Monday, 14 May 2012

May cruise - day 3

It was raining first thing this morning, so we took the opportunity of dozing in bed.  Once we got up, I lit the fire as it was so much colder than yesterday, and we had porridge for breakfast.  We waited for the worst of the rain to pass, and finally set off at around 10.30.  I walked up to set Fenny Stratford lock.  It didn't take long as the rise is less than a foot; a boat had just gone through, so the swing bridge over the lock was already swung out of the way.

As we left the lock, a boat arrived to go down, so we could leave the bridge and the gate open.  Before long, the rain died out, and the canal passed through some very pleasant countryside.  We arrived at Stoke Hammond lock just as a boat was leaving, so we could go straight in.  The same thing happened at the three Soulbury Locks, where the boat leaving was another Braidbar, Ice Breaker.  There was also a lock keeper at the locks, so he went and opened gates further up the flight.

We stopped for lunch just before Bridge 108, where we spotted a length of piling.  Setting off again, we went past The Globe pub at Linslade, which is currently closed.  The building is surrounded by fencing, and there's a lot of refurbishment going on.  By now we were following a very slow boat; even on tickover we were catching them up.  But it did at least mean that we could share Leighton Lock with them, and once we were up they let us go first.

Immediately above the lock is Wyvern Shipping's hire base.  They have quite a few boats out, because we've seen them.  But they still had 24 boats back at base, moored up to three abreast across the canal.  Many of the boats are quite old, but they always look smart and well looked after.

We went through Leighton Buzzard, and on to Grove Lock where we winded in the arm just below the lock and moored up on the tow path.  As we moored up, the sun made an appearance.  We plan to treat ourselves to a meal out at the Grove Lock pub this evening

9.5 miles, 6 locks.  (21.5 miles, 7 locks)

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