Friday, 12 September 2014

Home Counties Cruise: Day 7

If yesterday was like autumn, today saw the return of summer.  It's been sunny and warm all day.  We set off at 8.15.  We had four remaining locks on the Stort, and had to turn all of them; of the 30 locks on this river, 25 have been against us.  At the junction with the Lee, we turned left, heading south.

At Broxbourne, we stopped at Lee Valley Boats for a pump out.  We had a wait a few minutes on the other side of the river while a couple of day boats were sent out.  They also hire rowing boats and little electric boats -- and apparently they're all out on summer weekends, with people queueing for a couple of hours to get one.  It must be chaos!  I turned the boat so the pump out point was on the correct side, and we had one of the most thorough pump outs ever -- very good value at £13.  We also changed a gas bottle while we were there.  As we were now facing the wrong way, we had to spin the boat to get on our way again.  Fortunately, the boat yard is at a big right angle turn in the navigation, and there's plenty of room.

We got down to just above Waltham Town Lock at about 1.30, and moored up in almost exactly the same place as on Monday.  We then walked up to the Lee Valley White Water Centre, which was built for the Olympics.  We had lunch in the cafe, and then watched the various groups heading down the long white water course.  There seemed to be lots of corporate groups in today, and some were better than others.  Most appeared to be having a great time.

They didn't all make it to the bottom in their boats.  We saw several groups come to grief, and either have to be fished out by the lifeguards, or make their way down to the bottom of the course to get out.

Once all the groups had had their hour and a half, the pumps were turned off, and the course drained down remarkably quickly.

The next groups were getting ready -- they have to show they're reasonably fit and can swim -- so we waited around to see the course re-watered.  Before long, a warning alarm sounded, and one by one the pumps fired up.  Within five minutes, the course went from virtually empty, to full and swirling.

Back at the boat, I got to work doing an oil change, as it was due and I wanted to have it done well before doing the tidal Thames on Sunday.  The oil filter was a devil of a job to unscrew, but eventually Adrian got it moving.  Having changed the oil, I also checked the air filter, and turned it round.

Our few days crossing back and forth over the Hertfordshire/Essex border are coming to an end.  Tomorrow it's back to Middlesex (if you think that still exists) and London.

9 miles, 10 locks.  (72 miles, 67 locks)

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