Saturday, June 07, 2014

Moving on

Monday morning, we set off up Marsworth Locks in good weather. I chatted with the volunteer lockie there, and was impressed by what he had to say about CRT, for whom he works. He told me he felt privileged to be doing the job, and that the volunteers felt highly-valued, that CRT frequently thanked them and told them what a good job they're doing. And he loved meeting so many different people. I was much encouraged. CRT get far too many complainers.



The locks took their time, so we only got as far as the Ivinghoe Locks before we moored for the night.





Tuesday morning, we descended Horton, Slapton, Church and Grove locks solo, arriving at Leighton Linslade by lunch time. We ate first, then went to Tesco to buy food. We were amused by a young man who'd clearly had a glass too many, who wanted to give us his waterproof jacket because he was too hot in it, and wouldn't need it even if it started to rain, since he had a bus pass. When we declined his kind offer, he proceeded to try to give it to successive passers-by, eventually laying it out over a fence, hoping that someone would take it. Perhaps he'd found it in a similar place.

We moored at bridge 108.














There was heavy rain overnight, and it continued on and off throughout the day. After spending some time trying to pull a waterlogged tree out of the canal, and failing because of its size and weight, we moved away, Jess helping me locking as we went down Soulbury Three Locks. It was lucky that Jess was with me, because she was looking the right way and I wasn't when the pound between the middle and bottom locks started to flood, with water threatening the doors of the pub there. I ran down to let the water through the bottom lock, and the flood waters retreated. We couldn't understand how that had happened, though. There are three overflow sluices in the pound, but they just weren't doing their job.



Is it common for swans to abandon their eggs? We passed a pair, feeding contentedly in the canal, then passed their nest of eight or nine eggs lying exposed. Had no-one told them??



On now through Fenny Stratford, with the unusual swing bridge between the top and bottom lock gates, and into Milton Keynes. It really is pleasant cruising there, with extensive parkland, often on both sides of the canal, and very quiet.






Fenny Stratford Lock & swingbridge

The weather deteriorated before we left, though, and a strong wind blew up, so we moored on the outskirts of the town, at bridge 75, as we did on the way down.


We made fast progress to Cosgrove Lock on Thursday morning, and arrived at Stoke Bruerne Bottom Lock at lunch time. On the way, we passed a boat in a sad state, and reported it to the CRT for their attention.





After lunch, we started up the seven locks into the village itself. A lockie helped Jess and me as far as lock 16, then said that he'd go on ahead and prepare the final two for us. Arriving at 15, the lock was full, and there was no sign of him. Had he fallen in and drowned? The same was true at the top lock. He was nowhere to be seen.






Pulling out of the top lock, Grace took Kantara across to fill up with water, and there was our lockie, enjoying a pint at The Boat Inn! Tempted as I was, I kept quiet.


Stoke Bruerne Wharf
We had our evening meal at the Inn. Good food, but they didn't have the Bailey's cheesecake!

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