We stayed at Denham yesterday, as it was pretty damp and unsettled. The Country Park has a couple of rivers and several meres, and they were all quite full. The paths were waterlogged in places.
Woodland and water in Denham Country Park.
This morning was dry although overcast, and the forecast predicted rain in the afternoon, so we got away, intending to stop soon after noon.
But first I had to remove Monday's collection of prop rubbish.
View through the weed hatch.
Cygnets for breakfast
The first lock of the day was Widewater Lock, and it set the scene for the rest of the day. It was full, so set against us, and the top gates were open. Leaving the gates open when leaving the lock seems to be standard practice down here. I don’t feel comfortable doing this, so all the locks we left were closed up.
It’s a very attractive section of the canal. The river Colne flows in and out of the navigation on a couple of occasions, making a noticeable current to push against. The water is clear and clean, and smells “rivery”.
The river Colne.
There were several mills powered by the rivers along here. I imagine the proposal to “tame” the rivers and build the canal was met with dismay by the owners.
Black Jack’s Mill at the lock of the same name.
Mill workers cottages at Copper Mill Lock.
Swan family. Mum keeps a wary eye on the brood….
While Dad has a wash and brush up.
We stopped just short of Batchworth Locks, on the moorings directly outside Tesco’s, to top up the larder, then moved up to the locks.
There are 2 locks side by side here. The one on the left goes up on to the River Chess, on the right is the main navigation.
Here we met a party of schoolchildren, being looked after by members of the Rickmansworth Waterways Trust. Among other things they run a trip boat between Batchworth and Stockers locks, introducing the local kids to the canals.
The Trust also has a miniature canal system alongside the lock. Not in water today, unfortunately.
We’d intended to pull over soon after the lock, but the visitor moorings were pretty full, and there are long lengths of the towpath given over to permit holders moorings.
On the offside there are rows of houseboats. Long and short, wide and narrow, well maintained and downright decrepit.
Houseboats at Rickmansworth.
We tried and failed to get in after Lot Mead Lock, then the stretch from Common Moor Lock is edged by housing from Croxley Green, so we went up Cassio Bridge Lock and pulled in shortly after.
Since Batchworth we’ve lost the benefit of the fresh water coming in, so the canal has returned to it’s normal murky khaki colour.
We’ve cracked and lit the fire tonight. It’s no colder than it has been, but it’ll give us a chance to get our gear dry from this afternoon.
We would have been OK. Up until Batchworth Lock we’d only had a couple of light showers. But from there on the rain became steadier, with some really heavy bursts. Mags got through 2 coats on the tiller, Meg looked like a drowned rat, and I got a little damp too.
Locks 9, miles 8½