Martin was right, Berkhamstead was lovely. Plenty of moorings, all 14 days, with rubbish and water point on the other side, just above lock 53 (not shown on our Nicholson’s guide). There are lots of elegant cast metal information/educational boards dotted along the canal. A Waitrose store is right on the canal and the town has many fine restaurants, coffee houses, pubs, shops and a wealth of architecture and to top it all, a launderette and the little River Bulbourne trickles along beside the canal.
We discovered all of this in the morning before we sadly waved Jacky off at the railway station after lunch.
We decided to hang about for a few days with Jacquie taking advantage of the train service to London, whilst I attended to the washing, ironing, cleaning and cooking. We also went to have a look at the ruined castle, I wasn’t too excited, but this traditional Motte and Bailey castle was most impressive. Firstly I had always assumed the motte was old English for moat, in fact the motte is the huge mound, with a wooden ‘Keep’ built upon the top. The Bailey is a much larger area, in this case protected by a stone ‘curtain’ wall which protected the main buildings. The whole lot surrounded by massive double ramparts and ditches. The buildings long gone, replaced by grass, providing a safe and peaceful place for families to relax and play. Only parts of the wall still stand, but it is easy to envisage the scale and importance of this thousand year old castle.