Category Archives: Wendover Arm

Lunch Break. 15th July

Cowroast Marina to Tring Reservoirs, Marsworth

Goodbye to the lines of boats

Car returned, water filled, Tilly’s pooh box had a refresh, more loads of washing and drying done, we did manage to break into our £5 credit, but have left a generous amount for the next visiting boat. Push back was a little late, after midday and it took a little bit of time to get out from our mooring and wind to face the entrance/exit back out onto the Grand Union to do a right to head north.

The summit cutting

Long lines of boats to pass. Then into the summit cutting. Big puddles on the towpath would require wellies to pass through and the brambles were still all in flower, sun doesn’t get into the cutting much.

Outside number 1, just for lunch though

It started to rain and we wanted a break before arriving at the top of the Marsworth flight so we pulled in. If the Wendover Arm was navigable to the winding hole we’d have headed there for some much needed shore leave for Tilly, but stop planks mean a long reverse when you come to leave at the moment, so we opted for the cutting. Tilly checked the lay of the land, TREES! Friendly cover! Can I ? Can I??? We consulted with each other, ‘An hour Tilly, it’s only a lunch break’. If she got busy it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we stayed put for the day, it would just be quite dark.

She did get busy for about an hour and a half, so when she returned the doors were closed so we could carry on. As we pushed off a boat could be seen approaching. Would we have a locking partner? I hoped so.

Getting in the way!

More boats were moored towards Bulbourne, three in the winding hole! The breasted up pair would be very popular of you were wanting to turn a 70fter!

Wonder how long the white tiles will stay so bright

The building works at the old workshop/yard have now been completed, plenty of garden furniture about the place. The row of new houses at the rear have a monobrow look to them, but on the hole it all looks rather nice.

No-one following and no volunteers sadly

As I hobbled up to fill the lock a dog walker came past, ‘They’re all empty apart from one!’ The lock took a while to fill, all the time we watched over our shoulder to see if we’d have a locking partner, but no one arrived, we’d be on our own.

Normally here I’d set a lock, open it and Mick would bring Oleanna in closing the gate behind him, then he’d lift a paddle to start emptying it whilst I walked on ahead to lift a paddle at the next lock down, returning to open and close gates for him. This was not going to be possible today, it was to be one lock at a time due to my knee.

Temporary beam repairs

Mick closed the offside paddle for me and then we progressed down to the next lock. I took the walk slowly, but when crossing the gates to lift the offside paddle a twinge that’s been developing in the calf on my bad leg decided to escalate itself into a seriously big OW! No choice now I’d have to be at the helm. Actually I should have been there from the start of the flight, but I’m stupidly stubborn like that.

Mick took over with the windlass and we worked one lock at a time down hill, a different view from onboard. Rain showers came and went, the locks gradually filling themselves as we worked our way down. There are several lock beams that have had the temporary fix done to them, wonder if they will be replaced during winter this year?


Quite a few boats were moored alongside the lakes, there was a big gap, white signs on posts putting people off mooring. I zoomed in, a fishing day on the 20th we could pull in. So we tucked ourselves in behind the Toblerhome boat (one of my favourites). Mick spent a while trying to find somewhere not too stonelike to hammer the spikes into and Tilly was given an hour and a quarter shore leave.

It has a lot of pawtential !

The bank was good, good friendly cover. A pounce within two minutes. A few too many woofer walkers, the roof was handy at times. A touch of self catering was achieved, when I returned for some ‘Thank you for coming home’ Dreamies Tom closed the door, I’d apparently had enough and he didn’t ‘want to have to wash the floor like She had the other day!’

A rainy night. The TV volume required turning up a LOT. Rain bounced in through the mushroom vents and a trickle of water appeared down the inside of the stove flue, it’s not done that since it was moored up in Goole for winter. The first episode of The Jetty was watched, we had to pause it so as to identify which lock Jenna Coleman lived alongside. Lob Mill Lock 16 on the Rochdale where we were accompanied by two cocky ducklings earlier this year.

