Having toured the north of England for a week or so with a few days at home in the Midlands, we travelled back to Harefield marina and resumed our journey. Caxton was just as we had left it and after we had dumped our luggage back on board, we walked to the nearby Bear on the Barge pub and had dinner.
We had a peaceful final night in the marina and the following morning moved on to the service wharf where we filled with water and diesel and bought gas, we got rid of our rubbish and other waste before settling our mooring fees and paying for our purchases.
Our exit from the marina had been hampered slightly by the boat which had tied on to us as we watered up but once we were free, the first thing to do was to ascend Widewater lock. We completed this task then headed northwards and negotiated another four locks before we reached the visitor moorings near Rickmansworth. Five years ago we spent a day here but this time we were able to devote a bit more time to the area. Rickmansworth has a good shopping area as well as a lovely park which has a couple of lakes where people can sail on one and water-ski on the other.
Using the excuse that we hadn’t had time to shop and replenish the larder, we had lunch in Prezzo on Friday and in Wetherspoons on Saturday.
When we were last in these parts, in 2012, we ventured no further than the local pub. With more time at our disposal this time around we took the opportunity to wander around the local communities of Denham, Lower Harefield and Harefield.
Denham is just a twenty minute walk from the canal and when we got there we found a handy parade of shops including a traditional butcher. Lower Harefield is a little closer and has a few shops including a post office, a chip shop and a Chinese takeaway amongst others. Harefield itself has a larger selection of shops but it is a good walk to get there and one that is uphill as well. We did that walk of course and then wandered down the other side to the Old Orchard where we enjoyed a lovely lunch. We continued our walk back down to the canal at copper mill lock and from there we walked back to our mooring above Widewater lock.
On the morning of Thursday 20th of July we turned around, descended back through Widewater lock and pushed Caxton into Harefield marina for a two week break; more of which in the next post.
Our mooring choice at Cowley Peachey had been a good one but on Tuesday it was time to move on again. We set off at eight and headed for Cowley lock which didn’t take too long despite our slow speed past the mile or so of moored boats. The lock was empty when we arrived so it only took a few minutes to get through and on to the service point above. We needed to do everything and the tap wasn’t the quickest that we’ve encountered so we made the most of it by running the washing machine and having our showers while we were there. Everything was complete just after nine so we untied and resumed our journey. Moored boats line the canal all the way through Uxbridge so we made slow progress until we reached the town lock. The weather was nice and we were in no hurry so we didn’t really mind the journey at tickover speed. Boats were moored three abreast below Denham deep lock but we’re narrow and the two boats which were leaving the lock were narrow too so we all had enough space. It made me think though that it might not have been so simple if we had a widebeam and were waiting for a similar size vessel to descend. Denham Deep is a big old lock so Sue took her time with the paddles and kept the water turbulence to a minimum so that I could keep control of the boat.
Once clear of the lock, we started looking for a suitable mooring close to Harefield marina and eventually found a spot just above widewater lock. We were pretty much in the same place that marked the furthest point of our trip in August 2012 on our first boat, Phoenix III. On that occasion we only ventured as far as the local pub, The Horse and Barge. Five years on and the pub has been renamed and is now The Bear on the Barge.