Today we ascended the last of the Marsworth Locks, up onto the Tring Summit Level. We were away around ten, and passed Marsworth Junction on the right before the first of today’s locks.
A controversial new housing development now occupies the site of the BW piling workshops.
At the junction the narrow gauge Aylesbury Arm heads off to the west.
Unusually for a canal arm, this one still manages to make it to it’s original destination!
Dropping down through eight locks over six miles, the arm ends smack in the middle of the town at a basin. We’ve not been that way, but it’s supposed to be a very pleasant stretch, quiet and remote.
The first lock was against us, and this set the rule for the day. All had to be emptied before we could use them, so I walked ahead to get them set while Vic closed up after the girls.
These final seven locks twist and turn as they climb the 42’3” to the summit.
Fine cottage below Lock 43
And another near Lock 44
Lock 45 is the top one, and has a dry dock alongside.
We met our first boat here!
The Wendover Arm joins here at the summit.
Primarily built as a water feeder to bring water into the Grand Junction Canal from the north of the Chilterns, it was soon adapted to take boat traffic. Most of the trade was in local produce, with coal and lumber coming back. But it was always problematical, notorious for leaks.
After several unsuccessful attempts to effect a solution the arm was actually taking water from the main line, rather than feeding it! The decision was made to build a stop lock to prevent further loss, then finally the bed below the stop lock was de-watered for 1½ miles and the remainder lowered. This is the situation today, although there’s a short restored section beyond the stop lock, with very pleasant moorings. But work on restoring the whole waterway is in progress…
Bulbourne Workshop is also to be redeveloped, I just hope they’ve learned the lessons of poor consultation from the project at Marsworth.
I guess the blacksmith, in the nearer builder above, will have to find new premises…
Rivet, Rivet. No, I think it’s welded…
South of the workshops the canal enters a long, fairly straight cutting.
The cutting is only about 20 feet deep at the most, but not digging it would have meant another 3 locks at either end. Water supply would also have been a problem. The higher summit would have been too high to be fed from the Wendover Arm. A case of “needs must”.
The cutting ends near the village of Tring, then the first downhill lock is encountered at the macabrely named Cow Roast.
A major droving route passed through here in the late Iron Age, and it’s believed the the name Cow Roast, given to the hamlet nearby, is a corruption of “Cow Rest”.
A little further on we dropped down the two Dudswell Locks before mooring up. Well, almost. Our front end is in, but the stern is three feet out. It’s a bit shallow. NP managed to find a deeper bit…
Dudswell Bottom Lock
Hey KevinToo, this one’s for you…
Only a couple of bits, though… Just a token gesture really.
Hi Allan, Yep, all the way across the Atlantic. That’s the furthest the old Flamingo has ever been, eh!
Locks 10, miles 4½