Let's start close to home. The dear old Slough Arm. I love it really and as you can see from the picture I use at the head of the blog, it can look very pretty. Not bad at the other end either except for a bit of graffiti.
Remarkably clear water, loads of fish, greenery and waterfowl. What's the problem? The dreaded blanket weed that's what. Every summer it becomes nigh on impassable because of the weed. Us boaters are surely to blame because the densest weed growth is alongside the boats at our yard at Iver, and when I say dense I mean really dense. Great thick blankest of green cotton wool that seem to clog the whole width and depth of the waterway. It can clog a propeller in seconds. That is the one thing that I shall not miss when we move Herbie to Crick next year.
Next contender. The Regents Canal south of Islington. That Regents Canal? Yes, I know it is lovely through Madia Hill and Regents Park, and great fun at Camden market but . .
It all starts at City Road lock just beyond the Islington tunnel. A nice enough spot, but it has the most frustrating lock I think I have ever encountered. It seems that whatever you do, the bottom gates want to swing open on their own. You walk round and shut one, and then you charge round the other way, leaping over balance beams and nearly falling into the adjacent unused lock, but its no good. By the time you reach the other gate the first one has swung open again. To add insult to injury, not only do these gates swing open, they are real pigs to shut. Something is seriously out of balance. There are some heavy gates further down this stretch too and beyond Ducketts Cut a number of places are really vulnerable to side winds, so the poor person waiting on the boat while you do the gates gets blown into the far bank. Drab too, this bit. And so on through to the final lock at Commercial road which seems to have permanently broken paddles and takes ages to operate. But what is even worse, it nearly always seems to be terrible weather when we go down there.
After that I'm struggling to think of another really bad bit on our travels this year, although quite a few locks in the chilterns do suffer from gates that swing open, they are not in the same class as City Road. So I'll declare here and now that the Regents Canal takes the