GUC D7 back to Bulbourne

Having turned around the evening before, we are now heading back up the Grand Union. A sunny morning, we set off at 9.30am and start off going through Fishery Lock, alone as there are no boats about. In the morning we do meet a few boats oncoming, but continue to go up singly, not meeting any boats “going our way”. We speedily go by Winkwell and its Swing Bridge, meet a boat in the next lock (always nice as you don’t have to set the lock first). Since we were going up singly we could speed up through the locks – once the lock gates are closed you simply hold the boat fast on a lockside bollard and crank the sluices open. Doing this brings a torrent of water in, but so long as you keep the boat tight up then it doesn’t move about. I usually stand on the roof and use the middle rope to keep the boat against the side, adjusting constantly as the boat rises. It does look nice on the video too, though as we were not in a rush we only did it a couple of times.


The locks here have lower bottom gates so that when the lock is full it cascades over them – I guess this allows more water to flow down stream, but I could see a problem if boats left top gates open as it would shave an inch or three off of the water level in the pound between! The towpath crosses sides at Bridge 141 in Berkhamsted, so we paused briefly to pick up crew from one bank and deposit them on the other. Again we met boats coming down, and once we passed through Gas Lock 2 & 1 we moored up for lunch as it was almost 2pm.

Once we had refuelled ourselves, we made most of the sun and set off again. At some point we needed to have a pump-out. We could go a week or so, and whilst you could probably get away with lasting the whole 11 days, it wasn’t worth the risk leaving it (no pleasure in having to search for a boatyard when the tank is full) so decided once we found somewhere would get it done. As it turns out the Marina at Cow Roast has a self pump-out. So in we popped aided by the cross-wind, and then twenty minutes later just a quick manoeuvre of reverse and turn into the strong cross-wind and we were back out onto the cut.

It was now 16:45 and time to think about how long we were going to go. Off we went, zooming to Tring, and as we didn’t fancy stopping in a cutting we carried on. The Bulbourne Locks close at 5pm (part of the cunning plan to stop transmission of the nocturnal Blue-Green algae that likes to go on its jollies in the late evening only to find its scuppered by locked locks) and we would be cutting it fine if we wanted to go up. So instead we stopped at the Visitor Moorings near the BW Workshops. There is a pub here, so we could go out for a meal & drink, and it has free wifi so I could check my email. Cool, booze, grub, and surfing.

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