This short walk along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal was the first time I had visited this area. It covered a section of the Marsworth Locks (parking in a small car park at Marsworth Reservoir) and then climbing up gently to the “top” where it is joined by the Wendover Arm at Bulbourne Junction. A simple and very enjoyable afternoon stroll with family was enhanced by the chance meeting of others going about their everyday business.
The first meeting was with a couple navigating a lock on their narrow boat. The gentleman (doing the work of opening the gates etc) was waiting for the water level to reduce in the lock. So I took the opportunity to have a quick word about “dates” engraved in the lock walls. Well, it transpired that I couldn’t have asked a better person. He was able to provide a potted history of the Grand Union Canal in the time it took to empty the water. (That particular lock had been completed in 1867).
He explained that they had spent the past three weeks traveling down to London and back. Enjoying places at their leisure and stopping, more or less, when they wanted. He suggested that near good pubs was an ideal overnight stop.
Further along our walk we met a couple of “maintenance” men. At least that seems to be the best way of describing them. They were returning back up the towpath checking that all the lock gates were properly closed and the sluices were set correctly.
As with the “traveling couple” these two seemed only too keen to share stories and tales of their days on the canal. A very interesting couple of minutes spent with them.
By now time was moving on and we were returning to the car. The path narrowed and passed between the canal and the reservoir which stores water to be transferred back up and into the canal as and when required.
It was here that a couple of anglers had set up camp. I do mean camp as they had everything with them. Certainly lots of rods. Chatting to one of them confirmed that it was in fact a camp as he had already been there overnight and was staying for another couple of days/nights. I guess that’s dedication to your sport. However, it seems to have paid off for this angler as he had, in the past, caught 30lb Carp and 28lb Catfish from this exact spot.
OK I hear you call out – well he would say that. But he supported his claims with photographs of his catches. (He was recognisable and so was the location).