I set off at 8.30 this morning; it was fairly bright although some showers were forecast. It's a slow chug back through the outskirts of Milton Keynes, because of all the moored boats. About three quarters of an hour later, I stopped at the services at Giffard Park to top up the water tank. The tap is in a little building, and is so far up the wall I had to take the ash bin over to stand the hosepipe reel on! I used the time to put the kettle on and do some emails.
Soon after setting off again, I passed a couple of fishermen, one of whom landed a reasonably big fish as I went past. You can see it in his net.
They're doing a lot of towpath improvement work along this stretch. Yesterday, I passed a little push tug and a flat, and today I passed its mooring. A Travis Perkins lorry was just arriving with the next load of stones.
The showers arrived as predicted, but they only lasted between New Bradwell and Cosgrove Lock, and even then only drizzle and not all the time.
I had to turn Cosgrove Lock, and went up on my own. While the boat was sitting safely in the lock, I got another drink. Above the lock, the sun was out but it was also quite windy. I stuggled to get the boat off the lock landing, until a passer helped by giving a push. I carried on to Stoke Bruerne. I was expecting the moorings at the bottom lock to be busy, because of the Village at War festival this weekend, and they were. As I approached, I identified a possible mooring place in the rough, although I hoped I wouldn't have to resort to it. There wasn't enough space, so I turned before the lock. As I did so, the people in the last boat returned with their dogs, and kindly offered to move up a bit so I could get on the end. The space in front of them had been left by a short C&RT tug. It meant there was just enough room for Briar Rose. I'm across a bend, and have had to deploy unusual fenders, including a tyre tied to the cabin step, to keep the boat away from the concrete edge, but it's steady enough.
After having some lunch, I walked back along the moorings to say hello to Stein and Jacqui from Like Ducks 2 Water. Then I walked up to the village to see what was going on ahead of the festival. No Direction is moored at the top, and Jo and Keith from Hadar provided me with a welcome cup of tea. When I got down to the bottom of the locks, Alan was arriving with Sickle. He's waiting for Cath to arrive before heading up the locks; I've offered a hand if they need one.
13 miles, 1 lock. (22 miles, 2 locks)