Narrowboat AREandARE

From the 2009 & 2010 tantalising tales, traumas and stunning photographs of Barry (photographer) and Sandra (writer) from New Zealand aboard NB 'Northern Pride', to the stories of their 2013 return journey, purchase of 'AREandARE', progress on sustaining their live aboard continuous cruiser lifestyle, and Barry's quest to gain residency and 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' in UK ...

Thursday 14 April 2011

A fortunate morning, the Wendover Arm, and witches close to Aylesbury

Barry and I are both away this weekend, on separate things.  I'm off for another three days on my 'Diploma in Holistic Life Coaching' course in Auckland, and Barry is off to play in a 'Veterans' (over 50s) representative badminton match in Waihi, in the Bay of Plenty.  On my return drive from Auckland, I'll be catching up with him at a friend's house in a little settlement called 'Bowentown' and we'll have a couple of nights there and with a bit of luck some walks along the beautiful beach.  There may then be a couple of New Zealand scenes on the next blog, just maybe ...

Wednesday 13 October

After our chilly night, the priority this morning was to fill up with diesel.  Barry walked along to Cowroast Marina to check if they had supplies, it would have meant reversing a little but he can handle that.  As we were about to untie and try out some smart manoeuvres, Archimedes came by with Jay and Tom!  Fortuitous indeed, we were very thankful to see you guys!  They're such nice blokes, always chatty and happy, it's a pleasure to hand over our money to them.


Once filled up, we were about to set off when Mike came along, the friendly gentleman who'd emailed to say we could moor up alongside him if we needed to, and after a chat across the canal he invited us aboard his delightful boat so we moved over on Northern Pride and tied up.







Mike on his boat 'Albion Mills' 








It was such a beautiful boat, obviously very pampered by its owner, with some very authentic, neat touches all around.  He informed us that every xmas he and his family spend the day on board, and we could just picture the happy atmosphere.














The boatman's cabin behind the engine room holding his beloved 'Gardner'


Goodbye and thank you to Mike - what a lovely man!

We eventually set off for the Wendover Arm, with just one stop lock towards the end of the navigable part of the short canal, though the locks not currently functional.  It was very shallow and narrow which we weren't used to anymore, the last time we'd been on a narrow canal was on the Oxford back in July.  We moored up briefly after turning at the end, had a spot of lunch, then set off towards Aylesbury, our next destination. 


Crossing the three mile summit from Cowroast to Marston Lock passes through this long wooded cutting

P1390818A Under the bridge connecting Tring to the railway station 











 Peaceful and pretty countryside


 Wrapped up warmly against the elements ...


 ... passing through some narrow bridges

P1390865A This bloke was confident it wasn't going to rain as he was painting the roof of his boat 

P1390868 Lots of boats moored up, possibly for the winterP1390879AUnder 'Upper Icknield Way Bridge' to the old British Waterways workshops where they used to make the traditional wooden lock gates ...


... now housing an ironwork sculptures gallery P1390894A   A very pleasant journey ...


 ... with picture postcard scenes

P1390905A The entrance to the Wendover Arm to the left under the bridge 


The Grand Union carries on ahead through the lock

P1390921A   P1390929A

Past Tring Mill which produces 76,000 tons of flour annually and employs 80 people, delivering flour throughout southern England











Tringford pumping station which pumps water from the reservoirs further down the hill, lifting approx four million gallons of water daily to the summit feeding it down the Wendover arm to the Grand Union


Little Tring Bridge No3 rebuilt by the Wendover Arm Trust in 2001 and opened by actor David Suchet (Inspector Poirot) - just beyond is the limit of navigation

P1390944  Plenty of room to turn at the end of the Arm





An old stop lock which must have had something to do with water supply from the Tringford Pumping Station










Back to Bulbourne Junction to continue down the Grand Union




Bulbourne dry dock services and DIY hire beside Marsworth 45 Top Lock

Seven locks later and we turned again onto the narrow canal to Aylesbury, with a staircase of two locks to commence the journey, the only ones on the Grand Union.  There were then 16 locks over about six miles to Aylesbury.  It's reputed to be one of the most peaceful canals in the country, and it was idyllic despite the grey day.  It felt strange to work the 7ft wide locks again - they're so much quicker to fill and empty, of course it helped that we were about the only narrowboat on that part of the cut!

After getting through eight locks dusk was falling and we had no choice but to moor up for the night.  Barry set off to explore on his bike again, and discovered that we were very close to the last place where a witch hunt occurred in Wilstone Village.


Sandra trying desperately to hold the gates closed and not fall in!


Through the top lock

P1390973ASeven locks down to the Aylesbury Arm Junction - this would have been the lock keepers cottage for the Marsworth flight 


Probably doesn't look much different to 150 years ago!!




Marsworth Reservoir for feeding the Grand Union Canal 





Marsworth Lock No 39


Lower Icknield Way Bridge constructed with two arches when the canal was built to accommodate another set of parallel locks which never eventuated

P1390995A   Ed Boden marine engineer - a beautiful working boat 

P1390997 Marsworth Junction with the locks ahead entering the Aylesbury Arm and the now disused BW yard used for making concrete pilings - apparently this area will become a new housing development












Marsworth Locks 1 & 2 are a staircase lock (the bottom gate of one lock is also the top gate of the lower lock) - similar to the Bingley Five and Three Rise locks, and Bratch locks


Now why are the lock gates hinged on the far side?

P1400014B  What an amazing setting ...


... and from the other direction












No shortage of water coming over the gates



Looking back over the Grand Union towards Marsworth Church 

P1400030A  Very peaceful cruising 


... and these will be our last taste of narrow locks for the remainder of our trip



Barry took a bike ride through Wilstone Village where in 1751 a dastardly act took place according to local legend at Dinah's pond in Watery Lane. Even today many old villagers would not stroll down there at midnight! An accused Witch was subject to a trial by ducking, the last to take place in the county, having been outlawed for 16 years. The unfortunate woman Ruth Osborne drowned and the inquest was held at the Half Moon Pub. The main perpetrator was tried at Hertford and condemned to hang in chains on Wilstone Green (The Witches Tale) 




  P1400047A Moorings for the night by Wilstone Village - note the top gate hinged on the correct side on this lock 


P1400063A Looking west along the canal - tomorrow's journey

That evening there was an amazing autumnal sunset with an orange orb in sky, but sadly it was blocked by trees in the foreground so we didn't manage any photos.  Happily, as our diesel tank was now full, we were able to enjoy a peaceful, cosy and warm night in, blogging and reading.

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