Sunday, May 08, 2016

Onto the River Stort (cruise retrospective)

As soon as we turned onto the Stort, the character of our surroundings changed. The river was narrower than the Lea, and prettier. At times it put us in mind of the South Oxford Canal. The bridges were low, some of them very low. No chimneys would survive. Piles of firewood would be disastrous. Boaters who are not midgets have to duck.

And the locks were even more difficult than the Lea's worst! They're only 13 feet wide, which makes them too narrow for a pair of narrowboats to share. And a single narrowboat has to have both gates opened for it. A single gate width is six inches too narrow! And the gates were still not safe for walking across. But it does seem to be the norm that gates are left open as you leave them, top or bottom. Which makes life a little easier! 

We travelled on through parkland and woodland, past hundreds of trees, mostly willows, we thought; dead, toppled, broken and piled in skeletal heaps, struck down, surely, by some arboreal disease. Such a great shame. A scar on a beautiful landscape.

We stopped for the night right above Hunsdon Mill Lock, a lovely spot with woodland to our right, and large, well-tended gardens on the other side of the canal. Not far away, a pile of wood burned slowly. Garden trees cut down because of disease, leaving huge spaces where once they looked magnificent.


  1. Love the stort, spent 5 months on there 2 summers ago, are Steph & Nigel still doing tea's and snacks at the Lockhouse at Roydon ?. Hope you guys enjoy as much as we did, Ian NB Peace

    1. Yes indeed, the Lockhouse is doing a good business, though we didn't avail ourselves of their services when we went through. We'd have eaten there, had it been lunch time! I wanted an ice-cream, but the cold weather dissuaded me! We loved the Stort. How lovely to spend 5 months there!