Monday, July 06, 2009

Wet Locking at Watford

We didn’t go anywhere yesterday, I watched the tennis while Mags fed the local wildlife.

Moorhen with with a takeaway for the kids.
We were off this morning at 09:00, with just a short run of 45 minutes to Watford Locks. We decided to leave it till today, expecting yesterday to be busy. There were quite a few boats about in both directions, so it was probably a good move.

It took some getting going though, the pound had dropped over the last 24 hours, leaving us sat on the muddy bottom.

Water level spillway, high and dry by around 4”
We arrived at the bottom of the Watford flight, and pulled in behind another boat waiting to go up. This flight has a lock keeper on during busy periods, and you’re well advised to let him know you’re there, and to do what he tells you!
The boat in front went up the first lock, and was told to wait, and we waited at the bottom till a couple of boats had come down. Then, after about 45 minutes, it was all systems go.

Waiting at the bottom of Watford Locks.
The flight consists of 2 singles, a 4-rise staircase, then another single at the top. All these locks are narrow, only allowing passage of one boat at a time.

In the staircase.

We’d just got into the second of the singles when the heavens opened. In a matter of less than a minute we were both wet through as a heavy thunderstorm let go overhead. Mags dashed in to get a jacket, but I was already too wet to bother.
We continued up in a pretty quick time, arriving at the top just as the rain stopped and the sun came out.

Out at the top, 52’6” higher.
We’re now on the long summit pound, at 412 feet above sea level. At the other end is Foxton Locks.

The brisk breeze was blowing up more suspicious looking clouds, so I pulled in after about 15 minutes. It started to throw it down again before I got tied up, and the heavy thundery showers have continued all afternoon.
We’re across the water from a field full of sheep, with not much in the way of shelter. They’re looking pretty sorry for themselves.

Damp sheep

We’ll have to play it by ear tomorrow, we’re due some more showers, but it's likely we'll move on a bit further, out of earshot of the M1. It’s not too bad, but it is a continuous whisper in the background. Apart from that it’s not a bad spot.

Locks 7, miles 2½

1 comment:

Pip - nb Windsong said...

Hi Geoff and Mags
nice to see you yesterday, it's good when blogger-spotting is successful! Sorry we couldn't stop though - a narrow bridge, an on- coming boat, and pouring rain were the culprits! Hopefully we will cross paths again.

Pip & Roger - nb Windsong