My parents were coming to visit today, and I'd emailed directions from their home to the marina. My favourite concerned going through Milton Keynes, where they had to cross nine roundabouts. They arrived at about 10.30 and we had teas and coffees before setting off for a little trip. It was cloudy and cold, but at least there was very little breeze so the tricky left turn out of the marina was OK.
It was immediately obvious that the water level in the canal was much higher than normal. Also, the River Tove which runs alongside for most of the stretch to Stoke Bruerne, had a lot of water in it -- and had clearly been much higher. It runs through some grazing fields, and the sheep had lost more than half their space to flooding.
There was also a lot of water cascading over the spill weirs into the river.
Below Stoke Bruerne locks, the Tove crosses the canal, usually entering via the mooring arm, and leaving via the weir made of lots of low arches. Today though, the river was also pouring in with some force over another weir that I haven't seen running before. The flow on the canal was significant, and explained why we'd seemed to be making slow progress.
I turned in the arm below the locks and moored up on the 48 hour moorings. I made lunch of roasted butternut squash risotto followed by apple and blueberry crumble, and then we went for a walk. We'd loaded mother's mobility scooter into the cratch, so she rode that up the first couple of locks. The potholed path wasn't ideal, but the scooter coped remarkably well; I had to give it a push only one, when it got a bit grounded. We then walked the other way to have a look at the weirs. Mattie, my parents' elderly dog who has diabetes and is virtually blind also seemed to enjoy exploring somewhere new.
It was nearly 4 o'clock when we set off back to the marina, and the return journey seemed much quicker, probably helped by the flow on the canal. The sky also brightened, and for a couple of minutes there was even enough sunshine for shadows to appear. The turn into the marina from this direction is difficult, because you're almost doubling back on yourself. A boat has moored right in front of the sign that says 'no mooring -- winding hole and marina entrance'. It didn't make much difference this afternoon, but will be in the way if it's still there when I want to get out again in the morning. I reversed onto the pontoon and got the boat tied up, and my parents headed home.
10 miles, 0 locks.