We wasn’t too sure if we should stay where we were moored because of the weather, but after a night of rain turning the towpath into a mud bath, we decided to move. The weather forecast rightly predicted the heavy rain would pass over around 10:00 am, so at about 11:00 am, we pushed Cyan off.
Cyan soon ascended the first two Marsworth locks (# 37 and #38), and we pleasantly cruised towards the Marsworth Services.
Marsworth Services must be one of the smartest sanny stations we’ve seen, which is probably because it is new and tagged onto the end of a trendy housing estate.
We tied Cyan to the mooring rings, then gathered our rubbish. It wasn’t obvious where we were to dump the rubbish, so we asked the maintenance man who was cleaning the area. The maintenance man also told John where the Elsan point was.
After dumping our rubbish John took the cassette to the Elsan point. He didn’t think there was a problem with the door being unlocked, because the maintenance man was there. John put the cassette down, then flushed the bowl to clean it before he tipped up the cassette. At that point a 35ish year old man stood at the doorway and gave John a tirade of verbal abuse – think of the worse words you can, and these are all the words the man shouted at John. It seems the man was a plumber, and he was there to mend a water pipe. There wasn’t an ‘Out Of Order’ notice on the door. If there was John wouldn’t have ignored it. John stood his ground, but I could tell he was physically shaken.
It was about 12:30 pm when we started to ascend the rest of the Marsworth Locks, starting at Lock #39, in the now pouring rain. The top gate was a pig, and John struggled to budge it, so I’m afraid Cyan gave the gate a gentle nudge to open it.
We cruised to Lock #40, and could see quite a lot of water was pouring out of the bottom lock gates. I tied Cyan to a bollard to be secure, as it looked like an awful lot of water would have to be emptied from the lock, causing rather a bit of turbulence. When John walked to the lock he saw that all four of the paddles on the top gates were open. Very odd considering Tring Summit has a water shortage problem. He closed the top paddles, and opened the lower ones to let the water out of the lock. While he waited for the lock to empty, he phoned C&RT to report the paddles being left open. No one at C&RT had opened the paddles, and they confirmed the paddles should be down. While John was on the phone he made a complaint about the abuse he’d received at the sanny. C&RT was very apologetic, and said no boater should take abuse from any C&RT contractor, and that they’d get the Area Manager to phone John back. So far no phone call; we’ll wait until tomorrow, if the Area Manager doesn’t respond, we’ll escalate our complaint.
Because the paddles were left open, the water in the pounds between the locks was very low.
In full sunshine, we finally got to the top of Marsworth Locks! Then John saw a notice on the bridge over the Wendover Arm.
The notice was an invitation to explore one and half ‘lock-free miles’ of the Wendover Arm. The notice said; at the end of the arm there’s a turning point, and 48 hour moorings. How could we miss the opportunity for an ‘adventure’!
Just as we were about to turn into the arm, loads of school kids with several teachers suddenly appeared…
… and they stood on the bridge to watch Cyan turn, waving and shouting as we passed under them.
There was a short stretch where the scenery wasn’t ‘the best’. The ‘stretch’ had tight bends, and Cyan had to be reversed a couple of times to get round.
Heygates Flour Mill
Even in the early Spring the Wendover Arm is pretty.
Plus it comes complete with it’s own swans…
… and other wild life:
Wild flowers are starting to show! Give us a week of warm sunshine, and Spring will definitely burst forth!
Cat’s Ears, or Dandelions?
We’re at the end of the Arm, and Cyan starts to wind.
Where we have moored it’s very quiet, it’s a beautiful spot, it’s in full sun, and it’s sheltered. Plus it’s got loads of footpaths to walk, and a nature reserve to discover. WiFi is insanely fast, and digital TV is wall-to-wall! We just might stay here until the two yellow weather alerts for Saturday and Sunday have been resolved.
You can see on the map below that we are moored right at the end of the arm. For more information regarding restoring the Arm see Wendover Arm Trust. The Patron of the Trust is no other than David Suchet CBE, better known as Poirot.
If you click on ‘View larger map’ below, the towpath has been ‘street viewed’ – you can follow the canal down the towpath, like on Google Street View.
Today we’ve cruised 3.5 miles, and 9 locks.