6 locks, 3.6 miles, 1 car returned, 1 wind, 1 right, 1 full water tank, 1 clean pooh box, 2 outsides, 2 more DofE groups, 1 very troublesome leg, 1 solution required, 1 sock nearly finished, 1 very HEAVY rain STORM! 2 Mrs Tilly stamps of approval, 0 thumbs required, the internet is quite pants though!

After a request from Mike on NB Duxllandyn we shall be keeping the thumbs up for TV signal. There will also be, if I remember, an ‘i‘ to indicate how good the internet is at each mooring. Upright, good. Side ways, slow. Upside down, rubbish or none existent (we’re unlikely to be stopping here in future!). These of course are valid for our set up with our aerial and router on the EE network. Other networks may differ in signal.

Eleven In A Lock. 19th June

Little Tring Bridge to Berkhamsted Top Lock 53

With the possibility of more rain today we popped on our waterproofs, trousers at hand should the need arise. The going was slow back along the arm and just when we’d given up hope of company from our fishing friend it reappeared.


Another 50 odd photos trying to get one really good one, but terns swoop and dip and dive so quickly it was really hard to keep up with it. One failed dive brought a loud skwark! Bit a few moments later the dip into the water was far more fruitful as it came back out with it’s mouth full of silver fish. This morning we’d seen a much bigger fish swimming past the moored boats, getting on for 18inches long, too much of a mouthful for a tern.

This is the towpath side

Newish signs warn of a submerged ledge. The one on the way out doesn’t give any indication of where the shelf might be, at least the one on the way back does mention the offside!

I walked up to the bow to act as look out at Bulbourne Junction, nobody coming so we could swing out and return to our route southwards a couple of groups of trainee canoeists slowing our progress.

The development at Bulbourne Wharf has come on in the last couple of years. A new house stands elevated at the end of the plot followed by the old warehouse and workshop buildings all now with new upvc windows that mimic the original metal frames. A block of new builds stands at the back of the plot, still some way to go before they are inhabitable.

The road and towpath are closed by Bulbourne Bridge 133, a new footbridge is being built alongside the road bridge. The bank is being reinforced and so is the edge of the road, a diversion whilst the work is ongoing is through the pub garden.


As we made our way along the tree filled cutting to Cowroast we joined the weekly Geraghty Zoom. Birthday cakes, armless tennis players and flamingos were todays topics, hope Penelope’s 2nd Birthday party went well.

Life raft

At Cowroast we took advantage of the towpath being on the portside and emptied the yellow water for disposal at the elsan. Another boat had just finished filling with water so we could share the lock. The chap was a single hander who’s knees had known better days so he preferred to pull his boat out of the locks rather than climb back down.


We shared Cowroast and the two Dudswell Locks with him, he was gradually making his way to Berko in time to see the two Mikron shows in a few weeks time at the Rising Sun. So he would pull up somewhere in the pound to Northchurch Lock. He must have found space as we took our time setting the lock and he didn’t show.

All locks so far down from the summit are to be left empty, whether this is to stop water leaking through the walls into nearby properties, or the top gates seal better than the bottom ones who knows, but it does mean that the locks are set against you, all requiring to be filled.

Look how clear that water is

A pump pumped out clean clean water just above the lock, here the greenery on the canal bottom could be seen clearly. As we set the lock Mum and Dad brought their teenage offspring over to say hello, eight cygnets all now with necks long enough to feed from well below the waters surface.

They then stopped pulling at the weed and sat waiting patiently for the gates to open. Oh blimey, they were here for a free ride down the lock! Mick tried throwing fake bread which distracted them towards the stern of Oleanna. I opened the gate, hoping we’d managed to get them far enough away, but no such luck they easily beat Oleanna into the lock. Thankfully the locks are long enough to accommodate ten swans and a narrowboat!

The gate was closed behind everyone and I slowly opened the bottom gate paddles, taking our time keeping everyone safe. Our passengers became impatient as the last foot of water dropped. As soon as the gate opened they were straight out, a quick head count, ten, all were accounted for before I let the gate go into the recess. Swan noises came from below, were they ‘Thank you‘ s or ‘About Bloomin time!’ ?

