Sunday, 20 July 2014

Free hotel in London

Having had our bottom blacked and spent time on the Wendover and Aylesbury arms our next target was to get to London.  Last summer we went to Hyde Park to see Bon Jovi and then the Stones the following day.  We stayed in a hotel and vowed that in future we would get the boat to concerts to avoid the horrendous costs of hotels especially in central London.

We were due at the O2 on 20th July 2014 to see the final Monty Python show so that was why we were now headed for London.  We would go down the Grand Union from Bulbourne to Bulls Bridge junction (just south of Uxbridge) where we would turn left (east) down the Paddington arm into London.

This entailed going through Berkhamstead, Hemel Hempstead, Apsley (where the Basildon Bond paper mills originated), Watford, Rickmansworth and then Uxbridge. This was a lock intensive stretch with 45 locks over 32 miles.

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It was on this leg that I finally gave up work and as we needed to redecorate the inside of the boat (for a second time) I spent two or three days on the boat during the week, for a few weeks, on my own.  Here are some shots of me decorating.

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At Winkwell (east of Hemel) was a swing bridge.  You don’t get many on the Grand Union but this was extra special because you have constant spectators from the pub.

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At Springwell lock (near Maple Cross) we were able to moor next to a road so we brought a car load of pots and plants to the boat for the summer. 

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It was this lock that we saw a hen/stag limo get stuck on!

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We went under the M25 at J20 (A41):

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And we saw this boat with a car on the back as a cabin!

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There were a lot of heron on this stretch and even some ponies on the towpath.  Here are some wildlife shots:

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At Watford the canal runs right through The Grove, a luxury hotel, spa and golf course.  We stayed for a weekend (on the canal).

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Finally we arrived at Bulls Bridge junction.  The Grand Union continues down to the Thames at Brentford and we turned up the lock free pound to Paddington.

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Here are the 45 locks we went through (or the ones where I remembered to take photos).

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