Monday, November 02, 2009

Back to Bourne End

Sunday 18th October

Having returned home on Saturday night, the weather forecast for Sunday was now good so we returned to Jannock first thing in the morning and completed the run back to Bourne End. It proved to be a journey slowed right down by locks set against us and fishermen. We started up the Marsworth flight and soon caught up the single boat ahead and so we shared the last two locks in the flight with them. They were stopping at Cowroast marina so we set off down the other side of the summit solo again. Cowroast lock had the bottom gates and both paddles all left open when I arrived and so I had to turn it as no-one was ascending. Dudswell top lock was in the same state and between the two locks was a broken down narrowboat. They asked for assistance with their gear selection and I asked them if they had been leaving all of the bottom paddles up. They firmly denied this but admitted to leaving the gates open as this was normal on the Grand Union. Obviously there must be a Gremlin following them and raising the paddles again after they had passed through the lock. They found the fault in their gear cable and fixed it but decided to remain tied up for lunch so we continued on solo. Brenda decided that the big fishing match that was going on along this stretch of the G.U. should be available as an advice notice through the BW stoppage notification system. At least we could then choose not to boat and then not have to suffer the miserable looks and muttering that accompanied our passing every rod. A Northbound boater told us about how they had an altercation with a fisherman who had positioned himself on Winkwell winding hole. This fisherman decided that the boat owner had no right to turn his boat during the match and it almost came to fisticuffs with the boater getting off and squaring up to him on the towpath. Some match pitches were adjacent to the public car park at Berkhamstead. As Brenda moved Jannock past one fisherman slid his rob back across the grass and gave a parked car a heavy clout with the end of his pole. He didn't even bother to look round so we wondered how many times he'd done that during the day. Brenda had to wait for a northbound boat to ascend topside lock where one bloke was fishing off of the lock landing so she slowed right down and waited with the engine out of gear in order to not ruin their swim. Was it appreciated? Not likely, she was moaned at for taking too long to pass his rod. We arrived back and tied up to our mooring before I got the Di Blasi out and fetched the car from Marsworth.



Alan Fincher said...


I don't know about denials from another boat, but if you were to follow us down from Tring Summit through Cow Roast lock and the top Dudswell one, you would find we left a gate open at the bottom end, and quite possibly a paddle still drawn.

I would do this because for as long as I can recall these locks have had notices on you telling you to do this (or something similar). Wording has vairied over the years, but BW staff will tell you to leave a paddle drawn, so the locks can't refill.

Indeed, if we were working North through these locks, our last action before leaving would be to go and draw a bottom paddle, as instructed.

As several of the locks down towards where you apparently moor at Bourne End also have a similar requirement to leave empty, (and ensure they stay empty), I'm surprised you are not familiar with this at those a bit further up.

Best wishes.

Jannock said...

Thanks for that Alan
I agree that Dudswell top has to be left empty but not Cowroast. As for leaving BOTH bottom gates open with paddles still up then I completely disagree with that. I was pleased to see that this winter's works have meant that Top Side Lock (56) no longer has to be left empty, they've obviously fixed the leak into the lock cottage cellar. Winkwell top (59) had new bottom gates a few years ago that are higher than the old ones, therefore if it is not left empty with a paddle up, it floods the towpath by bridge 146.