Guard Dragon

The house with the garden gate made of branches has a friendly dragon keeping an eye on the towpath and a bunny sits high up for safety.

With all the locks being left empty it means paddles are left up at the bottom end which need closing before you can start to fill a lock. At the two Gas Locks they were both empty, I could see people at the second one so I pushed the bottom gate open at our lock and let Mick know a boat was coming up. I then walked down to see if I could lend a hand.

Bow hauling into the lock

A cruiser was being pulled into the lock, the chamber was then filled as the lightweight boat bobbed about. The chap then started to pull the boat out from the lock. ‘You’ve got a quiet engine there’, a comment we quite often receive, but this chaps engine was so quiet, it was absent and currently in Rickmansworth being mended. So he was bow hauling his boat up the two locks to the next mooring, to get away from the park and most probably make his 14 day move. He said he’d be back for his other boat a 70fter he’d just bought, also without an engine!

In the top lock, cruiser being pulled along the side of a widebeam

At the second lock there was extra crew, a young lad eager to help open gates. We all let him push the gate on his own, the other being opened by two, blimey he was strong and beat the others to have his gate fully open.

Our turn now, Mick moved Oleanna out of the way for the chap to pull the cruiser out of the lock. As we started our descent the chap could be seen walking along peoples gunnels pulling his boat to get to the next available space.

A narrowed bridge hole

Footbridge 140A is covered in scaffolding. The towpath has been built out over the canal using temporary pontoon sections. The astro turf on the surface squelched as I walked on it after yesterdays rain. There was plenty of space on the 4hr shopping mooring, so we made use of it for lunch and a top up shop from Waitrose. We managed to time our visit well to coincide with the next round of reductions of the ‘Sad Git’ items. When we were in Newark one winter we got to know the best time to shop at Waitrose and ended up having bargain shops along with free newspapers quite frequently.

This must be the chaps

There was a space towards the next lock, so we pushed off and claimed our space. This end of the moorings has less footfall and is sheltered somewhat from the trains whizzing through Berko station.

new 70fter!

Tilly headed out to explore the narrow strip of friendly cover, although the local birdies weren’t too impressed with her presence! She spent most of her time sitting on the stern watching the world go by. That was until we heard a lot of SHOUTING from a lady who obviously had a dog. The dog had spotted Tilly and thought she looked tasty! Tilly started to puff herself up to be threatening back. But that SHOUTING She kept SHOUTING and SCREAMING at her woofer, so noisy! I decided to protect my precious hearing and retire inside at speed. One needs to keep one’s hearing in good order for hearing friends in the friendly cover.

Propy bits for the model

7 locks, 7.01 miles, 1 tern turning, 1 empty wee tank, 1 Mikron fan, 11 in a lock, 2 engineless boats, 1 handy pole, 4hr shopping spot, 2 wrens, 1 big ginger disobedient woofer, 1 very loud She, 2 hours model making the last bits, I hope.

Fret! Breach 53. 18th June

Little Tring Bridge

We’d had intentions to move today, not far but at least across the summit pound to Cowroast. However when we woke and checked the forecast we decided that we’d rather not get totally and utterly soaked. There wasn’t even a window in the rainfall that we could see, so instead we decided to stay put for the day.

Mid June!

The temperature had dropped overnight, at first this was a lovely relief as it had become so muggy. Long trousers were needed followed by jumpers, in fact by the afternoon Mick had lit the stove to drive off the chill that torrential rain brings.

Mick did us a small cooked breakfast with what was to hand. The last two eggs were poached in our poach pods, a little bit of rapeseed oil in them to stop the eggs from sticking. Mushrooms, tomatoes, my last slice of Gf bread from the freezer. I also insisted on hash browns, just because Karen had asked about them the other day.

Eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and hash brown

Hash Browns for 2

Wash a medium sized potato, don’t bother peeling it but grate it into a t-towel using the big holes on your grater. Grate about a third of a small onion (if you are called Joa you should omit the onion) into the t-towel too. Wring out as much moisture as you can. Add about a third of a beaten egg, just enough to help things stick together without getting too eggy. A good grind of salt and pepper. Mix well, then cook in a frying pan with a little rapeseed oil (other oils are available). Mick tends to make one big cake cooking it for about 7 mins on each side so that it has a good colour to it and is cooked through. Then it is my job to eat it. Yum.

Make it stop

Tilly was given 9.5 hours, but she wasn’t interested, I think all day she only just managed to step off the boat for a couple of minutes. But she did sit out the back under the shelter of the pram cover watching the steam rising off the canal. In Scarborough we’d call this Fret. The canal has obviously warmed up and the drop in temperature made it steam all day long. It’s the kind of steam you can put your hand out and touch.

Frey drifting by

The other day I’d had a modified idea for the Town Square for panto, today I was determined to see if it was a good idea and bring a touch more green into the opening scene. I liked the shape of the buildings and know that the build will have been priced up on the drawings I’ve already submitted, so I did my best to keep the existing shapes, changing the roof for foliage and the timber into plant stems giving them a touch more of an organic feel. Tomorrow I’ll put them in the model box with everything else to see if they work, but I’m liking the look of them so far.

Mick sat listening to the Women’s Test Match for much of the morning until rain stopped play. He should really have been out with the soft brush giving the cabin sides a good clean down. The port side will have had an extra rinse today. I suspect that the starboard side will now look even worse than it did before despite the almost continuous downpours all day.

Maybe it’s a bit better now

In the C&RT update email this evening they have covered the stoppages around Selby. Tankards Bridge on the Selby Canal is still closed to boats over 7ft high, a road closure will be needed for them to mend the bridge and as yet the Council has not granted one due to work on going on the A19 nearby and the road being used as an alternative root.

Then there is Selby Swing Bridge. From the update it still looks like C&RT are seeking a road closure here too after an over weight lorry crossed the bridge doing no good to the bearings. There may be more news locally from Nigel the Lock Keeper.

With regard to the Aire and Calder breach, there wasn’t anything new in the update. However the local MP has been to the site. The second layer of piling is now complete and the area above the drain has recently had new concrete has been added where the wooden shuttering is behind Andrew Percy. Gradually over the next month tests will be done increasing the water level in the cofferdam. Fingers crossed the big hole is now fixed and there are no more set backs. He does also mention the sections of collapsed bank caused by the low water levels since the breach. C&RT have told him they are not immediately serious and will need addressing over the next year or so.

In other news, there is now the second part of Heather’s trip taking her up to Beverley on the Scholar Gypsy blog here’s a LINK

Last of the quiche

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 very wet day, 1 inch extra of water, 1 stove lit, 1 work day, 3 town houses rethought, 2 minutes shore leave taken, 0 quiche left.

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.

Adjusting The Squelch. 7th April

*This post was superseded by A Glimmer Of Hope yesterday*

Panto spiky trees

Whilst waiting for news regarding the breach and possible escape from Goole we’ve not been idle. Well I say we, but in regards to boaty things Mick has been the busy one whilst I’ve been working painting my panto model.

Town Square buildings

On our last visit to Oleanna we brought back the life jackets. These were in need of a service, in fact a year overdue. Last time we paid for them to be checked over to much consternation from readers. This time Mick followed instructions on Youtube.

He checked for any damage, wear and tear. Weighed the gas bottles. Checked the dates on the firing mechanisms. Blew the whistles. Inflated them and left them overnight (well a couple of days) to check they remained inflated.

New firing mechanisms

A couple of the firing mechanisms had a few months left on them and Mick had broken one of the clips that is used to indicate that a firing mechanism has been manually fired. The green clip obviously needed replacing so it was worth getting a couple of new mechanisms.

When they arrived the oldest dated mechanisms were swapped out for the newest and put into the jackets we use the most, these will last us till 2024. The middle aged ones were put in our two spare jackets, these will last till December 2022. The oldest ones we are keeping as spares and run out in February 2022.

