Sunday, 13 May 2012

May cruise - day 2

We woke to a beautifully sunny, calm morning, and although we're both quite tired were up and about reasonably early, setting off at 8.15.  The first major landmark is Wolverton, where the old railway sheds have been converted into smart flats and offices, with new builds opposite.  There's a dramatic sculpture outside the flats, then a little further on there's a mural highlighting Wolverton's railway heritage.

By canal, there's a bit of a gap between Wolverton, Great Linford, and Milton Keynes; by road, there's no gap at all.  There are quite a few moored boats along this stretch, so going was fairly slow.  When we got to Milton Keynes Marina we turned in because we needed a pump out.  There's plenty of room once you're through the marina bridge, and I was able to spin round and reverse onto the wharf so the pump out point was on the correct side.  They told us it was self service, but brought out a rubber cone to make sure the connection was air-tight, and also had to turn the pump on and off for us; so semi-self-service, really.  Either way, we were able to give the tank a good rinse through.

Setting off again, a hire boat had just come in the moor opposite the marina entrance.  It didn't make much difference the way we were going, but it would have made a turn the other way virtually impossible.  They realised it wasn't the best place to moor, and followed us for a bit.

We met a boat at a blind bridge hole, which meant a bit of reversing, then had to go through a fishing match which seemed to go on for miles.  Bridge 92 makes for a pleasant scene, with a collection of old canalside buildings.  Immediately beyond it, the A5 thunders overhead on a high bridge.

There were only a couple of boats on the extensive moorings at Fenny Stratford, so we picked out spot and moored up.  After lunch, we walked through Fenny and Bletchley to Bletchley Park, home of the wartime codebreakers.  The museum seems a little disorganised in places (some might even say random), and some attractions, like the model railway society, have nothing to do with codebreaking at all.  Still, we had a pleasant couple of hours looking round, and our tickets are valid for a year.

Bletchley town has very little to recommend it.  Our route took us along the main shopping street, which is mostly discount stores, takeaways, and charity shops.  When we arrived back at the lock, a couple of boats were going through, so we swung the bridge back for them.  Tonight, we'll roast a chicken and take things easy.

10.5 miles, 0 locks.  (12 miles, 1 lock)

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