Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Hemel Hempstead

 Today's Canals - Wendover Arm, Grand Union Main Line

Showers were forecast for today but, apart from a couple of rather heavier ones, most were very slight and did not lead to donning rainwear. It was almost good weather for cruising through a well-locked stretch of canal.

We set off early, leaving the terminal basin at Little Tring behind us.

Just before the main pumping sgtation we passed through the former stop lock, This was built when the arm proved to be rather leaky. It isolated the problem section from the main line summit pound (which has its own problems with water level.

At Heygates, a set of pallets of flour in retail size bags stood awaiting collection. Let's hope that it was boarded before the rain arrived!

We re-joined the main line and continued southwards along the summit pound to Cowroast.

Re-development of the former maintenance base at Bulbourne is well underway. It seems nthat most of the original buildings have been retained, including the crane, whilst wholly modern houses are incorporated in other spaces. It looked very much better thought through than Marsworth.

We were keen to find somewhere to refill our fuel tank as the gauge was showing well under half and supplies are not so easy to be sure of in the route ahead. So, we called in at the marina at Cowroast. Having carefully maneuvered our way in, we found that there was  no-one available to serve us! We did however manage a 'full service' at the lock before beginning the long descent down to the Thames.

Later in the morning the grey skies cleared and at times we had some some really blue patches that provided a great backdrop to the canal.

At Berkhampstead we used the Shop and Drop Zone - we dropped Christine off and she went to the supermarket to shop for some tinned tomatoes - we had run out and it is chilli tonight!

She re-joined us below the next lock, after the bridge which has recently been painted to match the one designed some years back a little further on, where the canal designed for barges came to an end. North of here it was really only intended for narrow boats even though the locks were widened so that they could take a pair at the same time.  It is certainly eye-catching!

Just after Winkwell Swing Bridge we stopped at the boatyard for diesel. This turned out to be quite a lengthy exercise as they are not really set up for doing this easily. Just tying up was complicated. Nevertheless we were able to fill the fuel tank to the brim! As we set off again, another boat arrived to go down and we shared the locks for the fest of the afternoon.

We continued to Hemel Hempstead - our first attempt at mooring for the night was not very successful as the canal was too shallow at the edges. Close to the next lock we were OK with the bonus that we were better sheltered from the traffic noise from the A41.

11.4 Miles - 18 Locks


  1. Hi Mike.
    Test comment as I just had one thrown back at me
    Gill. Petroc

  2. That’s ok now.
    Following your blog as you are just ahead of us. We had an unplanned longer day than we needed yesterday due to not finding anywhere suitable to moor! Now in Berkhamstead just after lock 52 and like you heading for the Thames. We are hampered somewhat as I have hurt my back and Geoff his leg!! We last came down this way 13 years ago and can’t remember much. Any good tips on where you find to moor would be much appreciated. My email is