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RebeccaM

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    Hertfordshire
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    TfL

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  1. Hawkesbury Junction & Stop Lock, 6th July 2022, with Madeleine from Kate Boats. I stumbled across an old thread a few days before we left and found out that Madeleine was (is?) a sponsored boat built for someone who used to post here, although they haven’t visited since February last year.
  2. We hired Poppy from Wyvern last year, who had a max headroom of 6’6 - my husband is 6’2. Being a fairly standard hire layout all the passages were down the side of the boat where the height is at its lowest. We didn’t take her anywhere particularly shallow or through any low tunnels so can’t say whether that would have been an issue, and being a hire boat there was nothing like a chimney or pram cover etc to increase the roof profile - probably the life ring was the highest point!
  3. Oh, new reading material - excellent! Our next holiday is only a few days away so currently reading like mad because I’ve run out of planning to do but it’s too early to start the packing. We’re going with Kate Boats this time though. We went to The Globe Inn this past weekend for our wedding anniversary and wandered down to the Wyvern base and spotted Poppy moored up.
  4. 25th June 2022, around Leighton Lock (some new hirers receiving tuition!) and the Wyvern base.
  5. I was thinking quiet in not-many-other-people terms rather than noise terms, but it is a good point. (The person who left the comment on CanalPlan mentions the railway so I was aware it was near) We coped fine when we moored at Dudswell where the railway was quite close by so hopefully it won't be too bad - although to be fair on that trip we had rather more locks so we were conking out at 9:30pm and sleeping like the dead, though we did wake early most mornings. Husband usually takes earplugs anyway and after some serious issues with neighbours some years ago I've generally only been able to sleep with some form of white noise going.
  6. Boxmoor Floating Market, June 2nd 2022 (I feel like that last picture would make a really annoying jigsaw puzzle....)
  7. Because I'm mostly into photography, although we did take along a video camera on our last holiday, I didn't use it as much (it's also ancient, and cheap... unlike the camera!). However I did occasionally balance it on the boat roof and let it video as we went along. I have a conversation recorded in a Berko lock (52 it looks like) where a passerby - who you can't see - asked if it was our boat. Apparently she wanted to know how the curtain fabric was - part of the conversation is a bit drowned out by a passing train but I think she was wanting seat covers made in something similar. She moored at Cow Roast and thought it might be our own boat because it looked so nice and you don't see many hirers that far south. Apparently I was also worried a dog was going to jump in the lock! The major downside to playing it all back is the oh-my-gosh-does-my-voice-really-sound-like-that issue! There's a conversation we have while coming back out of Berko and I sound like I'm giving the Queen's Speech at Christmas.
  8. Thanks for this information; when I was tweaking the overnight stops on CanalPlan a day or two back I actually ended up putting in Hopsford Valley Aqueduct as our stopping point - it seems like it might be okay, Google Maps satellite view shows a couple of moored boats! It seems to be about a twenty minute walk along the towpath to Ansty from there so we can always moor up and then the husband can be despatched to look for possible mooring sites in Ansty itself if we're not too happy with it. But we do prefer the quieter moorings anyway. The reasoning behind the realignment on the Oxford was all about trying to speed things up though wasn't it, after what is now the Grand Union started providing a slightly faster route? So they may have felt it was worth the expense.
  9. John Todd's "Cruising the Oxford Canal" says: "This new tunnel has a towpath on either side. The tunnel portals were built with long ramps at either end. Thus they could be used as huge turnover bridges to access the tunnel's 'offside' towpath." Presumably (assuming he's correct) once horses were no longer in use these were no longer maintained as access to the offside was no longer needed.
  10. Thanks for the waterpoint comments so far; Canal Plan obviously shows them all but unless you click through to each AND someone has left a comment it's hard to know which are most useful and which are awkward. We used the Berkhamsted one last time which was a pain due to a collapsed in bollard making it difficult to tie the boat up but it would be hard to know that until you got there!
  11. They have clear bin bags at work (London Underground) but not sure how easy they are for the general public to get hold of. I have now remembered another question I was going to ask: any water points that are best avoided due to low pressure, connection issues, someone is always moored there, always a queue etc? Or the flip side, which water points are best to use?
