Saturday, April 02, 2016

Out of Berkhamsted

Monday morning greeted us with squally downpours and very strong winds, hitting us broadside on, and shaking us around a lot. The mooring pins remained firm, to our amazement. We were needing an Elsan disposal point, and were a bit concerned about our gas supply. One of the two bottles was already empty, and we were thinking the other couldn't have much left in it by now. And water was low. And there were bags of rubbish littering the well-deck. We needed to get moving, charge the batteries, and to find services and someone to sell us gas. But we were not going to leave in the current weather.

It did improve enormously in the afternoon, though. It was till very windy indeed, but now it was blowing through a blue and sunny sky. Our Nicholson Canal Guide showed a boatyard just a little way down the canal, so we strolled out to find it, and see if it would be open the next day. It had gone. It was now a very attractive house, and several other modern buildings.

We strolled on for a while, bought some food, and returned to the boat. The playground was very busy again.

Tuesday, we set off at last. The weather was far better. NB Renaissance joined us through the locks as far as Winkwell, where we stopped at Middlesex & Herts Boat Services. Here, we received excellent service from a young man who replaced our empty gas cylinder, topped up both diesel tanks, and provided a hose for filling our water tank. This all despite the fact that we were very awkwardly breasted up against a boat that was being worked on, and it all involved much clambering and hauling. I disposed of the waste, too, and we left an hour later with Kantara feeling fully recovered.

At the bottom of Winkwell Locks, it rained. And hailed. Hailed harder. And stopped, and the sun came out again. It must be nearly summer! The water was very high, towing paths very wet and muddy – almost impassable in places.

Despite the height of the canal, though, when it came to mooring at Boxmoor, we failed several times because of the shallowness at the bank. The water was high, but so was the bottom of the canal! Finally, we stopped for the night at a good spot just above Boxmoor Lock. Hemel Hempstead looks so much better from the canal!

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