Disappearing Cut

Today we had an early start (8:00) and left the mooring in Kings Langley with the aim of putting some miles and locks behind us so we could reach the Thames by the weekend. It was misty for the early part of the day and immediately we found one difference from yesterday - locks set in our favour. As we passed by The Grove golf course the sun was coming out and the players on the tee nearest the canal proffered a cheery wave. All was going well until just before the Hunton Bridge locks when a pedestrian warned us that "there was no water in the canal". As an optimist I am inclined to take this sort of statement with a pinch of salt, but in this case she was absolutely right. The pound between locks 72 and 73 was not just low but dry. It was clear that our morning's good  progress was at an end and we were were in for a serious delay.  It was also obvious that there was no point in just filling the pound using the usual method because we had no idea if their was underlying problem, of if raising paddles would cause more problems.

There was also no obvious cause for the water loss because all paddles and gates were in place. It was clear we were the first to arrive at the incident so I phoned up CRT for help. They sent Paul whose first reaction was a welcoming "oh no not again!". It appears the gates on Hunton Bridge Bottom lock are a known issue since both sets can sit awkwardly and there some underlying problems with the chamber of the bottom lock. Paul's best guess was one set of gates might have been left ajar.

The key to solving the problem was simply refilling it with water, but as Paul pointed out, it had to be done gently and slowly to avoid detritus flowing down the cut and jamming the gates and causing even more problems. The condition of the gates also had to be checked. All-in-all it took a couple of hours to get us back on track going south.

A full pound!
We finally go going around 11:00 and had a delightful cruise down through Cassiobury Park, Watford and Rickmansworth. The latter was very full of moored boats with no space for visitors from Batchworth to Stockers locks. We finally stopped for the night at Black Jack Mill Lock. Tomorrow we strike out for Brentford but it might rain in the afternoon.