Thursday, 27 August 2015

Let's play dodge the rain - and the thunderstorm!

Tuesday 25th August to Wednesday 26th August 2015

We seemed to in a constant state of trying to beat the weather for these few days - the BBC weather app was in constant use - when is the rain coming; when will it clear; what is the best time to leave and how long will we be able to cruise.
I fear we will have used up our data allowance just in looking at weather reports.

Never-the-less we did set off quite early on Tuesday morning and the weather was lovely and yes, I will say it yet again, it is the best time of the day.
We were able to enjoy the early morning and seemingly had it all to ourselves - no waiting at locks, no problems at all.
It seems that the temperature must be dropping overnight because there were a couple of boats that had their fires on, though for us, we are quite warm inside and haven't changed from the summer duvet.

It wasn't long before the sun had surfaced above the tree tops in the distance and it was showing that summer was not yet over by any stretch - there was warmth in it even before 8am.
Onward we continued, stopping briefly for water at Slapton Lock - the water pressure here was very good - maybe because everyone was still in bed - we have used it before and has been a quick filler.
We had a provisional target of Marsworth, but even we thought that was a bit adventurous until we were through the swing bridge just before Pittstone Wharf and then we knew we would make it before the forecasted heavy rain appeared.
Just as we were getting through the two locks below Marsworth, the rain did start to appear - just enough that we should put our coats on.
Fortunately we were moored up safely and snuggly just after bridge 129 before it really came down.
No more movement today.

Wednesday was very much a different day - the weather reports indicated that it would rain until sometime after 10am and before 11am, but after that there would be some not so heavy rain.
When it stopped just on 10am we decided that we would be off

With only the Marsworth Locks to do before the summit pound we thought that we could get through that fairly quickly and then a bit of cruising before beginning the descent.

What you think will happen and what does happen are two entirely different things.

At every lock we either met a single boat that was coming down and had only just filled the lock and then took their time getting through - one chap (not on his own) refused any help, wanting to do it his way and proceeded to open all paddles and then both gates, close them in a non-methodical way, do the same on the bottom gates - or we had to empty locks left full from the two boats that we found out were in front of us
Anyway, we were nearly 2 hours getting through and by the time we were about to exit the top lock, the rain had started.
Ironically, this was the only lock where we had any luck - a hire boat coming out from the Wendover arm was heading down the flight, so we could leave the gate open.
The intensity of the rain increased and after steering between moored boats on both sides, Diane headed inside (out of the rain) and left it to me.
We were a little speck on the weather map under the yellow section near
Aylesbury - I was a tinier speck left out in the open

Before anyone suggests that she was escaping the downpour and leaving me out there alone, it had already been prearranged - she had dreamt up found imagined several things that had to get done - things like dusting the bananas, tidying the bookshelf, rearranging the pens in their holder - very important stuff.
I do however know that just after the Tring cutting, after I was drenched from the thunderstorm, there were hot sausage rolls coming out and fresh tea - later on when I went inside I did discover that it was all clean and tidy and vacuumed - things not possible to be done when there are locks to do.

Better to have just one person soaked than both - next time, I think I will have an urgent batch of brownies to bake.

We combined well to work through the locks on the descent into Berkhamstead - only one lock was shared, all of the other locks during the two days we were on our own.

Most annoying of all, was that there was a single-handed boater just in front of us, who was completing a lock and saw us approaching, gave no sign of aknowledgement, apart from looking back at us a few times. As we were cruising between locks 49 and 50 a boat crew heading the other way said that he was waiting for us at the next lock - his words not theirs - as we approached he was hauling his boat out of the lock to go to the next one.

We had a boat coming the other way and didn't see him again, but it would have been of benefit to us both to share the lock and halve the exertion, but more importantly it would have saved precious water.

As my grandfather (from Lancashire) used to say "you can't put brains in statues".

We eventually moored up in Berkhamstead before a little more rain after which we ventured up into the town to explore and Diane had a need for some crisps, cake and coffee, which I had to help her moderate her intake.

After two hard days we will be taking it a bit easy for at least tomorrow.

25 Miles,  31 Locks, 2 Swing Bridges
YTD: 779 Miles (1254 km) , 459 Locks, 14 Tunnels, 11 Lift Bridges, 15 Swing Bridges
Total: 3673 Miles (5911 km) , 2580 Locks, 112 Tunnels, 45 Lift Bridges, 166 Swing Bridges


  1. Hi, I find this is the best site to see if rainfall is imminent. It's accurate and updates every 20mins approx. It does get a bit addictive but so handy if you have to take the dog for a walk before it rains.Best of all it's FREE :-) Look at the Rainfall Radar button.

  2. Ray and Diane,

    Rachael and I will be heading off to Rickmansworth tomorrow (Saturday), I have no idea where we will cross paths except that it will be in the next few days. We hope to catch up at least for a chat on the cut or even a drink if we manage to moor in the same locale.

    Kelvin (nb Serafina)