Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hertford, and the end of the navigation (cruise retrospective)

It was a beautiful morning. Positively warm under a clear sky as we left Ware. There's some lovely architecture in these parts, much of it new, but almost rubbing shoulders with much older buildings, and tasteful renovations of ancient mills and warehouses. Of particular interest are several 18th century gazebos at the bottom of riverside gardens.

The river is beautiful, a stately, broad sweep through water-meadows, farm and parkland. It's still the Easter holidays, and people were out in force, walking and cycling. There were lots of gongoozlers at the locks, and a sense of summer holidays in the air. I didn't take photos of people, though. I only of cows!

Misremembering the map of the approach to Hertford, we were surprised when we came to a major left turn in the river. There was a sign at the far corner of the junction, but, unlike their kind on the Soar and Trent, this sign was small, with three instructions on. The last of which told us to keep left of the sign for Hertford, though we'd overshot the turning by the time we'd managed to get to that bit. And that with the aid of binoculars! Why so small?

Hertford Lock
Arriving at the visitor moorings in Hertford, we were disappointed to see that there was no space for us. As often happens, just a few boats had moored with large, yet not boat-sized, spaces between them. Close the gaps, and there's room for another two or three craft. One boater, however, called out as we drove past, saying that he was about to leave. We thanked him, and carried on to the winding just a hundred yards or so further down.

Winding was an interesting endeavour. Passing first under a very low bridge, Grace encountered a strong cross-wind that wouldn't let her point the bow the way she wanted it to go. After several attempts, under the scrutiny of a growing crowd on the bank and on the bridge, Grace decided to go with the flow, as it were. Or, rather, go with the blow. Unconventionally, she turned the bow the other way and reversed into the hole.That worked, and we passed back under the duck-very-low bridge to the applause of the audience. "5.8, 5.8, 5,7, 5.8..." They'd been well entertained!
Starting the turn... 
The winding hole on the far right.
In our absence, the man who'd offered us his space had found that his gearbox had "packed up". Ouch! He was going nowhere, but he had moved his boat up enough for Grace to ease Kantara into the space now in front of him.

We went out to see Hertford, ate at a good pub, bought food, and did a bit of sightseeing. All Saints Church looked interesting, but was closed to visitors. 

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