.

After a good and most enjoyable 6 hour cruise we managed to pick up a mooring before the lock. Not 2 minutes after mooring and Carolyn had her backpack on and was off up the shops. Hour’s later she returned with a backpack full of bargains…………………………. Well that’s what she told me !!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Happy Days