  12. Probably depends at what stage the sorting is done - if it's done after everything is collected and thrown together possibly it's irrelevant whether it's bagged or not? I'm not sure how it works. I do know work provided a recycling bin in the mess room when our new depot opened in 2016, which some of us dutifully use... but if you have one of the rare duties where your meal break is actually at our depot and coincides with the cleaner's rounds, you'll see him empty it into the same bag as the regular one! I've no idea if that gets sorted later or not, but it does seem a bit pointless to provide the separate bin in the first place if you're just going to throw it all in together anyway.
  13. Firstly, thanks to everyone who has replied. I need to sit down with Canal Plan tomorrow and have a play around with some of your mooring suggestions to see how the times work out, and no doubt that will narrow down the food options further as well. Thanks for all your answers! I don't think it's particularly unattractive from having seen the Waterway Routes DVD and also an old video of it (about 25 years old though so bound to be changes!!) but wanted to forestall the comments - almost every old thread I came across where people were asking for advice/opinons on the route tended to have someone saying it wasn't a great part. Sometimes it was relevant (when people were choosing between several route options), but often it wasn't. I'm not sure we'll find the northern portal of the tunnel...! Is that "The Boat Shop"? I actually emailed them to check their opening times recently, some places seemed to suggest they had extended opening hours in the summer and I was hoping that if we got an early start from Stockton and made good time we might make it on the first night before they close. Unfortunately they're closing at 6pm so it's highly unlikely, so we'll probably stop on the way back instead. I've got my eye on one of the cross stitch kits, having finished my last one (a ballerina design) a couple of weeks back. We did all our meals on the boat last time - partly through lack of choices, partly because it was still the tail end of the covid restrictions so it was difficult to know if we'd be able to. I do want to eat out once this time but it probably will only be the once! I'm sure we'd probably use the light in the tunnel for the novelty/photo opportunity even if it isn't necessary knowing us. We got the gangplank out when we moored for lunch once last time - my husband could actually get off the boat without it (...he's 6'2 and it's almost all in his legs!) but we wanted to say we'd used it! We used mooring pins at every mooring last time so not too concerned about that aspect (especially as it wouldn't be overnight) if we moor there for the castle visit - useful to know it is doable if the official mooring is full, thank you. Ah, that looks helpful! Husband does the locks generally, we go a bit against the grain there - I don't think he'll risk his hands as he plays piano/organ...! Yes, I'd seen various threads about the lights gradually going out and not being replaced; shame as it would have made for nice pictures! Likewise looking at the pictures in the massive photo thread I've seen that the cat painted under one of the bridges at Hawkesbury is fading away, and that's something we want to try to photograph. It wasn't the reason for going that way but it is a nice bonus as we are both a bit cat mad. We took our recycling (and possibly all our rubbish, I can't remember!) home last time. I actually couldn't care less where the recycling goes, but husband is a bit recycling-mad (his parents were very into it back in the eighties when he was a child) and is the sort of person who will pick up all the rubbish he finds anywhere too and rather than chuck it in a public bin, will bring it home to recycle. (Mostly a good quality until you're on a walk, want to hold hands, and realise he's picked up three beer cans and a water bottle that's spent at least a week in a muddy puddle....) It's not so much the early start that bothers me regarding get past the locks, so much as the irrational fear someone will break them overnight and we'd be stuck at the last hurdle! The Waterway Routes did seem to suggest there was some okay spots to moor beyond them so good to have that confirmed. That's a couple of recommendations for the fish and chips there... personally I'd be all for it but the husband is not mad on them! I might be able to do some arm twisting though. I do remember we had fish and chips for lunch while visiting St David's some years back. I don't remember what the fish was like but the chips there were extremely good.. unfortunately the weather wasn't! When we hired last year with Wyvern they did supply (very basic) fenders, but I rather gathered from my research at the time that not all hire companies do, apparently because of hirers forgetting to take them up. (I don't think we ever forgot that - we did forget to put them out once when moored for lunch but realised before fully securing the boat so we were able to push it out a little and drop them into place!) Kate Boats don't list them in their inventory of boat equipment so not sure if they will. Oh, a few free golf balls would be useful. I coach netball and often do passing games where we add in smaller and smaller balls - smallest I currently use is a tennis ball, someone was muttering "it'll be a ping pong ball next" last time I did it, golf ball would be about that size! Or on the other hand given how often those games descend into choas with balls flying everywhere (and how much I hate using first aid skills), perhaps a golf ball might not be wise. Funnily enough when I first started planning I believe it was the Wyken Arm I had as our destination. It was only when I watched the Waterway Routes DVD that I realised that getting to (or more importantly, turning at) Hawkesbury would be doable. I hope that was everything I meant to reply to! Thank you again for everyone's comments and advice so far. PS: apologies if there are some random letters inserted somewhere in this post - the cursor leapt somewhere random at some point while I was typing, but I couldn't see where! I also hope I've kept all the quotes straight.
