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Hunton Bridge to Stoke Bruerne ~ 49 miles and 58 locks!!!

Wow!! We got to Stoke Bruerne on Thursday evening after setting off from Rickmansworth at 11am Monday.  I think that has to beat any trip we've done so far!  Some photos of trip are below...

Apsley Marina

Before we set off from Hunton Bridge on the Monday evening, there was a bit of a drama regarding speeding boaters. A charity boat (who should have known better) sped past us during the storm releasing several boats and our's (but not entirely) from their moorings.  Richard and some other moorers rescued the freed boats, which were having a lovely drift down with the current (river fed bit), and then had to secure our boats back as well.  I spoke sternly to one of the owners as we went past them the next morning at Apsley, what good it would do...

I walk to get the next lock opened for Richard, but what a lovely morning!

Boxmoor Top lock after going through Hemel Hempstead

Rising Sun at Berkhamsted

Port of Berkhamsted sign on the approach to the town.  We moored further on on the visitor moorings.   I had a prescription to collect (which was an ordeal in itself as our surgery doesn't do Electronic Prescriptions..)  Anyway Boots were fab and sorted the order out, I had put in over a week before as an emergency.  Big relief!  

Leaving Berkhamsted moorings in the morning early doors..

Approaching the Gas 2 locks

Percy standing at the lock patiently waiting for something

Marsworth Junction ~ these locks were a pain to do as I had to run on ahead to the next lock to fill it so that Richard could go straight in.  Luckily, a lockkeeper lady met us at lock 4 and did the filling for us on the last 3, saving me a lot of energy!

Grove Lock at Leighton Buzzard

The Globe pub

We overnighted just up from Tesco on Wednesday night after doing a mahoosive amount of shopping in Aldi!

Soulbury Locks and no water ~ actually it was emptier than this, but we had started refilling just as a locky arrived.

Leaving Soulbury 3 locks


Moored for trading in Stoke Bruerne for the Bank Holiday!

We had overnighted just below, in the long pound at Stoke Bruerne on Thursday evening, but grabbed a space as a boat moved off first thing in the morning.

Come and see us, hopefully recovered by now, (the meal on Thursday night in The Boat Inn helped!) on our mooring just up from the museum.  Hopefully the next few weeks will be a bit calmer....

Rickmansworth Festival 2016 ~ and return 5 miles, 10 locks

So, you may ask, 'was it worth 179 miles and 119 locks in 2 weeks?

Our pair moored and ready for the weekend. 

Early morning on Saturday, the shop is open and we brace ourselves for bad weather and a low turnout of visitors

The Village Butty next to us prepares for teas, coffees, soup and other refreshments and a place to sit out of the weather in good company

After good sales, considering the low footfall, on the Saturday, Sunday began by basking every boat in sublime sunshine

The tug of war ( a challenge of engine prowess) between some of the more competitive boat owners with running commentary  

More boats arrive 

An element of carnage and confusion as the competing boats and non competing boats give way to each other on this wide section of Frogmore Wharf

More hustle and bustle but everyone seems to be loving the competition.
Afterwards, I had been asked to receive a prize on the bridge for 'Best Dressed Boat' ~ a bottle of Prosecco!

Alice serves at her counter on the Village Butty

People looking at our stall in the butty.

Overall, we would like to thank Chris Bennett (who encouraged us to apply for a trading slot) and everyone involved in organising a fabulous festival.  There were all sorts going on all around the town but mainly in the aquadrome park next to the canal, where performers played and stall holders sold, not forgetting the fairground rides!
This morning, we had a late start to our return journey ~ 11am!!

Leaving Rickmansworth behind for beautiful countryside at Croxley Green

Approaching the tranquil setting of the 2 Cassiobury Park locks 

Locks finished for the day and hopefully a mooring beyond the bridge at Hunton Bridge

Lots of bonkers boaters out there ~ we love your originality!

We managed to get moored up, after doing 10 locks, just in time for the most dramatic hail and thunder storm we had experienced for a long time....

Day 16 ~ 5.5 miles and 10 locks

Wednesday morning, we set off for the final leg of our monumental journey to the Rickmansworth Festival  from Norbury Junction in just under 3 weeks. (179 miles apart!)

Good 90 degree bend on the outskirts of Cassiobury Park

Very ornate bridge

The old mill ~ the canal bends to the left here, mill water straight on

Narrow bits with lots of widebeams and overhanging branches

After managing to forget my windlass on the penultimate lock and racing back for it (no one had removed it off the lockbeam thank goodness!), we arrived for the last lock and Rickmansworth!

Mooring just on the right dead centre of the activity before the river bridge.  

That evening, we enjoyed an evening watching short films and a main feature of 'Painted Boats' ( old classic Ealing Studios film about working narrowboats) aboard the 'Village Butty' next door.  Great evening and the popcorn was gorgeous!  Thanks to Alice, Ian and James for their hospitality!

Now to swapping the shop over to the other towpath and rainproofing the stall for the weekend!

Day 13/14/15 ~ 2.5 miles and 5 locks

Sunday, we opened the gift shop in Apsley and enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere of this very new development of flats, restaurants, a pub, with a busy marina at the centre.

I've been busy getting some projects finished and varnished ready for the weekend

Richard steers the boats off on Monday morning, whilst I walk the dogs to the first lock of the day

Passing under the walkway, which takes pedestrians over to the station and pub on the opposite bank

Considering this is widebeam country, leaving a narrow gap can present a challenge, but we got through unscathed! 

This is what we reckon our butty looked like when it was in British Waterways usage!

Kings Langley ( not Kings Landing, as we kept referring to it...)


The boats moored on the outskirts of Hunton Bridge.  Richard gets camera shy, but I got him, just before he ducked out of shot!

Tomorrow we will complete our journey to Rickmansworth, if the congestion has been relieved a little.  Apparently the mooring restrictions for the show don't start until tomorrow, so we may have to wait for others to move...

Journey remaining ~ 5.5 miles and 10 locks

Day 11/12 ~ 8 miles and 21 locks

We are nearing the end of our journey to Rickmansworth festival from Norbury Junction.  A trip which has seen us do 12 hours of boating or more a day, which when you consider we are technically single handed as we have a butty, it has been somewhat of an achievement for us!

Approaching Dudswell Locks after filling up with water at Cowroast.

The boys (Reilly and Lister) patiently wait by the locks.  Reilly (the greyhound) gets very stressed inside, so when we can, I walk them between locks. 

It has been really quiet with boats moving about, so we have been able too keep the motor and butty breasted which saves a lot of time, especially as I have run on ahead with the dogs to set the next lock ready for him.

Coming down the approach to Berkhamsted

Waiting for the water level before opening the gates


Beautifully ornate building alongside a wharf

I remembered this bridge from when we came along here 8 years ago from Brentford!

The Rising Sun pub ~ there were other words in between the free beer, just to clarify!

We were getting quite weary of locks by about 3pm and decided to moor before Hemel Hemstead and try to moor in Apsley the following morning.

Setting off this morning from Hemel, a bit chilly but I knew the walk to the lock would warm me up!

Lots of horses on the Common

The boats approach Boxmoor Lock

The Art Boat run by our friends Jan and Barry, is a couple of boats up at Apsley.

We moored just after the lock landing in Apsley after coming down 3 locks this morning.

All set up awaiting the footfall, which arrived around lunchtime.

We will stay here tomorrow and then complete our journey by Tuesday, hopefully, to Rickmansworth.  Come and see us if you are in the area!

Journey remaining ~ 8 miles and 15 locks