The Sandwich Dive. 17th June

Seabrook Lock 35 to Little Tring Winding Hole, Wendover Arm

Back to the alarm being set at the new normal time this morning. As we had breakfast we could hear water cascading over the lock gates this meant a boat was heading down the lock above, brilliant the next two locks would be set for us.

Seabrook Lock 35

Well that’s what we thought the last time we moored here, two years ago when we were waiting to accompany NB Tyseley up to the summit pound! Several boats beat us to the lock that day, but today no one came past. Brilliant.

I walked up to open the gates, hang on! It’s full, very full!?! Nobody had come past us, so how had that happened? Oh well, I emptied the lock and then we brought Oleanna up. Lock 36 was also full. This puzzled us as the lock had remained empty overnight, the only explanation I could think of was that the towpath grass cutters were out, two strimmers and a lawn mower. The grass had been cut on the off side of the second lock, maybe for safety the chaps fill the lock before trimming the grass. It’s not as far to fall when full.

Does all that grass need to be cut?

The large expanse of grass alongside lock 36 was getting a very good trim. I thought the chap would stop once he’d gone behind the bench, then carry on down the towpath to lock 35. New cutting regimes have been put into practice along certain stretches of the canal. Some places now only the towpath, lock and bridge landings and moorings get cut, leaving stretches of wild flowers to grow to their hearts content.

Wading through long damp grass isn’t that pleasant, but surely on such a large expanse by this lock they could have cut by the lock and bench, then a wide strip for the path, leaving the rest to nature. Sadly no, it all had to be cut.

Is that the tip of the cat’s tail or just bird poo?

In the past there have been a couple of boats along here, but today just about every spot was taken. Is this down to more boats on the waterways? More boats having moved out from London over the last 18 months? Who knows but there is a marked increase.

Seabrook Swing Bridge

The swing bridge swung without too much bother, then we dipped under the railway past Pitstone Wharf. Mick had collected together our rubbish on the back deck so I got ready to hop off at the next bridge to dispose of it. We quite often see photos of bins overflowing with rubbish on social media and people complaining about them.


Today we were confronted with not just a mountain of rubbish but a whole mountain range! There was more rubbish on the floor surrounding the bins than they could hold twice over! Don’t people realise that Biffa are very unlikely to empty these bins in this state. Usually this means that a C&RT employee, who could be out working on navigational things, will have to come and remove the excess rubbish. Yes these bins are situated where none boaters can add to the mountain, they most probably do, but there is no need for more to be added to the pile. A tweet with photo was sent to C&RT saying we hoped we’d find emptier bins ahead of us. Later in the day I got a reply saying the local team would deal with it, they also gave me a link to a map showing all their facilities across the network, useful if you don’t have Waterway Routes.


We waved to the people who now own the Margees house on the bend and carried on to the two Marsworth Lower Locks. We came up the first one to see a boat entering the lock above, so we opened the gates and waited for them to descend, I walked up to lend a hand as one of the top gates just wants to stay open.

Waiting for the next lock to empty

The chap up the top lifted a paddle and their boat started to descend, their engine wasn’t on and someone was reaching down into the weedhatch. The paddle was closed and we waited for the prop to have been cleared before emptying the lock.

The pretty cottage

By Bridge 130 the bins were in a much better state, so we hovered and disposed of our small mountain of rubbish before stopping at the wharf to top up the water tank and dispose of the yellow water at the elsan.

Left at the junction and we were soon at the bottom of the Marsworth flight. Volunteers were apparently on duty up the locks today, so we’d have help.

Lock 39 the bottom of the flight

No sign of anyone until we were rising in the second lock, I could see blue t-shirts and red life jackets ahead, great they’d set the next lock for us. They waited quite sometime to do this, but eventually the gates opened.

NO blue skies today, just heavy skies

The two chaps were chatty, worked the locks their way one offering to give me a break. I suspect he needed a break more than I did, I wonder how many locks they get to work on their average day?

Lock 42

With walkie talkies you would have thought they would be quite organised, but the conversations just seemed to confuse matters. Should we wait for a boat two locks behind us? One was coming down, would we meet in the next pound, at the next lock? No the lockie above would make the down hill boat wait and empty the full lock in front of him for us. There must have been a reason for this, but none we could think of.

Passing by

A chap above was just starting to fill lock 44, saw us and closed the paddles, we could fill the lock for him. It turns out it was a boat we’d shared some of the Leicester Section locks with a few years ago NB Old Tom North. The volunteers left us to do the top lock on our own and shifted their assistance to the chap heading down the flight.

Lock 45 the top and summit

We’d thought of heading to Cowroast today, still ahead of schedule. But would there be any moorings free. Instead we both had the same idea, we’d turn right and go down the Wendover Arm for the night.

Blimey considering we’d come from the huge expense of the Ouse at Goole we were now finding our way along the narrow shallow channel.

Breath in!

A Sandwich Tern took advantage of us churning the water up.

It’s following us

It followed us closely, hovering by our stern. The when a glint of a possible fish appeared it swooped down to the waters surface.

Has it spied something?

I tried to film it, but it moved far too quickly and my camera had no idea what it should focus on.


Fortunately I did manage to get several photos of it just about in focus.

Back for more

Boats were moored before the bridge and then at the winding hole, but the short straight length of bank was still free. Spikes were hammered into the dried out towpath and Tilly was set free to explore, although she wasn’t too enamoured. Well it was boring the last time you tied this outside up!

An afternoon of making model dressing bits. Working out how to make a wheelbarrow took some doing, a trestle table was much easier although I had to convince it to stay in one piece before I could chat to the Scarborough Chums on zoom.

Better look as though I’m enjoying myself!

In other news, there is now the first part of Heather’s trip to Hull on the Scholar Gypsy blog here’s a LINK

12 locks, 4.38 miles, 1 left, 1 right, 2 locks full, 3 walkie talkies, 1 wasted lock, 1 contract, 1 sandwich, 1 quiche, 1 muggy day, 4 light showers in the evening.