Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Free Beer and Super Moons - 12th August

Last night was a night of contrasts with first a lovely rainbow and then the Super Moon lit up the sky like daylight.

1 Rainbow Super Moon

As we left our mooring we passed the Fishery Inn, which is only circa 1905 but has a nice canal frontage. The girls worked really well today and we were soon at  our first Swing Bridge at Winkwell with the Three Horseshoes pub nestling next to it. Very little traffic was on the lane despite it being near to rush hour so we did not hold up the business of the day.

2 Fishery Inn and Swing Bridge

Here are a couple of interesting boats we spotted on the run today, both unusual designs to see on a canal.

3 Boats

Entering Berkhamstead was a delight with all the flowers, weeping willows, parkland and lovely properties bordering the canal. For beer lovers it would be even better as the Rising Sun Pub was advertising “FREE BEER INSIDE”.

4 Free Beer

Bridge 142 at Ravens Lane Lock proudly announces our arrival in the “Port of Berkhamstead” a throw back to the days when Castle Wharf was a hub of the inland water transport and boat building activity.

At Bridge 141 there is a Totem Pole making us think we were back in Canada. In the early 1960s, Roger Alsford, a great-grandson of the founder of the timber company, James Alsford (1841–1912), went to work at the Tahsis lumber mill on Vancouver Island. During a strike he was rescued from starvation by a local Kwakiutl community. Alsford's brother, William John Alsford, visited the island, and in gratitude for their hospitality, commissioned a totem pole from the Canadian First Nations artist Henry Hunt. The western red cedar pole, 30 feet long and 3 feet in diameter, was carved by Hunt at Thunderbird Park, a centre for First Nation monuments. The completed pole was shipped to Britain and erected at Alsford's Wharf in 1968.

The bridge also supports a plaque in the centre which commemorates the Canal Duke, Francis Egerton of Berkhamsted, 1735 to 1803. It was erected on the 200th anniversary of his death in 2003. He was the 3rd Lord Bridgwater and lived at Ashridge near Berkhamsted. He is seen as the father of the inland waterways system, having commissioned the Bridgwater canal from his coal mines in Worsley near Manchester in the 1770s and having lived long enough to see the Grand Junction canal from London to Berkhamsted completed in 1798. He died before it was extended to Birmingham.

5 Port of Berkhamstead

Despite the odd shower we decided to press on to Cow Roast and during this stretch of out journey passed more moving boats than we have seen for a couple of weeks and even had the odd lock in our favour.

The name "Cow Roast" is believed to have come from the corruption of its original name "Cow Rest. This is likely due to it being used as a drovers' route so that cattle could be taken to London to provide meat; the cows and their drivers would rest overnight before continuing their journey onward.

6 Cowroast

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