Recent Posts


Winkwell to Berkhamsted

The next leg of our journey would take us from Winkwell to Berkhamsted, a town that we had loved when we visited it in 2012 so it was a destination that we had been looking forward to revisiting. First though there was the small matter of eight locks to negotiate our way through. All was well until we reached the last pound below the town itself, we were warned by another boater that the pound was low and to stick to the centre of the channel. This we did but with a boat descending the lock above, we had to wait for them to come through. Two boats were moored below the lock, both listing heavily towards the middle of the canal. With Sue on the bank I floated between the two boats, waiting for the lock to empty. As soon as the water rushed out of the lock, the level in the pound rose quickly and the narrowboat behind me also rose. Clearly, its lines had been secured when the pound was on the low side so as it rose the lines tightened and first the stern pin was pulled out of the ground quickly followed by the centre pin. The water current immediately pulled the boat straight across the canal, blocking passage for the boat coming down. Caxton was unaffected except that I had to wait until the boat was re-moored by the lady from the boat descending the lock whose husband sat in the chamber until he had a clear passage through. Surprisingly, the pound above the lock was at a normal height so once we were through we made good progress to the water point where we filled our tank.

With the tank filled and all toilet cassettes emptied we were ready for our stay in Berkhamsted. Amazingly we yet again found a mooring in a place where we had tied up before (Harefield, Apsley and Winkwell being the others in recent weeks) opposite Castle Wharf.

When we stopped here before, we inadvertently wandered into the private garden of the house opposite. Having tied up and got ourselves ready to walk into town, Sue reacquainted herself with the owner and local celebrity councillor, Lindy.

Our stay in Berkhamsted (Berko to the boating fraternity) will be covered in the next post.

Apsley to Winkwell

We embarked on the next leg of our journey on Sunday, the day after our trip to London. We were still climbing as we have done since we left the Thames and despite the fact that there are many locks on this section of the Grand Union, we have plenty of time on our side so we are only travelling for two to three hours at a time covering two to three miles and working six or seven locks. Sunday was no exception and our target was to get above the swing bridge at Winkwell but first we had to get through the first lock and carry out the services. This we did and took advantage of the fact that we were inconveniencing no one by catching up with the laundry while filling with water.

Once serviced we were on our way again and continued with our journey uphill, a journey with very little to report except to say that the temperature rose quite quickly and we were glad that we didn’t have a long day of travelling to do. Eventually we reached the swing bridge near the Three Horseshoes at Winkwell and we were pleasantly surprised to see that we would be able to moor there with the bonus that the VM rings were well spaced for our boat. We quickly tied up, had lunch, got showered and changed before setting off up the hill to explore the village. The village turned out to be mainly housing served by a small central parade of shops but nevertheless a nice little enclave. By the time we returned to the canal, the pub had become very busy and the moorings had completely filled up so we sat on the front deck and lounged. Well we would have lounged except for the fact that Caxton was listing heavily to starboard caused by the lack of water in the pound and shallowness of the canal near the bank. The fat fenders had been deployed and the lines slackened but still we listed until every time that a boat came down through the lock above. I did quip that we were up and down like a …… ……. but the rest of the phrase isn’t really for publishing here. With Caxton having a crossway bed, we were prepared to sleep the opposite way to normal to avoid the dreaded early morning headache caused by sleeping with your head below the height of your body but by the time bedtime came around, the pound had risen and the bed was level.

By morning time, the pound had risen further and the boat was listing in the opposite direction but no matter, we were moving on anyway.