Our 8 o’ clock start soon had us passing under the massive structure which supports the M25. We were only a few hundred yards from it last night and the noise levels certainly didn’t disturb us. Very early on we were delighted to pass nb ‘Bimble’ with Pete and Chris on board, who regularly read the blog and made encouraging noises for us to continue writing – thanks both of you and safe cruising.
Other stretches of the canal are very much in contrast to the concrete giant of the M25 – the water was unruffled as we were the first craft to enter its serenity.
We were soon caught up by Pauline and Neil on nb ‘Waterlily’, who we then cruised with for the rest of the day.
There’s a huge amount of work to be done at some stage to improve many of the locks. Apart from these couple of photos of the lock gates the main brickwork is getting very bad indeed.
Some of the gates resemble the Hanging Gardens of Babylon! Very pretty though.
We stopped for about an hour in Hemel Hempstead where Doug walked into the town and James did a bit of boat cleaning. While cleaning the roof and being away in a world of his own (quite normal) this beefy bloke riding a bike and wearing a black baseball cap and dark glasses screeched to a halt and quickly brought James back to reality by shouting “ you really should stop polishing that thing!”. It was Del from nb ‘Derwent 6’ out for a bike ride. It was a surprise and a delight to see him and we had a good chat before he went on his way. We’ll catch up with him and Al later this week we hope.
Back on the move again we experience an idyllic scene as we approach one of the many locks which keep popping up regularly.
‘Waterlily’ and ‘Chance’ in one of the Bourne End locks.
Lock 55, in the front garden of The Rising Sun, where a few of the customers helped lean against the gate arms for us.
A pretty approach to lock 56
Having reached Berkhamsted, where it seemed initially that space was at a premium, we found good moorings for us both just below lock 53. All it needed was to clear the area of duck droppings and we were all ship shape.
A short while after mooring up we were treated to a lovely sight, that of working boat ‘Clover’ pulling butty ‘Fazeley’ both literally loaded to the gunwales. The two boats crept past us with ‘Cowley’s’ engine at a tickover which you could count, and it’s great weight of an estimated 60 tons plus moved so much water that our pins strained in the ground – super stuff!
Later this evening we had another treat when John ( blogger ‘Halfie’) and Jan popped in to see us. We had a great evening getting to know them and there was a lot of interesting canal chat amongst other things.
Doug with Jan and John enjoying the coolness of the evening, after a very hot and humid day.