All rolled and folded how it should be

The next job was to fold and roll the jackets back up into the covers. This is possibly the hardest part of the servicing. But they are all done and in the crate ready to be returned to Oleanna on our next visit.

Next was the VHF radio. We bought our hand held radio a few years ago and use it to listen in to the big ships around Goole and when we are on tidal waters. You should have your radio licenced and have completed a course to use it. Mick has been meaning to do the course for a number of years but had never got round to it, I suspect like many others. My sister-in-law had looked into it for his birthday last year, but it was going to cost too much.

With the only way out of Goole for the next few months being through the docks to Ocean Lock and down onto the tidal Ouse (when/if ABP allow leisure craft), we have decided the cost of the VHF course and test would be worth doing. ABP normally require leisure boats to have two crew, life jackets and a VHF radio. Should the chance arise to be able to pen down onto the Ouse we’d rather meet all the criteria.

Tilly assisting with panto

The RYA VHF/SRC (Short Range Certificate) Marine Radio Course can be done online for £75. Then the test costs £60 on top. Mick contacted Scarborough Yacht Club to see if they were running the courses and test. This was possible, although the test would have to wait until after April 12th and would be done on a one to one basis at the Yacht Club at Scarborough lighthouse.

Handbook included in the course

Once the course fee was paid a chap popped the handbook through our front door the following day and Mick was ready to do the course. The course takes around 10 hours and Mick has worked his way through doing all the modules in the last week. Before he books for the exam I’m going to look at the course too. Should we be in an emergency situation and Mick not be able to use the radio, I would at least know what to do.

Once the exam is passed Oleanna and her crew will meet all the criteria that ABP require, if this also means that we can cruise as a flotilla with other boats who haven’t got VHF all the better.

*Sadly later in the day Mick received an email saying that as Scarborough Yacht Club building would remain closed until 17th May, exams would not be possible until after that date.

A few days ago marked our 7th anniversary of being boat owners. Today marks our 4th anniversary of the three of us moving onboard Oleanna in Sheffield. So I’d best do a Where Were We

Where were we

2020 Lockdown Mooring 3, Calveley, Shropshire Union Canal. LINK

2019 Above Lemonroyd Lock, Aire and Calder Navigation. LINK

2018 Stourport, Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and Beverley. LINK

2017 Victoria Basin, Sheffield and Tinsley Canal and Crick Marina, Leicester Line. LINK

2016 Bulbourne Junction, Grand Union Canal. LINK

2015 Kingswood Junction, Stratford Canal. LINK

2014 Bugbrooke, Grand Union Canal. Sorry no link, we were on too much of a mission to write a blog. But we did get Lillian off the River Nene where her EA licence had run out and up the Northampton Flight, her first narrow locks.

A touch more panto

All Of North London. 23rd June

Wendover Arm to Cow Roast

Mick thought it best for us to move today to be closer to Cow Roast for tomorrow morning. This would save us an hour or so cruise time before checking into the marina for a couple of nights.

Winding at the end

After breakfast we winded only disturbing three fisherpeople and made our way back to Bulbourne Junction. A day boat was already out and about, not going quite so speedy as the one yesterday thank goodness. However meeting another boat on such a shallow stretch meant we had to pull right over the bottom of Oleanna scrapping on the bottom and us listing until she found enough water again.

I stayed below to get on with some work. The date for my next meeting has been set and there’s is quite a bit to do along with cruising down to London with constant locks. I’ve also had a request from the Production Manager to send her the model so that she can show it to some builders for quotes.


So today I made sure I put everything together, made notes of what still needs doing, took photos, checked my sketch drawings making note of any changes so that I can work on these whilst the model is away. Then anything I could scan was scanned. If the postal service lets us down I need to have enough information to be able to recreate the model. Maybe it would just be easier to take the model myself to the meeting, but this week has got busy and the meeting is in Bristol.

Mick turned us back onto the main canal at the junction and then cruised us along the summit pound. To me there seemed to be more boats moored up, some breasted up, but maybe that was just a distorted view from below.

