I had a nice chat with the crew of a canoe that was about to be launched into the top level too.
We cruised the Tring top level very sedately enjoying the sunshine and warmth of the June day. The cutting is overshadowed for quite a distance but sunglasses were essential today. There was a huge number of teenagers with huge backpacks and OS maps walking the tow path in groups of six. Obviously out for their Duke of Edinburgh Award Gold expedition. It brought back memories of walking the Surrey Hills and woods around Abinger on my Boy Scout First Class two day Hike, the equivalent in 1964!
There were a few boats on the move today and plenty of anglers enjoying the warmth too. But no sight of the kingfishers who nest in the cutting, I expect the hiking activity pushed them on to the river to fish for lunch.
The canoe had got ahead and cruised quicker and was tied against a water filled CRT hopper opposite the CRT Bulbourne yard. Why towpath side? Your guess is as good as mine. We found a mooring just passed Bridge 136 that was exactly the right size for us. The bank is steep here but the rings are conveniently spaced for our length and corresponded exactly to our mooring points fore, aft and centre.
We went to the Grand Junction pub for a delightful lunch. This independent pub has its own vegetable garden to supply its kitchens and sources local produce to support its home cooked menu. A very enjoyable meal with local Tring Brewery Ridgeway Ale.
After this all we had to do was walk back to Cowroast to retrieve the car. An uneventful but enjoyed walk with numerous cyclists and more of the back packing hikers, one of whom was heard to mutter that she would not finish the hike! On over hearing this I could not stop myself encouragingly saying "Of course you can!" "Thank you", she politely responded. I hope she did.
At Cowroast Lock we were fortunate to meet up with the man from the lock cottage. No longer a lock keeper but an independent gardener who works 8 acres and still finds time for the most beautifully kept English country cottage garden. So much colour and four hives of bees, one with a newly arrived swarm of bees establishing itself. We had an interesting discussion n the causes of the decline in bees, which he put down to the increase in digital communication activity confusing the bees navigation systems. A real possibility.
3 miles, 1 lock: 2 hours boating, 2 hours walking and 2 hours eating and chatting