We woke this morning to hear several loud ‘plops’ in the water outside the hatch, and after checking Catty was on board found it was several large fish feeding on the surface, You might just see them in the picture.
We chose last night’s mooring to be in sight Bridge 132 so that we could easily see if we could share the next lock(s) with another boat.
Good plan in theory but this morning we awoke to see one going past before we were up and dressed, then, of course no more! So we resolved to head off alone and found the lock, not only full, but the top gates open (to be fair they do have a tendency to swing back open) of course this meant we would have to empty each lock all the way up the flight, unless we met a boat travelling in the opposite direction. However, after passing Startops End reservoir, we found the next lock empty and ready for us; our mystification was soon dispelled as we saw there was a volunteer lock-keeper making the locks ready for us! This was a fantastic help and we soon were near the top and another boat was coming down so we didn’t even need to shut the top gates. Even so, after five locks Joy was finding the concentration of taking the boat into the locks quite exhausting (a common problem in TIA recovery) so I was able to do the last few with just the lockie’s help, what a a blessing he was! We left him with our goodbyes and thanks at Bulborne Junction where the Wendover arm joins.
We had an early lunch-stop beside the Grand Junction Arms but were thwarted in getting a postprandial drink as it was not yet 12 noon and the pub was still closed! We didn’t bother to wait and so pressed on through Tring Cutting. I couldn’t help thinking of how much man-power must have been needed to dig the mile and a half, apparently it took almost five years to complete, being thirty feet deep at its maximum depth. At the end of the cutting is a bridge were you are just a five minute walk from Tring railway station. Just a mile further along the summit pound and we were at Cowroast Marina (now owned by BWML) where we did the necessary to empty the toilet tank. Just £12 for those to whom these things are important, don’t you just love the little camera for the office to read the diesel pump!
We moored up just below Cowroast Lock (apparently nothing to do with barbeques but a corruption of Cow Rest dating back to cattle droving days) and let Catty out for a stroll, we had not long sat down when a neighbouring boater called in to ask if that was our cat up by the lock. We found her down a little back road annoying some magpies, so she was unceremoniously captured and returned to the boat in disgrace. We can vouch that the nearby Cowroast Inn does a really nice Thai takeaway (and has a really c**p website. I would have offered to give it a makeover if we had been staying around!)