Slapton, Simpson and Yardley Gobion

On Friday June 16th we travelled north from Cowroast with the unnamed boat towards Milton Keynes. They stopped off for water at Marsworth Junction and we briefly got separated by another boat going north, but were soon back together. The weather was bright. We stopped for the night at Slapton.

A lucky angler!

We continued north with the unnamed boat on the Saturday and both stopped at Leighton Buzzard to shop. We took on water at the water point by the road bridge. A wee
ping willow by the tap spreads out over the canal is very overgrown. It creates interesting navigation!

Weeping willow problems at Leighton Buzzard

Our companions stopped off at Willowbridge where they wanted to leave they boat and we continued to Simpson mooring up for the night outside The Plough.

The Plough, Simpson
On the Sunday, Father's Day, we were joined by our daughter Emily and grandson Hugh for the final journey home to Kingfisher Marina. We found a spot near Great Linford for a picnic and our son-in-law Andy joined us. 

Hugh holding a mooring line

Hugh and Emily at Cosgrove Lock

After we got back to the marina the heavens opened - again!

Stokers Lock, Apsley and Cowroast

Catching up with posts again - three days in one post!

On Tuesday 14th June we left Northolt and with are now well-mounted engine we made it to Bulls Bridge to take on water and shop at Tescos. The weather was not great and heavy showers predominated.  

Passing through Southall

The journey up the Grand Union was straightforward and we soon reached Cowley and Uxbridge. We had noticed a Wyvern Shipping hire boat at Little Venice and we ended up sharing locks with them for the next few days. The crew were from Slovakia and were following their football team in the European competition when they could get TV reception. It appear they had taken the boat for two weeks and used it as a base to explore London - very enterprising.

A curiously name boat at Uxbridge
Perhaps somebody keen on nuclear power?

Our Slovakian friends share Black Jacks lock
Near Coppermill Locck we found Sue, Vic and the new wide-beamed No Problem XL moored up waiting for their furniture to be delivered - a bit of a change after their years of narrow-boating. 

Interesting modern architecture near Coppermill Lock

We finally moored up for the night at Stokers Lock near Rickmansworth.

The Wednesday the weather brightened a little but the sunshine and showers theme continued. We passed through Cassiobury and stopped for lunch near The Grove.

Another Albert - moored up near Watford 
Usually moored up near Barby

Just before the rain came down at near The Grove

We made it to Apsley that afternoon and moored up by the Paper Mill pub.

The Paper Mill inn at Apsley

Thursday saw us travelling up through Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamstead to Cowroast - making it to the Tring summit. We shared lock with an unmarked boat that actually was called Arc but there was no indication of the name. The owners were on a long journey and like us wanted to get some locks under their belts.

At Northchurch we discovered the spot where in 2009 Maggie "measured her length" by tripping over a concrete slab. At the time I was steering Albert of the nearby lock only to see her in "mid-flight". Nothing got broken in the incident but the bruising was painful for several days. I don't either of us will forget the incident.

Where Maggie tripped and fell in 2009

The photo below illustrates a feature of locks that in all my years of boating I have only just realised. When operating a lock, particularly on the Grand Union, you find depressions, and occasionally holes, in stone slabs as you stand operating the ground paddles. The holes sometime eject water as the paddles are opened. On this journey I suddenly realised the depressions in the slabs are where countless boaters have stood and operated the paddle mechanism wearing away the stone with their heavy boots and that some have worn right through the stone to the chamber below. Below is a typical example. I tested my theory by placing my feet in the same spot - it is the most effective position for operating the mechanism, particularly when it is stiff.  

Depressions and holes by ground paddle mechanisms