Friday, May 27, 2016

Nearly there...

Blogger seems to have thrown a bit of a wobbly again, so I couldn't post this  from Open Live Writer last night. Tried again today with the same result, so I've had to do it the hard way...

Only one more day’s cruise now to Bridgewater Basin near Watford. But we’re a little early as it turns out… Still it means that we can relax for a bit.

Tuesday we cruised through Hemel Hempstead, and very pleasant it was, too.

One of the Apsley Locks, top, middle or bottom, not sure which!

Apsley Marina

There are more and more wide-beam boats as we get further south. This one, though, is particularly wide!
Appropriately named, too! Thirteen and a half feet makes her a snug fit in these locks.

We dropped down Nash Mills Lock, then Red Lion Lock, pulling in not far below.

Nash Mills Lock.

The parish, between Apsley and Kings Langley, is known as Nash Mills, named for the mill that stood here alongside the River Gade, now the Grand Union Canal. A corn mill in the 11th century, it became a paper mill in the 19th. A regular coal run to the busy mill, owned by John Dickinson, kept the boats busy. Dickinson’s had several paper mills along here and down to Croxley Green. Dependent on water for both power and the pulping process they were built alongside the Rivers Gade and Bulbourne, but the natural watercourses were drawn on by the canal. Lock use led to the river levels dropping, to the detriment of the mills.
The canal company promised to build a reservoir to maintain a steady supply of water, but this didn’t materialise. Instead it was forced to pay Dickinsons and others huge amounts in damages, and to re-route a short section of canal that was notoriously leaky.
The new route, now following the course of the Gade for a short distance, actually benefitted Dickinson threefold. The mill now had sufficient water for it’s operations, the new route, following the river bed, passed right by the mill, reducing transport costs, and Dickinson was awarded the contract for building it! Triple whammy!

We took a day off yesterday. Well, a day off cruising, anyhow. No Problem’s old Eberspacher central heating boiler had gone terminal, so Sue had sourced a reconditioned Webasto to replace it. The afternoon was spent modifying the old installation to fit the Webasto, resulting in the satisfying roar of the thing firing up later in the afternoon.

Back on board Seyella and desperate for a shower after spending a couple of hours curled up in NP’s engine ‘ole, the domestic water pump packed up! It turned out to be the pressure switch being dodgy, after getting water in. I got it going again, but I’ve now a replacement on order. And I got my shower!

Today has been a lot warmer again after two chilly days. We had another short day, cruising to Hunton Bridge where, after several failed attempts, we managed to get Seyella close enough in to moor up.

Heading off this morning, towards Kings Langley

Kings Langley Lock, slow filling with no paddles in the new gates.

Home Park Lock, a beautiful setting

As we get nearer the densely populated south-east the main roads, towns and railways start to converge on the canal. The M25 is passed just before Abbots Langley. 

Under the M25

Inside the London Orbital now!

As I said, we pulled in near Hunton Bridge. As is becoming more of a problem with a shortage of dredging, our fairly deep draught means that although the fore-end is in, the stern often finishes up a foot of two from the bank. With the water levels going up and down an inch or two as the locks are used we can drift in when there’s depth, only to sit on the bottom when the pound drops again.

Remember the other day, near Little Heath? An ad-hoc affair witha mop handle? Well, the idea has developed, and here’s Mk II…

Two holes in the boarding plank, one to take a mooring pin, the other large enough to drop over a stern dolly. Pinned out at an angle, and with a rope acting as a spring, the stern is held in position clear of the shallow bank with little movement as boats go past.

Good, eh. And the plank is still useable for it’s proper purpose.

Oh, and another job was to fit a wooden loo seat. Mags was complaining that the plastic one was cold… It looks a lot better, too.

Hi Ade, glad you’re enjoying the read. We aim to please….
Wil, now you know where to go if you want a Totem Pole of your own! Good to talk to you the other day.
Hi Alf. Yes, I’ve done the same in the past, but I wanted something that I didn’t have to store when not in use. You know how it is, everything has to have at least two functions on a boat!

Since last post, Locks 10, miles 7.


NB Muleless said...

Brilliant idea Geoff! Gary will be using that - hope you're not going to patent it!

Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

I believe the lock in the first photo is Apsley Bottom Lock 67.

The white footbridge in the distance is the new 153B. The other two Apsley Locks both have footbridges across the tail of the locks