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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ware to Roydon.

Monday 12th May.

Ware to Hertford. 1.3 miles….. 2 locks.

Oh what a beautiful morning, yes another fine start to the day. We are really lucky with the weather right now, so whilst it is this warm we thought we would set off pretty early to cruise to Hertford, where on my birth certificate it says I was registered. I was actually born in Brickendon, not to far away.
At 8.10am we set off leaving Ware Town Quay behind us, and headed for the first lock of the two for the day Ware Lock. Which is the only lock on the British Waterways run by the Environment Agency.The scenery is pretty amazing no matter in which direction you look.
We passed NB Tollington, which was built by Roger Fuller in 1992, we found out from it’s now owner. The navigation takes us through water meadows and wooded parkland, both stunning.
The one thing we have seen quite a bit of since being on the River Lee Navigation is Clematis Montana Growing wild, just hanging off of trees and bushes and very pretty it looks.A splash of colour over the green of the shrubs.
The main road we passed under today was the A10, which like all main roads was heaving with traffic, all rushing to and from their destinations. The roaring noise always gets me, and I always know where I would rather be.
We then enter Hertford via Hertford Lock, which has a rather pretty 19th-C lock cottage. We pass a row of pretty bow windowed cottages and The Barge Inn, before ducking beneath Folly Bridge, and I do mean ducking because it is very low. At this point we had to wind Hadar as she could go no further. So we turned her at the Clapboarded barn, Which has been converted into apartments and headed back under Folly Bridge and past The Barge Inn.We then moored up on 14 day moorings, which over look some very well kept allotments. Keith and I had a look to see what delights were being grown, Rhubarb, Onions, Broad Beans, Lettuce, Gooseberries, Raspberries the list could go on.
Having enjoying a cup of coffee, we ventured into Hertford itself to see what delights it held as neither of us had been here before. We found that it is actually a pretty place, with many shops, pubs and places to eat. It also has a Museum which is sadly closed on Monday’s. Hertford has a long history and in the 9th C was invaded by the Danes, they were seen off by King Alfred the Great. Hertford has its own Castle built in 1100; it belonged to the Cecil family after Prince Charles, son of James 1sr sold it. It is said that King John of France and David Bruce of Scotland were both imprisoned at the castle. The actually castle no longer remains as the original, but a 12th-C curtain wall can been seen as can the 15th-C gatehouse. The Castle now belongs to the council; they have their some offices there. You can still see some of the regalia in prepared rooms and is worth a visit if you are into History.
Hertford is or was known for its Antique shops. We only actually found two, but enjoyed a nose around as you do, when you just know nosing is all you can afford.
Lunch time was calling so we decided to have lunch out at The Woolpack Inn, and very nice it was too. We sat outside by the river and enjoyed some very well prepared and cooked food, not only that Keith partook in one of the local McMullen Ales, which he reckoned was worth the trip alone. Hertford has its own brewery McMullen; they have a brewery in the town.
We are so pleased we made the short trip to Hertford it is a pretty town.

Tuesday 13th May.

Hertford to Roydon. 6.7 miles and 6 locks.

