Today started well. We slept well (our first time sleeping on the boat), had breakfast (my first time cooking on the boat), filled up the tanks with water and diesel (£200 worth of diesel! Ouch), and sallied forth.
It was very pleasant. Quiet and peaceful for the most part, despite being so close to London, and lots of wildlife to watch as we travel past at a sedately three miles per hour. We didn’t hit anything, we didn’t cause anybody else to have an accident, and we didn’t sink. Plus we managed three locks, including Downham Deep lock, the deepest lock (at 11 feet) on the entire Grand Union canal.
Three locks. Our provisional plan, made with the help of http://Canalplan.org.uk was 14 miles and 12 locks. We managed 7 miles and 3 locks. We made it to just before the Wide Water lock at Harford and decided to moor up for lunch and a rest before going through.
We did that. Lunch and a little nap. As we were preparing to go though the lock a helpful passerby told us that the water in the canal had dropped two feet in the last four hours, that the river authority was letting more water in to compensate but that some boats on that stretch had already grounded. We were advised to get through that stretch of canal as quickly as possible.
We didn’t 🙁 We didn’t even get through the lock. The problem is that the lower lock gates would not close properly, and leaked so much that water coming in through the sluice gates of the upper lock gates were not enough to equalise the water level, and so we couldn’t open the upper gates. Eventually we gave up, reversed out, moored up and sent an email to the river authorities.
And that’s where we are now, at the start of Day Two. Waiting below the lock for…..I don’t know. A miracle? The river authority to perform an emergency repair? Jenny is skipper and chief engineer; I am cook and head ritualist. I think my job this morning is to try to propitiate the Genius Loci and ask them, very nicely and politely, to help us out.
And to make breakfast, of course.