We’re heading north up the Grand Union now, retracing our steps but taking it a LOT more slowly. Our first stop off was at Bull’s Bridge, where we managed to find a spot right outside Tesco. Thanks again Gladys! Last year Paul and Elaine on Caxton took a photograph of the Bull’s Bridge dry dock – it was full of rubbish.
They wrote a complaining letter to Tesco, who are responsible for the dock, which must have had some effect because a year later it looks like this.
One of the things on our to do list for the way back up was a trip up the Slough Arm of the Grand Union. It’s only five miles long and there’s no mooring at the top but we decided to go up and down it anyway. We weren’t expecting a great deal from what is basically a very urban canal but we were pleasantly surprised. If you blink you’ll miss the entrance – it looks more like the way into the marina that’s right at the beginning of the canal than a waterway in its own right.
It had been dredged in August and so was not shallow or weedy and, by urban canal standards, it was pretty clean.
On the way up Gordon had spotted several large pieces of wood and marked them down for retrieval on the way back down. Most boaters love a bit of free wood to burn in the winter – hence it’s nickname of boaters’ gold.
The following day we hit pay dirt in the form of a load of wood from trees cut down by CRT staff and considerately left in chunks to be picked up by passing boaters. We’d been sharing locks with a young man from London (turns out, in yet another of those freaky co-incidences that have been so common this summer, that he’s a good friend of another friend of ours in Cornwall) when we passed a stack of cut wood, then another, then another. Enough wood for several boats! We thought about it, did an about turn, and headed back. This was the mother lode, the pot of boaters’ gold at the end of the rainbow.
This was only one of the piles of wood and even that hadn’t been completely depleted when we left. Plenty more for other boats to pick up!