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, because that is what it is and was when we got up this morning. Another glorious day to be alive, even Paddy had a spring in his step whilst walking in Hertford Park, near the Leisure Centre which has a swimming pool.
Our destination today was to get onto the Stort Navigation, so we cast off at 8.40 am and headed back down the River Lee Navigation. Our overnight mooring was blissfully quiet, so worth going there again. We ser off past Hertford Marina and Beatrice which was built by Roger Fuller and made our way to Hertford Lock. With Hadar safely in the lock and the paddles up to let her descend, I took in the fantastic view before me. A little bit of heaven on earth.We cruised past the water meadows and the lovely views. What a way to begin a mornings cruising. It made working the heavy lock gates worth while.
Even the swans were enjoying the weather with their very young family.We arrived back at Ware Lock, and got chatting to the owner of NB Tollington another Roger Fuller boat, and noticed that a Great Crested Grebe was nesting in full view by the weir; she was not fazed by us at all. It is the first time I have seen one nesting so out in the open.We said our goodbye’s to Tollington’s owner and made our way through Ware and down through Stanstead Lock. Where we saw another Roger Fuller boat NB Barnabas. We knew this boat as it had been moored opposite Roger’s yard whilst Hadar was being built.It seemed to be a day for spot the Fuller boat LOL. It was nice to see they were all in pretty good shape.
It was back past The Rye House pub and the Karting circuit and then to the junction for the Stort Navigation. This yet again is a whole new territory, but Keith remembers doing the Stort with his parents in their first boat, he only remembers Roydon though, which is our port of call for the day. We have been told that the Stort is very beautiful, so I am hoping for great things.
First lock (Lower Lock) and we met a BW work boat just leaving the lock going our way, so luck was not on our side. However by the time we reached Lock 2 (Brick Lock) they were already emptying the lock and they kindly called us on.Whilst working the lock I got chatting to one of the guy’s, and was asking him about the Stort, he was saying the only complaints they were getting was “The vegetation needs cutting back and there are not enough visitor moorings”. Well we shall see when we continue our journey. We said our thank you’s for them allowing us to go ahead and left them to shut the lock gets. Not long after leaving them we found a place to moor opposite Roydon Mill, so pulled in and Keith hammered in our 3ft mooring stakes.
Being it was now 12.20pm we had some lunch before taking a walk into the village of Roydon. Roydon is a sweet little place with clapboarded and Georgian houses around a triangular green. There is a real mixture of the old and the new. One of the clapboard houses dated back to the 1400’s, which is really amazing. If you are in need of a drink there are three pubs, the prettiest being The New Inn.The village has a chemist, post office, which is attached to a small grocery shop. There is also the tiniest dentist surgery we have ever seen. You walk in off the street and straight into the dentist’s chair. Roydon also has a railway station which looks so pretty with its station building, but we discovered that it is no longer the station building; it is infact an Italian Restaurant now.So as you sit and eat your spag bol, it gets shaken and stirred when the trains rumble past LOL.
On walking back to the boat we called in at Roydon Mill, as we had been told by another boater that they had a laundrette there and it could be used by the public after 5pm, the rest of the day it was used by the people who own Roydon Mill and by those who use the mobile homes on the park. We soon found out by asking at the reception that the laundrette is only for use by the park and not boaters, so don’t go there thinking you can get your smalls washed because you cannot anymore. Oh well I only wanted to wash a mat which will not fit in our machine. It will keep for another day. Roydon Mill is now the headquarters of a large residential and holiday Caravan Park, they are also having log cabins built for people to buy, but they start at over £200.000 each. Not a cheap option for housing.
Our biggest shock of the day came when Keith opened his e-mails. He had made an enquiry to the Crick Boat Show as to how much it would cost to bring Hadar to the 2009 show. Keith almost dropped off of his seat when he worked it out for the mooring alone it would cost us £92.28, that is £3.57 a metre, it does not include your entrance fee to the event. So I guess we will not be attending that show anytime soon. The rest of our day will be spent quietly on the boat out of the sun.

3 comments:

Ben Grundy said...

£92!!! That does seem expensive.

However, they can't take over all of the towpath so I'm sure you could visit and moor up some distance from the site itself. Just a thought.

Love the blog and the boat by the way,

Ben
NB Beatty

Keith & Jo said...

Hi Ben.
Welcom onboard. Pleased you are enjoying the blog, never easy to know if it is interesting enough ha ha ha.
£92 just for the boat is way to expensive, on top of that you have your entraqnce fee which is £8 per person for a day ticket or £16 a person for the 3 days ticket. When you consider none of this money goes back into the waterways, it is extortion. At least any money made at the IWA festival goes to the waterways. For that we are paying £50 all in for the whole weekend.
I hope you have a lovely weekend no matter the weather... Jo

Maureen said...

Wow, lovely pics as always; glad to see you had great weather!

Love the swan shot!!!