Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Grove Park to Boxmoor (cruise retrospective)

The next morning, we ambled out of Grove Park, passing the early-morning golfers, and folk driving away from the Grove Hotel after a very comfortable, very expensive and well-fed stay. Hunton Bridge Locks 72 and 73, and no sign of anyone else on the move.

We stopped for an early lunch alongside the River Gade above Lock 71. We were hungry, it's true. We often don't have breakfast. But Grace had been experiencing an unusual vibration in the engine, and I needed to get down the weed hatch to inspect the propellor, the number one suspect. Which is what I did while Grace prepared brunch. And indeed, the vibration had been caused by a great deal of plastic that had wrapped itself around the propellor and its shaft. I removed it within minutes. No harm done.

It was only the third time in almost five years that we'd had a fouled prop. Ours is a fairly standard model, though slightly larger than normal. There is another type called and Axiom, which claims to be more efficient than the standard. And so it may be. But everyone we know who has an Axiom prop suffers far more than us from plastic bags, weed, items of apparel and all sorts of other rubbish which can be found in our inland waters. One boat with which we've travelled in the past needed their prop de-fouled most days.

There are brand new gates at King's Langley Lock. Pristine. Perfect. They still smell of the coal-tar preservative with which they were treated during construction. But the top gates have no paddles, and, with ground paddles only, the huge chamber fills extremely slowly. It's a strange omission, and I wish I knew why they did it.

Nash Mills Lock has a water tap to one side of it, but below the top gate. The first time we went through this lock, we had to wait for some time before entering it, because a hire-boat was having its tank filled whilst still in the chamber! I tweeted a photo of the tap, and commented that it was a strange place for it to be located.   

A wiser Tweep than me pointed out that, when the tap was first in use, boaters carried their water in Buckby cans, several of which could be filled while the lock was filling or emptying. Now we have large water tanks on board, the modern boater has to use some common sense, and moor above the lock in order to fill up!

All that noisy busyness in the distance! The A41.

We had hoped to meet Louise again when we got to Nash Mills, this time to visit her flat, but it was early afternoon when we got there, and Louise was at work, and we didn't really want to wait several hours, only to find that she wasn't around that evening. And contacting her was out of the question, Lou's a teacher.

So we carried on to Hemel Hempstead, stopping at the same spot as the one we'd used on our way south. Boxmoor Locks in the Two Waters area.

Next to a noisy, busy town, this spot offers a tranquil, attractive mooring.


  1. I've caught up with you again now! Isn't it lovely when you meet fellow bloggers aling the way? I follow Still Rockin' too on their blog and they seem to bump into other fellow bloggers on their cruises too. It must add to the sense of community!

    1. Thanks for reminding me that they blog, too! I'll try to keep up with them.

  2. By the way, the river Gade looks lovely!