Simpson to Marsworth
Easter Sunday 4th April 2010
Here we are in Marsworth then. Its been a great run today as I set off about 9am and got here about 7pm so the batteries are well topped up, but TV reception isn’t great here and 3G broadband is almost non existent, certainly on O2 and T-Mobile, so I popped out to the pub for a couple of beers instead. Note the reference to topped up batteries, which is something that seems somewhat uncommon here.
Marsworth is certainly a lovely place and I can see why mooring vacancies here attract a lot of interest, but I do have to make an observation that between the BW Marsworth Yard and the main road bridge, where there are currently maybe 15 boats moored on both Residential and Leisure Long Term moorings, at least half of them are running engines or generators right now between 21:30 and 22:00 - like no other place I have ever moored. Normally running the engine 1 minute after the normally accepted 8pm deadline attracts mumblings if not bangings on the cabin side so I can only assume there’s some sort of local agreement that nobody will complain because everyone does it.
Marsworth is such a picturesque location, with a great dog friendly pub, the Anglers Retreat, and a dog friendly coffee shop beside the bottom lock but its certainly not a peaceful place.
Anyway today has been very pleasant with a blue sky but slightly windy, and being a bank holiday the towpath was very busy with walkers and cyclists many of whom seemed to have had punctures between Grove Lock and Slapton due to thorns on the towpath! A mobile tyre repair service could be making a fortune here!
I passed Nuggler in the Soulbury Three Locks, on their way to the Lancaster Canal, and this is the first time I have seen the refurbished Three Locks pub which seems to be getting some good reviews since being reopened almost exactly a year ago and recently achieved Cask Marque status according to the local CAMRA newsletter.
I have become so used to working on my own that its a bit of a shock to be joined by another boat, but towards the end of the day I was very grateful to see one approaching in the distance, so I waited then enjoyed the assistance of the twelve eager crew on a day boat from Pitstone Wharf, and the last few locks of the day soon disappeared, leaving only Pitstone swing bridge to do before they returned to base. Single handed this is slightly awkward as without an offside landing stage the boat has to be walked through the bridge hole but with good timing an oncoming boat had left it open for us. I thanked the hireboaters for their help - all they had to do was to close the bridge behind us but when I looked back in the distance, they had left it open and despite my best “close the bridge” gestures, all I got was a wave back. Doh!
17 miles and 17 locks – the end is in sight!