  14. Hi all, Following last year's successful holiday with Wyvern, we've booked for this year with Kate Boats. We're going from Stockton and doing a mid-week short break, Mon-Fri, in early July. Now that we're getting close enough that preliminary weather forecasts will be appearing over the next few days, it's time to finalise the journey plan and ask all the annoying questions that have been building up in my mind. I have done a lot of reading back on old threads but at some point you realise you're about to leave a comment on something that was last posted on in 2009! And things like pubs and restaurants have a lot of churn at the best of times, not helped by Covid, so half the places that are must eat at/never eat at are closed anyway. We've got fairly up to date Pearsons and Nicholsons, plus the Waterway Routes maps and using Canal Plan etc. Plan is to do Stockton to - hopefully - Hawkesbury Junction and back. I know it's not the most scenic or interesting route but there are things along the way we want to stop and see so, unless there is an emergency stoppage that prevents it, that is the route and although I can't stop you posting your alternative suggestions for benefits of other readers of this thread, they will fall on deaf ears in my case. Or perhaps I should say blind eyes? I'm sticking numbers on the questions so hopefully we can keep straight what people are replying to...! 1) If you were going to go out to eat in one place only along this route, where would it be? 2) I gather that on some or all of the new sections of the north Oxford Canal, the sides were built with a slope that can make mooring difficult - is this the case on every bit of every new section or is it more a case of knowing where it is...? 3) One thing we're hoping to do is visit Brinklow "Castle"(!) - also known as The Tump. It looks like the nearest place on the canal is bridge 34 (Easenhall Lane) - but immediately north of here is where there is a collapsed cutting narrowing navigation, plus it seems to be on a new section (see mooring concerns in question 2!) so is the safest bet to moor on the visitor moorings at All Oaks, or is it possible to moor safely just south of Bridge 34? Has anyone visited it before? 4) Although I've played around in CanalPlan for the overall itinerary, I'm not exactly sure of our overnight stops yet. I've got Braunston Visitor Moorings, Ansty Visitor Moorings and Newbold Visitor Moorings in as placeholders for now, but we'd be happiest with fairly quiet rural moorings - any suggestions for places en route that might be worth considering? And on our last night we will need to moor between Calcutt Locks and Kate Boats at Stockton, any suggestions/advice for best places? 5) Do we need to use the tunnel light for Newbold Tunnel; I have a vague recollection of reading somewhere that if a tunnel is under a certain length it's not needed? 6) We hope to walk down to find the old tunnel portal at Newbold, which is apparently on the edge of St Boltoph's Churchyard and not too difficult to find, any advice? 7) Barley Mow website suggests they'll take rubbish for recycling, anyone used this? I'll probably drop them a message anyway but interested to know if anyone has. 8)We did a lot of locks on our previous visit so not too concerned about that, but I gather the paddle gear at the Calcutt Locks is a bit different to that fitted on the southern bit of the GU that we did last time (Linslade to Berko). Any advice we need to be aware of? (Although I expect Kate Boats will let us know anyway!) Also, I think there are often volunteers at Hillmorton Locks, is that correct - we're likely to be going through on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Not too fussed about whether they will be there or not but nice to know what to expect! 9) Any advice for things to look out for on the way, particularly good spots for photos or so on? 10) Any recommendations for an iPhone app that can give a fairly accurate measure of the speed we're doing on the boat, mostly for curiousity's sake? Last time our times averaged out to match CanalPlan but I think we went quicker through locks than I anticipated and cruised slower. It would be useful to know. I will probably think of half a dozen things I meant to ask as well so I might be adding to this later! Thank you in advance for any help.
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