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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Marsworth and the reservoirs part 1

Coming down the Grand Union canal is mostly rural with decent size gaps between civilisations. Over the years of my solo boating here and Watford were destinations each year because of family connections. Arriving here to me always marked the end of open countryside and the beginning of suburbia. From now on places like Berkamstead, Hemel Hempstead, Watford etc. having expanded leave little of the open fields that are plentiful north of here. I make it sound as though we are travelling through a large city day after day but those familiar with this life will know what I mean and to those less knowledgeable of the area there are still some peaceful moorings between the madness called living on land.

So we have arrived at Marsworth at point A on the map having passed through Manchester, Stoke on Trent, Coventry and Rugby to name a few. All busy places but miles of beautiful, quiet moorings in between. Just below `A` is the Aylesbury Arm junction where the new housing I commented on a few days back is being built.
From Marsworth to Paddington (London) our destination via point C is 46 miles and 52 locks. According to CanalPlan this can be completed in 4 days BUT you need to travel 6 hours a day, I don`t think so.

We arrived at point B pictured above on Feb. 19th. This is in the summer a very busy mooring but as you can see we share with just one other boat. The reservoirs are just to the left. This was to be a week long stay to receive visitors and family.

Marsworth reservoir and in the distance Startops, our boat is just to the right of the trees.
Marsworth is full but the excess is running into Startops that although very high still has a lot of capacity.
The reservoirs are connected to Tringford pumping station on the Wendover Arm via underground culverts. Marsworth had it`s own pump in 1810 located on the Wendover Arm but when Startopsend was built it was no longer needed. It then was used to feed excess water from the summit C into Marsworth reservoir.
Interestingly nowadays Marsworth water can not be pumped but can be fed by gravity into the canal below the bottom lock via a stream alongside the car park + into Startopsend. I assume they can pump water into it but not from it. 
The workings of the reservoirs is an interesting subject but I have not found a site that goes into great detail and have had to be satisfied with bits from various sources.
One source was the charity Friends of Tring reservoirs and I cut the following from the site.
British Waterways measures reservoir capacities in millions of litres (megalitres, or ML). One megalitre is equal to 1,000 cubic metres of water, or 220,000 gallons, approximately four standard locks of water. Wilstone is the largest of the reservoirs, with a capacity of 1,102 ML. Startopsend is considerably smaller, at 482 ML and the two remaining reservoirs are smaller still: Marsworth is 236 ML and Tringford is 172 ML. As a very rough approximation, I often think of Wilstone as the largest, with Startopsend about half the size of Wilstone, Marsworth about half the size of Startopsend and Tringford about half the size of Marsworth.
So calculators out....hold it the magic phone has a calculator.
Let`s take Marsworth as it`s full and flowing into Startopsend.
236ML x 220,000 = 51,920 Gallons. Divide that by 4 =12,980 wide locks of water.
Hope that is correct if not blame the virgin smart phone operator.

There are 5 reservoirs in the Tring group -add Weston Turville to the 4 on the map - and Canal River Trust`s latest figures show 3 of the 5 at full capacity. Tringford is 86% and Startops 67%. They have all 5 together a capacity of 7,110 Mega litres , wow work that one out, but only 80% is usable (Ecology and SSSI requirements).

The wildlife  turned their back on us so we decided it was time for a change of scene but more of that in part 2 when C, D and E come into play.



Anonymous said...

Ooh I didn't realise that you were heading our way - I do hope that we bump into you (not literally) - it would be great to met Jaq in person (and yourself of course!):-)

Sue, nb Indigo Dream

Anonymous said...

Interesting stats.
Now the question is are these resevoirs self (ful)filling or is the water not always there?

Also am anticipating a 65th
birthday for Les and the granting
of his state pesnion somewhere
during the next week or so hence the specific mooring for family and friends. Yes?

Unknown said...

I hope I see you both when you are in London, I am going boating for a week the last week in March going into the Easter weekend. But I will catch up with you somewhere I am sure.

Les Biggs said...

Hi Sue
Yes it seems we shall meet along the way. Look forward to it

Les Biggs said...

Hi Bryce
The reservoirs rely on springs etc to fill them.
65 is just a number but who knows what might happen on that day.

Les Biggs said...

Hi Carol
For sure we will NOT be in London the end of March.
Be nice to see you.

Carol said...

Hi Les, have enjoyed looking at you Payback Countdown slowly clicking away the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks and months - George gets his pay rise on the 26th! and we’re both looking forward to that! Best wishes to you both. xx

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs