Thursday, June 18, 2009

End of the line on the Wendover Arm

It’s a lot cooler today, with a breeze from the south. Grey skies but no rain.
There’s a Texaco garage on the main road about 15 minutes away, with a strictly limited choice of groceries, but I was able to get a paper and some bread buns.

We pulled pins about 10:15, heading north along the short summit level. The canal runs through a cutting for about 1½ miles, before emerging into the open again at Bulbourne.

Tring summit level cutting.
We filled with water just before Bridge 133, with the pub on the road which is a reminder of the origins of this navigation.

The Grand Junction Arms

Immediately under the bridge the extensive moorings leading to Marsworth Top lock start, opposite the old BW lock gate workshops.

BW Bulbourne
The Wendover Arm comes in from the left, and this is where we turned off the main line.

Approaching Bulbourne Junction and the Wendover Arm. Marsworth Top Lock is just visible ahead.
The Wendover Arm was originally conceived as an unnavigable feeder, bringing water to the summit level from the Wendover area. But the plans were soon modified, making it wide enough for navigation. It was opened in 1797.
The current navigable length from the main line runs just 1¼ miles from the junction, ending at a winding hole just past bridge 3.

It’s narrow, shallow and overhung, and resembles the Montgomery Canal in many respects.

Passing Heygates animal feed mill.
Narrow and shallow…
The terminus winding hole and 48 hour moorings.
It didn’t take long for the local cap-in-hand brigade to find us!

The Arm is nearly 7 miles long, but is dry for a couple of miles above the current terminus, before becoming “wet” again after Drayton Beauchamp.
The water that it still supplies to the summit level is now piped directly to Tring reservoir, where it is pumped the last 25 feet up to supply the locks. Every time a boat passes across the summit it takes around 100,000 gallons of water.
The Wendover Arm Trust is the body that actively promotes restoration of the arm. It is due to their hard work that we’re able to get this far.
There look to be some pleasant walks in the area, around the reservoirs and along the line of the navigation. So I guess we’ll be staying here a couple of days…

I've added a "Where are we now" link on the right. It takes you to the Water Explorer website, with boat locations indicated on a google map.
Have a look if you've a good connection (or an hour or so to kill).

Locks 0, miles 3¾

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