Thursday, August 16, 2007

An Away Day And I Learn Some Canal History

We had to travel to the Uxbridge area today - hospital appointment for me. This means that we return to our towpath walks along the nearest canal!

Most of you, dear readers, will know that the nearest canal to that area is is the Grand Union Canal. We cruised this stretch in 1997 in a "fat boat" from Anglo Welsh, based in Southall. (No longer there I think). Our first and last time on a wide beam!

We called into the Tesco car park in Rickmansworth. Why? Again some of you will know - maybe you are as obsessed as we are! It is a Tesco with moorings for boat customers: very handy! As we hung over the rails, two liveaboard boats arrived to do their shopping. But Tesco is on the off side, so we jumped into the car and went on to Batchworth Locks.

Batchworth Locks (81) are 2 locks. The right one is the one that takes you up the GU.

and the left leads onto the River Chess.

The canal here was difficult to construct due to the underlying sand and gravel. The lock had to be strengthened with wooden piles. By the side of the lock is the building that houses Rickmansworth Waterway Trust and a canal centre, sadly closed when we called.

This building was originally a warehouse and stables. I found this picture of the locks in 1897.

We wandered up to the next lock. We helped a single hander close the gates here as he locked up. Along the towpath are permanent moorings; a variety of size, shape and condition provided interest and discussion.
The one above is a converted working boat, but how about this one?

Not much room for animals two by two though.

On the off side there are boats too - obviously residential. There were also houseboats - the type that never go anywhere: looking like portacabins and have no engine. I am sure they are quite pleasant to live in, but give me a real boat any time!

We spotted this cat too - wonderful flower display, you wouldn't believe where this was.
The cat and display were on the roof of a narrowboat; owner and boater seem to have made it into a perfect hidey hole!

As we finished our walk it began to rain: one of those rogue showers promised! It was good to see another canal and look forward to the time we take Epiphany up there - one day.

Oh, and by the way, all these photos were taken on John's mobile phone, even this one.
Not bad eh? (and it was alive Maffi! - sorry Bones)

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