Berko we planned as our next stop. We have happy memories of our visit, there, last year and we were looking forward to a couple of days tied up.
Not a long haul to get there and we were on the move early in the day. Of course the weather forecast was for more than a possibility of rain but its arrival to be around midday. The Canal levels look like they could tolerate a fluid injection.
|Low waters of the Grand Union Canal|
We became aware that Berko was looming three Locks before we got close to town. We pulled up at Bushes Lock where I was greeted by a chap downing his 1100 hours can of lager. I assume not his first and definitely not his last. He was friendly but kept his distance while I was setting the Lock for DB to enter.
“Your boat is an old boat.” He declared.
“She’s 2 years old.” I said knowing that I was stepping into the trap.
“No she’s an old boat.” He repeated.
‘What a waste of space’, I thought. He took his can in the direction of Chris and repeated his words to him.
Gas Lock 1 and 2 followed. The top Lock was in our favour, just the gate to open and the next Lock was in view and in the process of a Narrowboat and a plastic boat leaving. It was too far for my voice to carry but I waved my arms and windlass in the hope they would be looking ahead. No chance and I watched the gate being closed. I left Chris in DB in the emptying Lock while I walked the 50 metres to open the gate they had closed. As I walked past them they said their boats were ‘doer uppers’. I said they can be whatever but it would have been thoughtful if they had left the Lock gate open.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.” Said one of them.
I walked on and due to it being a leaky Lock I had to wind up the paddle to get the gate open. I wasn’t going to rush back to let DB out. Canal- life games. I was probably the only player! Chill, Sarah, chillax.
Matey appeared later looking for his windlass. I shrugged my shoulders and carried on with my task.
We moved through Berko as the rain pelted down. Our favoured spot to moor was full with Narrowboats and we were tempted to be thoughtless and squash 68ft into 58ft of space before the next Lock and encroach on one of the bollards that are specifically for boats using the Lock. We half attempted to moor but we listened to the call of responsibility and 2 locks later we were tied onto our mooring pins and thinking that we’d stay there until the morning. The rain was easing when a ‘Kate holiday boat’ forgot that their water skier had fallen in and came past us at speed and ripped out our mooring pegs.
We took it as a message to fire up DB’s engine and head towards Hemel Hampstead and chance getting a mooring with rings opposite the Three Horseshoes Pub in Winkwell.
|Three Horseshoes Pub to port|
And so we did.