Norwood Top Lock to Kings Langley
6th August 2010
22 miles - 30 locks - 10 hours
A day which started brightly but soon descended to a drizzly murk, the kind which dampens without demanding waterproofs.
The six mile lockless pound from Norwood Top to Cowley is at best a bit dull. It is consistently tree lined passing modes housing and light industry - nothing to grab the attention of a slightly bored helmsman.
Whilst the scene above the water is nothing to blog home about, the reach from Norwood to Bulls Bridge is gin clear - giving us a good view of every scrap of debris on the canal bed. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. The entrance to the Paddington Arm is tempting, leading to Little Venice and beyond to Limehouse but that is an adventure which will have to wait.
Cowley marks the start of a relentless ascent, a lock a mile for hour after hour. Familiar names slip by: Slough, Uxbridge, West Drayton and Rickmansworth, places I know from the land but seemingly a bit out of place when connected by an unfamiliar waterway.
The stretch inside the M25 is notable for the number if moored boats - they seem to line every inch at times, miles and miles of them which makes for very slow progress. We passed by a sad looking Adelaide Marine, now home to a collection of BW workboats and I was put in mind of nb Caroline which set out from this spot in 2001 to explore the network and made public in the book "The Water Road". It came as something of a surprise to pass by Caroline a few miles to the north, spruced up in a shine new livery but I suspect that this is the same craft.
The scenery picks up with the arrival of Watford and Cassiobury Park, accompanied by the sparkling River Gade which slips in and out of the canal on a number of occasions.
Kings Langley Church
We moored up in a drizzly Kings Langley, making use of the very good chippy which is at the north end of the high street, a good 10 mins walk from the canal. The High Street offers the best of this little town, with its neat Georgian houses and a pretty little church. Nothing to set the pulse a racing but a full compliment of services and worth the effort.
The M25 dominates the area, passing by on an elevated section and casting a steady drone over the area.