Monday, 15 June 2015

The End of the Line

Thursday 11th June to Monday 15th June 12015

We have moved up to Bishop's Stortford and thereby completed this navigation. After leaving Hoddesdon, the cruise further northwards was uneventful, passing the junction and turning right, we came across the famous/infamous Stort Navigation Locks - a mere 4m wide and with double gates - top and bottom - which meant that all gates had to be opened - going in and coming out.
The saving factor in this is that it quickly became apparent that there was no need to close the gates when leaving the lock - something we were happy to comply with.

Our first target for mooring was Harlow Town but with a lack of mooring places and an abundance of boats we then just set our mind to finding any place - luckily we found a bit of a wild mooring at Harlow Mill just after the bridge - we used 4 ropes to make sure that we actually stayed there - front, back and 2 centre lines.

The two 48 hour moorings by the lock were occupied but Diane was certain that the cruiser would be leaving - how does she determine that?

Well lo and behold at about 21:45 the cruiser leaves and there is mooring just for us - too late to move there then but in the morning would be fine.

Even before breakfast the following morning we were reversing the 100 metres through the bridge hole to grab the vacant spot and on rings - very happy indeedly.
Best of all there was a water tap right there as well.

We were moored right outside the Harlow Mill (Beefeater) where we met up with Dot and Gordon last August when they were up this way.

After breakfast and some work we ventured further afield - found the railway station (needed for work), Tesco (with a Costa), the cinema (not much we wanted to see), Dunelm Mill (couldn't find what we needed), another Costa (coffee was excellent as usual), and a B&Q (nothing needed).
It was quite a warm morning and we were glad to make it back to the boat and out of the sun for a bit - of course, the sunshine meant the batteries were being nicely charged and all for free.

As it was Friday it was appropriate to wander over to the Beefeater for a drink - well it might have been nice if there was any chance of being served. One person serving at the bar, Friday early evening, people finished work for the week, 7 or 8 groups waiting to be served - it looked like a thristy argument, so we headed back to the boat, got the chairs out and enjoyed the sunshine and a drink without disturbing the wallet - job done!!

Later that night it was a case of Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work I go - taking longer and longer to get there, the further we move the boat, and found out when I got there that the start time had changed to1 am - no advisement to me.
A humid night only helped the weight loss program and very glad to finish and make it back to the boat at a decent time.

It has generally taken a full day to recover and really it was no exception - the muscles did ache a bit more but the body is coping quite OK - especially for a young fellow like me.

Our time was up on Sunday morning, but we needed to fill up with water - unfortunately the hose would not extend from tap to tank and we needed to further reverse back to the lock mooring which doubled as the water-point mooring - this time it was around another moored boat.
Diane took the helm whilst I was ashore and she accomplished it in no time at all - and moored up without any problems - not that any were expected.
For once the water pressure was first class and the tank was filled in no time which only just gave us enough time to finish breakfast.

With nothing else to do we were off - our aim now was Bishop's Stortford - 13 lock-miles away.

Locks in our favour, just a little bit of light drizzle, no sunshine and a coolish breeze - we arrived at the destination finding plenty of spaces available; winded around and moored up.

The only real "problem" we have found in this last few days is the lack of any TV signal, so there would be no chance of seeing the Slovenia v England match later in the day - not a hardship.

The next priority for the day was to find a decent Sunday roast; walking into town we couldn't see anyone advertising any roast lunches but popping into The Star the barman told us about The Nag's Head (just under a mile's walk) which does an excellent meal on Sundays - local knowledge is always handy, so we walked the walk and found it; they found us a table and we enjoyed a fabulous lunch (including dessert) and at a reasonable price as well.
An art-deco style pub, which we understand was originally built as a pub

The meals were really enjoyable and the service was excellent

I believe that we are near Essex - there are two girls just standing on the offside
of the white car talking to the driver - the traffic has to divert right around them.
You wonder why accidents occur. I am sure there was an opportunity to increase
the average IQ in England.

The moorings that we have are signed as 14 days, but come Tuesday we will be moving, but for Monday we had a bit more of a look around the town, including scaling the heights of the castle mound which provide a bit of a view of the town, but mainly we can see the tree tops more closely.
The castle, originally built by William I was dismantled about 600 years later and now is an overgrown ruin with some of the exterior walls remaining.
To get to the top you need to get a key from the Tourist Information Centre as there is a padlocked gate - they also give you a Health and Safety page about going up to the top and being there - fortunately Diane had already got the key, so we had no problems there.

The Castle Mound -it doesn't look much from ground level....

....but higher up it is a formidable position to defend - the castle has long gone,

and a view over the own town (and the trees)
must do something with that hair of mine

There is also a hole in the fence which gets used and whilst we were up there enjoying the sunshine, a father and his 2 kids must have snuck through the hole - they must have thought they were alone until they saw us and quickly returned back down the hill - we were lying down enjoying the warm sun and getting our breath back after the making it to the top.
This fellow was frolicking around in the sun

The Black Lion - 16th C timbered pub
Originally an oast house -now a garden centre.

and yet another pub - no shortage of them around here - we found six whilst
we were here

Moving along we wandered to see St.Michael's Church, visit a few of the many charity shops, dropped in for a coffee and made it back to the boat all in one piece.
St.Michael's Church - the exterior...

...and the interior

Later on we checked at the Mexican menu at 'Spoons - really nice - and it is right on the end of the river, so a bit of a view.

The only other thing left to report is that Diane pointed out to me that there must be a lot of bored people out there, as we passed the 100,000 page views for the blog.
Seriously people, you have to get a life - but we do like that there are people who take an interest in what we do and where we are - so we look forward to writing more for you.

14 Miles, 16 Locks
YTD: 433 Miles, 248 Locks, 10 Tunnels, 2 Lift Bridges, 11 Swing Bridges
Totals: 3327 Miles, 2369 Locks, 108 Tunnels, 36 Lift Bridges, 162 Swing Bridges

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