Kings Langley to Fenny Stratford
Just a brief catch up post.
We have spent a challenging three days working our way northwards along the Grand Union Canal to attend the Cosgrove Festival this weekend. This was always going to be a stretch as we have just six days to get from Little Venice to Cosgrove, which is just north of Milton Keynes.
The Grand Union is a long hard slog up to the Tring Summit which sits nearly 400 ft above sea level. Most of the locks were set against us and after a good start progress slowed. Yesterday we managed just 8 mile of progress on account of the 23 locks which stood in our way. I have to admit that I have a new found admiration for the old boaters who did the London to Birmingham run week in, week out. That long hard slog up the hill to Tring, and then most of the way back down again before attacking the next summit before Braunston. This wasn't a route for wimps.
And its not just the locks which have been against us.
Last night the long hot spell of weather ended with a spectacular thunderstorm which rolled on for hours. Buoyed by the cooler temperatures we were up and away before nine am and made it through just two locks when an alarm sounded. I turned off the engine and lifted the deck board, only to be greeted by a waft of very plastic smoke. Hmm, drat and double drat. The RCR were called and they confirmed my suspicion - a fried domestic alternator. The bearings are shot and had we continued it would have caught fire - so we are thankful we got to it in time.
This means the engine wont recharge the battery bank, but we have turned off all the non essential kit and will now have to rely on the solar panels and a trickle charger powered by a generator when the sun hides away. The new unit is on order, but it will take several days to arrive.
Just to add insult to injury we managed to have the edge of the butty and the edge of the motor hook in the sides of two successive locks, tilting the boats alarmingly till they slid free. I really hate this happening. Then, I experienced the icing on the cake. I was looking at the map under a tree in Leighton Buzzard when a bird decided to poo all over me. I am not in the same league as Job, but I did feel just a little but aggrieved!
So here we are, a couple of miles south of Fenny Stratford, as far from any other boats as possible to let us run the genny late and give the battery bank a boost before the night. During the day we started to pass the trade boats gathering for the festivals in the area and tomorrow we will join the mail flotilla heading for Cosgrove.