Sun 23rd April Amwell to Nazeing Marsh
We set off from Amwell, and were able to turn round, as the canal here is quite wide. We cruised past the Lee and Stort Cruising Club, and spotted Annie and Walt moored up. We should see Lorraine and Mike at the weekend at Little Venice.
Annie and Walt
Stanstead lock is one of several in the country that has a swing bridge over the lock. Others include Fenny Stratford on the Grand Union, Hungerford Marsh Lock on the Kennet and Avon, and Sykehouse Lock on the New Junction Canal. The bridge in this case is used by the boat club members, and we had to wait for a delivery van to cross before we could use the lock.
Swing bridge at Stanstead Lock
We spotted Rosella II moored up with no-one apparently on board again. Perhaps we’ll catch up with them on the Thames later.
We had noticed on the way up that there was no overnight mooring allowed by the Rye House Gateway, and we predicted that this would be a good place to moor to visit Riverside Church not far away. It was as we had hoped, and we were able to moor conveniently to some bollards. There were bushes nearby for Hugo.
Rye House Gateway
We had a warm welcome at Riverside Church, where the worship was ably led by three ladies on keyboard, guitar and vocals. Four out of the five songs were new to us, and one in particular was a good one for us to learn.
We visited the nearby pub for lunch which was very pleasant, although they didn’t have a decent cider.
Rye House pub
On the way up we had noticed a large number of life boats, probably from ocean-going ships, being used as homes here on the Lee Navigation. We have seen occasional ones elsewhere on the system, but we decided to take photos of them all on the way back into London. As we approached Fielde’s Weir Lock we saw the first of these moored up, as well as Slow Gin just about to enter the lock. We shared the lock with them, but they stopped for water just below the lock, so we carried on.
Slow Gin and lifeboat 1
Fish and Eels pub
At Dobbs Weir Lock, there were two boats already in, so James helped them down. One of them stopped, so we caught up with the other one at Carthagena Lock. This was a lady who likes flowers, and if you start her off, she will tell you where each flower plant came from, and how she has looked after it. There is a tap in this lock, and she decided to wash her boat and water her flowers as the boat descended in the lock. She was still hosing when we left the lock. We do meet some wonderful characters on the canals.
The lady with the flowers
At Broxbourne, there are a number of day hire launches, and today they were all out in force, zig-zagging their erratic way from the middle of the channel to the bushes and back. Thankfully we avoided collisions, and passed beyond their allowed limit at King’s Weir, mooring just south of Nazeing Marsh.
Moored at Nazeing Marsh
4 locks, 5 miles, 1 swing bridge
Mon 24th April Nazeing Marsh to Waltham Abbey
After yesterday’s sunshine, this morning there was a mist on the water.
Morning mist at Nazeing Marsh
We headed down more locks through a very straight canal section, past some more life boats, to Waltham Abbey, where we moored just above the town lock.
We had shopping to do, so we went to explore. We had lunch in a very friendly cafe, and then, while Hazel went to Tesco, James had a haircut. After Tesco and Lidl, we returned to the boat via a different route and located the British Legion Hall, the venue for the folk club this evening.
Later we took our instruments and walked back to the Legion Hall where the Waltham Abbey Folk Club happens every Monday except public holidays. It was in singaround format, and we sang six songs. There was a small bar – Magners was the only cider. It was good fun, with some talented people, and others not so, as you would expect.
3 locks, 3 miles
Tue 25th April Waltham Abbey to Tottenham Hale
A bright morning near Waltham Abbey
Today we had some distance to travel, so we set off early, seeing more lifeboats as we went. We noticed that there is building site by the Waltham Abbey facility moorings, and the sanitary station is no longer there. However, there is the wooden frame of a shed or hut which will hopefully be a nice modern facility. Until the new neighbours complain and get it closed down!
Waltham Town Lock
We paused to use the facilities at Stonebridge Lock, where another boater was complaining about Canal and Rivers Trust staff having a cup of tea while there was litter to be cleared up. He had failed to realise that the “staff” were actually volunteers who were having a break from doing other useful unpaid jobs.
Then, as we moved into the lock, which is key operated, one of the paddles by the top gate remained up when it should have gone down. We therefore could not operate the lock. One of the volunteers helped us to reset it, and it worked fine.
We found that the moorings at Tottenham Hale were fuller than when we came through a few days ago, so we had to go further down the navigation before finding a place. We visited a pub called the Ferry Boat, enticingly described in the Nicholson Guide as a magnet for bird watchers, being situated on the banks of Low Maynard Reservoir. Well, it wasn’t on the banks of the reservoir. There was a thick hedge first, then a river, then another hedge. Walking round on the road to try to see some wild life, James found there was a high fence with “Keep Out” notices everywhere. Moreover, the pub had run out of lasagne, and didn’t have any sweet potato chips either. Bah! Humbug!
Wildlife highlights of the day: Two terrapins sitting on logs making the most of the sunlight, plus a swan with eight eggs in a nest
Swan with eight eggs
7 locks, 8 miles
Wed 26th April Tottenham Hale to Hackney Marsh
We moved a short distance to Springfield Marina, where we had arranged to have our shower pump replaced. While we were there we also bought another gas bottle. The fuel was only available on 60% propulsion / 40% domestic split so we declined. Two people appeared and asked if they could empty their three cassettes. They were told the charge was £5 each cassette. I suppose if it was free they would be inundated by all the non-moving boaters
We moved on downstream, intending to make for Victoria Park, where we had moored on the way up here. As we passed under Lea Bridge and past the Middlesex Filter beds, we spotted two ladies with at least 12 dogs, none of which were on leads, all trotting along and thankfully well behaved. I wonder what they would have done and what Hugo would have thought if he had been out and about at the time.
A pack of dogs
We stopped near Hackney Marsh, because we saw a space. If we had gone further, as we had planned, we may not have found anywhere. We took the opportunity to clean the boat roof, and the chairs we keep on the top. They were all very dusty as we have had very little rain since we left Aylesbury. Then we had dark clouds, hail, thunder, and heavy rain. It rinsed the boat nicely. We had nearly forgotten what rain looks like.
What’s this wet stuff?
Evening in Hackney
0 locks, 3 miles
Thu 27th April Hackney Marsh
Misty morning in Hackney
In looking for local shops on Bing Maps, James had spotted a National Trust property called Sutton House. Looking it up in our handbook we decided it was worth a visit, so we located all the bus stops online and caught a bus that went very close to it. It had been a Tudor merchant’s house originally, situated in the countryside, as shown on one of the models on display. They claimed to have the oldest toilet in the East End. At other times it been a church facility, then a breakers yard, and later it was claimed as a home by squatters.
There was a remarkable modified caravan in the garden, with its own staircase, ornate ceiling and chandelier inside.
A unique caravan
Playing with caravans
Inside the double caravan
From there we found our way to Tesco where we stocked up with a few items, returning by bus to the boat, just before a light rain shower.
No boating today
As there may not be time to finish this week’s blog tomorrow, I will conclude here.
Tomorrow we head into London for Little Venice Cavalcade. We are moored in the Pool, where we can see everything that is happening. Tomorrow (Friday) evening there is a fish and chip supper and waterways quiz. On Saturday there is an open mic event that we will take part in, and on Sunday there is a short service in the morning run by Graham Nunn (Church Army). On Sunday evening there is an illuminated procession, which we might join.
If you are around over the weekend come and say hello. We will have a large “Boaters Christian Fellowship” banner on the roof.
Next week we travel down to Brentford and onto the Thames, heading upstream to Weybridge, Staines and Windsor.