Watford Gap, of course. We came through this centuries-old route today, climbing the Watford flight of locks. The low saddle between rising ground to the east and west has seen the Saxons, Romans, canal navvies, railway engineers and motorway builders. All taking advantage of an easy route north to south, or vice-versa.
We left our mooring near the junction at around 10:15, in dull and misty weather. Under Bridge 10 a hard left turn took us off the Grand Union main line and onto the Leicester Line.
Bridge 1, Leicester Section/Line/Branch of the Grand Union Canal
We reached the bottom of the Watford Locks after about an hour, and were delighted to see no queue, just one boat filling with water after coming down.
Bottom of Watford Locks
Booking in, the lock-keeper told us to wait for one descending boat then to go straight on up. Excellent!
The Watford Locks consist of two single chambers at the bottom, a staircase of three chambers in the middle topped off by another single. So there’s usually a lockie in attendance in the “season” to organise things.
Having left the second of the lower two locks, Mags lines up for the bottom of the staircase.
Up the staircase
Each chamber leads directly into the one above, making a steep ascent in a short distance, but boats obviously can’t pass here. To save water side–ponds are utilised in a clever bit of hydraulic engineering.
Out of the top (single) lock
And that was it for the day, really. Just another ¼ mile and we pulled up, before Bridge 8. You can still hear the M1 from here, but it’s not too bad.
Tomorrow will be an even shorter day; just 2½ miles to Crick. Over a third of that will be spent in the damp darkness of Crick Tunnel.
Hi Steve and Ang. just 10 days eh (9 now, I guess). Bet you’re excited, but as you say, you’ll miss the hills. Coming from the Yorkshire Dales (a bit smaller, I know), I have to get my hill-walking fix when we pop home, or up on the Macc. I hope your new life is everything you expect, will look out for you on the cut. Enjoyed reading the blog so far, some sound advice there. Keep it up.
Locks 7, miles 3