Saturday, 10 December 2011

Grebe Canal Cruises to Marsworth and on to Tring via the Number 61

In which I am cheerier than last week (but less well planned), realise it's going to take far longer than I thought to get to where I want to go, give up and take the bus.

Ordnance Survey: Explorer 182 (if you look at it)
Distance: 3 miles approx
Time: 60mins

Rating: Easy Walk (if you give it enough time and don't assume you know where you're going like a wazzock.)

Although I have been musing on lovely things this week, I have also been set by disasters - fortunately, mostly by the amusing sort. Most disasters have been to do with the fact that the Chap learnt how to open the kitchen cupboards at will, but the walking one was officially All My Own Fault.

I was due to go for lunch in Tring at Anusia (it has a baby room upstairs, which is good when you have small people who would like to maraud around). I had done the walk from Pitstone Windmill to Tring before, and it had only taken a little more than an hour, so this time I decided to walk there along the Grand Union Canal. Ha! I thought. I don't need to look at a map! I'll leave it an hour and a half, I can get there without any trouble! No problem!

Pro tip: If you want to walk somewhere and you're not really sure where it goes, look at a map.

Of course, I had been on the phone to my lunch date earlier that day announcing my Virtue and going to walk. I was feeling smug. I had seen that the Chap had disappeared into one of the cupboards and was waving a bottle of food colouring around, but as he just seemed to be proffering it to Toutatis or similar sky-dwelling deity, I didn't see too much of a problem. Of course, it takes but a moment for such a small person to bend the cap on a bottle of food colouring and end up with a face like this:

This is what happens if you try to eat a
bottle of red food colouring. And then your mother
has at you with a flannel. Be warned.

Chap well-flannelled and trying to leave an hour and a half to get to Tring, I then took 25 minutes to get to the 'start' of my walk at Grebe Canal Cruises (I look forward to the point when the Chap is old enough and we can go and see Santa on a boat. That being said, is it me or is there something about the title of Santa Special Cruises that sounds dodgy?).

Grebe Canal Cruises

This part of the canal wide and open, alongside fields and has some nice views, including fields of some sort of brassica-type crop. Should that interest you.
Brassica-type crop. Indeed.
So, red food colouring aside, the other disaster had involved an Oxo stock cube. Again, the Chap had opened a cupboard and removed an item of choice - in this case, a box of Oxo cubes. I checked the box - it appeared securely closed, and it made a good rattly noise when he waved it, so I thought it seemed fine. Foolishly, however, I was not watching him as carefully as I should. I was half watching the baby and half watching the orders I was placing on Amazon for Christmas.

Of course, I looked across the kitchen to suddenly see that not only had The Chap successfully opened the box, but that he had also seized an Oxo cube and was chomping away on it. Delicious! I flapped across the kitchen and fished the foil out of his mouth, but he seemed rather disappointed that I had wrestled this tasty treat from his little fingers. What a mean mummy!

The walk was very pleasant. I overtook a narrow boat, saw a couple of swans, looked at a couple of locks, exchanged some words with a gentleman coming the other way about the chilliness of the morning, and felt quite pleased with myself.

So I walked and I walked and I walked and I walked and I was beginning to wonder at which point I would reach Marsworth. I began to wonder if really I was on the right bit of canal. I began to wonder if I was going from Grebe Canal Cruises to Marsworth via Dover.

It did, however, take me almost an hour to walk what it would have taken me 3 minutes on a bus, such is the meandering nature of the canal. Finally I saw the tower of Marsworth Church appear. I looked at my watch. If I kept going at this pace, I was going to be catastrophically late for lunch.

The tower of Marsworth Church hoves into
view over the bridge.

So I wimped out. It was 20 past 11. I knew a bus would come past at half past. I had had my exercise, I was peckish, and even if I arrived early via the bus I would get some food, which was more than I was getting pacing along this endless canal. I gave up and exited at the next bridge.

View back along the Grand Union Canal.

Heading straight up this road, you pass by the Red Lion pub on your left and then Marsworth Church on your right.

At the end of the road, by Marsworth Village hall, turn left and cross the road to the green bus stop. From this you can gain an excellent view of the number 61 bus as you give up your expedition and opt for lunch over all this prancing round in the fresh air.

Things I learnt

  • Do check the map before you go anywhere, even if you think you know where you're going. I know, I know...
  • Child locks on kitchen cupboards are and excellent invention.
  • It's better to give up and go for lunch than plough on when you have no idea where you're going!


  1. I am unconvinced that Toutatis was a sky-dwelling diety. He was a tribal god and therefore dwelt among the tribe. It is far more likely the Small One's offering was to Taranis, the thunder god, though as a sacrifice Taranis would have been unimpressed by food colouring and would have preferred an ox - ar at least an oxo.

  2. Or Belanos, God of the sun?

    Sadly, it was a vegetable Oxo, so I don't think it would have really appeased anyone. Not even Keith.

  3. Geoffrey, god of biscuits, could conceivably been appeased by an offering of food colouring, though I have no idea whether he is sky-dwelling or ekes out an existance in a baking tin somewhere.