A shaded cruise

For a summit pound there isn’t much to look at as the majority of it is along a cutting. Trees blocking out much of the light for most of the way. Mick hoped for a space as close to the marina as possible, but he overshot and ended up having to reverse back for a space.

The towpath is narrow and quite busy here, a vast contrast to the Wendover Arm. This afternoon we must have had every single north London child under the age of eleven come past, there was a constant stream for over an hour. Most were very polite, but we did get a tap on the windows and one lad shouting in at us. Not bad going really.

A cuff for me

0 locks, 4.23 miles, 1 right, 1 shady summit, 1 overshot mooring, 1 shoe box full of panto, 1 feline assistant overstepping the mark, 1 very hot and humid grey day.

With the aerial on top of the pram cover

Terns Taking Turns. 22nd June

Grand Junction Inn to Little Tring Bridge, Wendover Arm, Grand Union Canal

Bye bye Tyseley, see you down the way

A load of washing was set going before we pushed off today. Still heading southwards we cruised through Bulbourne Bridge and pulled up at the water point. Here we filled the tank as the washing machine did it’s thing. Then we winded at the handy ‘Winding Area’ (as they are now known on new blue signs) and headed northwards.

All ready for redevelopment

The old Bulbourne BW yard is fenced off, along the canalside from the road and surrounding area. Here lock gates uses to be made until 2003 when modern mechanised methods and bad vehicle access meant that production moved to Stanley Ferry and Bradley. The yard and it’s surrounding buildings since then have been used by a metal worker, who’s creations used to add interest, large horses and benches filling the canal side of the yard. But now everywhere is boarded up, it looks like some developers are about to move in.

A C&RT document about the future of Bulbourne is here. I’m not sure when it was written but it details the site. H2O Urban has details of a development on the site here. Four buildings will be converted into 25 new homes, a new footbridge and a new yard for C&RT. Works were meant to start last month on site and a website for the development is being set up here.

Left please

We pootled back to the junction where we turned to the left just above the locks. Here the Wendover Arm heads off in a south westerly direction. Back in February 2015 we came down here on Lillian. The navigable section is only around a mile and a half long with a winding hole and 48hr mooring at the end. The going is slow, very slow, most probably slower than it was on Lillian.

Toot Toot
Perfect timing

Originally the arm was built as a feeder for the summit pound, this was then widened to make it navigable. This however leaked and was shut off with stop planks. A hundred years later Phase 1 of the restoration plan was finished giving us what is navigable today. Phase 2 is ongoing with the aim of linking Wendover to the main network.

About to dive

Along the slow mile we were followed closely by Terns. They took it in turns to hover behind us waited to catch a glimpse of a silvery fish in the water. Dropping from the sky to the water they hoped to catch a tasty morsal. Each turned their backs on us, so we couldn’t see if they had been successful of not. Quite a sight.

Going down

We pulled in just before the last bend where several fishermen had taken up residency, a day boat having just winded and was heading back waited for us to tie up. There was another boat before the bridge and one right at the end of navigation, but here it felt like we were on our own, all be it with a noisy mower going back and forth in the garden next door.

Which one?

The sun was out, our windows and hatches all open. Tilly spent seven hours exploring and wondering why we weren’t out playing. Well that’s because we’d come down here for some peace and quiet away from the main canal so that I could get some work done over the next couple of days.

Late afternoon Oleanna bumped the side, someone was coming. Ten minutes later a day boat filled with chaps zoomed past us, bumping us into the side, thankfully Tilly wasn’t peering in through the hatch at the time! Very soon afterwards they zoomed back , not quite as fast as before, they hadn’t had long enough since doing a hand break turn to get up to speed again!

0 locks, 1.85 miles, 1 wind, 1 left, 1 load washing dried and put away, 3 terns, 1 heron, 1 canal being topped up, 1 traction engine, 2 more boats, 5 fishermen, K2 or K6? 4 pieces of car, 7 hours, 1 friend rescued, 1 very sunny day, 1st cuff knitted.