GUC Uturns to Cowroast

Wednesday 12th September: Almost half way through our holiday, so maybe a trip down Aylesbury Arm. Hmm nope its locked – the dreaded Blue-Green Algae means only boats with moorings in the basin are allowed down! So much for the notices saying you just need to phone ahead.

Okay in reverse gear and turn to go up the GUC a bit further. Having stopped over last night and having a walk to Little Tring on the Wendover arm I thought we could go down there. We went up Marsworth locks by ourselves, everyone else deciding to come down – though traffic was light in both directions. This made a change, but there was quite a few walkers out – I guess it makes a nice stretch to stroll along. When we got up to the Tring summit you don’t see any signs about the restoration of the Arm, just the signpost pointing the direction of the Arm stating its original mileage and a BW notice on the bridge saying 1.5 miles is navigable. So I guess anyone with a map that doesn’t show the restoration, might be put off thinking winding may be hard or that they have to reverse up part of it.

Up the Arm we went, and promptly met a boat coming down – hmm not as secluded as I expected! A lot of “disused” arms usually get silted up, overgrown, or plastered in boats wanting mooring spots. This Arm has a nice rural feel, the slightly overgrown banks on the initial stretch don’t seem great to moor on (but why would you having just gone on it) but only as much as the main GUC line is on rural stretches. You pass an overflow into the canal, that’s actually a feed from the reservoir to pump water into the Tring summit level. Once round bridge 2 and a deceptively sharp turn the scene briefly turns into an industrial stretch with a couple of factories before once again you are back in a rural scene and easily pass the winding hole. Obviously not an official one but just where a stream feeds in and for 101 years the only place for die-hards to turn their boat on an adventure up the canal.

Next up we have the pumping station and round the bend the stop lock, now fixed open (with one pair of gates removed). Onwards through the reconstructed Little Tring bridge the canal becomes concrete lined. Visitor moorings here and a noticeboard outlining the restoration stages look nice, and just beyond a winding hole on the bend, so round we turned and then moored at the end for a spot of lunch. I had hoped to walk along the canal a bit further, but it was fenced off – either as a construction or maybe a public right of way path has yet to be agreed?

We had a respite of a few hours before deciding, at 4pm to head off back down and onto a spot to turn.


Off we went past the BW workshop and out into a nice wooded stretch of canal – that includes a tree blocking part of the canal – just enough room to squeeze past (a boat had warned us and informed us they’d phoned BW). It was a nice afternoon to be out boating, and we soon reached Cowroast Lock. Since we’d be heading back tomorrow we thought here would be as good a place to moor, so we turned and then moored back up on the visitor moorings. After noticing a no-fishing sign we set back off and thought we’d go through the lock – the boat is just pointing in the wrong direction – so backwards it be!! I suppose I could have gone down the lock backwards too, but I turned and went down normally. We then moored below the lock that allowed my father to do his spot of fishing.

2 Responses to “GUC Uturns to Cowroast”

  1. Darren Says:

    One of the best videos to-date. Just love the U-turn at the start and those reversings, windings.
    The animated map is a nice idea (although it does seem to take up a lot of the space). Good music too.

  2. Nic Says:

    I’ve streamlined the map a bit for the next day so it occupies just a corner rather than a whole side. The music for most of it is by Andrew Shapiro that I got from his website.