Monday, 8 September 2014

Home Counties Cruise: Day 3

It's been like a proper summer day today -- sunshine all day, and very warm at times.  Last night, after moving over to the towpath side, I went up to City Road Lock to help lock through the many boats leaving the festival.  Adrian moved us back a bolloard so an arriving boat had time to moor.  We were disinclined to cook, so ate at The Narrowboat, where the food was excellent.

This morning, we wondered why we appeared to be scraping against the concrete side of the canal.  It turned out the level of the pound had dropped by several inches.  We set off at around 8am, and some of the boats moored further along were at very jaunty angles.  There were nice reflections in the calm conditions.

There are boats everywhere all along the Regent's Canal -- far more than when we were last here three years ago.  But there were plenty of double mooring opportunities along Victoria Park.  When we got to Old Ford Lock, we located the water point above the lock and started filling the tank.  We hadn't topped up since High Line more than a week ago, so we knew it could take a while.  But as we also needed to do washing, we started a load at the same time.  It was a fairly slow tap, so we probably ended up taking out as much as we put in.  A boat which came up the lock also wanted water, so moored behind us to wait.  We lasted about 45 minutes before getting bored, disconnecting the hosepipe, and going down the lock.

Just below the lock is the right angle turn into the Hertford Union Canal.  Adrian was at the helm and got through very cleanly, although he was annoyed not to have done it quite in one.

We did the three Hertford Union locks; what's quite nice is that all the locks in this area have a sign with their name, plus the postcode -- so we could see that we'd been moving through a seemingly random series of E numbers.  At the end of the Hertford Union, we turned left onto the Lee Navigation.  Off to the right, there's a great view of the Olympic Stadium.

We were now on new water to us.  Actually, the first mile or so wasn't quite new, as we walked up it once and met Indigo Dream for the trip back to Limehouse.

There's no Pearson's Guide covering the Lee and Stort, so we're using the Nicholson's.  I'm constantly surprised that so many people prefer the Nics -- and Tottenham Lock was an example of why.  There are two locks, one manual and one electrified.  Nicholson doesn't mention any of this.  Naturally, we stopped one side, and found the mechanised lock was the other side.  Above the lock, there are some very large boats, with people working inside.

At Stonebridge Lock, there was much CRT activity.  The hydraulics on one of the bottom paddles had failed, and they were sorting it out.  A boat was just going up, and the CRT guys then emptied the lock for us with the one operational paddle, and were using a chain mechanism to put the hydraulics back into place.  By the time we'd risen in the lock the hydraulics were back in, and everything was being put back together.

The boat ahead had waited for us at the next lock, Pickett's, which turned out to be a single lock, and entirely manual.  Ponder's End, though, was paired with one electrifed, and just needing the pressing of buttons.

Neither of us really knew what to expect of the Lee Navigation.  It turns out to be very green, and surprisingly countrified.  Lots of the length has light industry on one side, power lines running alongside, and the high banks of reservoirs on the other side.

By the time we got to Enfield, we'd moved into the old county of Middlesex.  By now, we'd come to the conclusion to expect the unexpected at the locks.  There might be one or two, they might be electric or not, and now they had electric bottom gates, but everything else was manual.  Even our locking partners, who moor on the Stort, didn't seem entirely sure what to expect at each lock.  Just after Rammey Marsh Lock, we passed under the M25.

The final lock of the day was Waltham Town, and we moored just above, adjacent to the Lee Valley White Water Centre.  It was gone 5pm by the time we moored -- a proper day's boating!  Hertfordshire is on our left, while Essex is on the right.

15 miles, 12 locks.  (20 miles, 17 locks)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to seeing you White Water Rafting.
Bob June and Jimmy