Sunday, 6 April 2014

Spring cruise - Day 3

There was some rain in the night, but it was dry this morning -- no sign of the heavy rain forecast.  It was rather breezy at times, though.

We had a cooked breakfast, and set of at just after 9am, with Leighton Lock just around the corner.  Wyvern Shipping had 15 boats moored up, which means they've got at least that number out at the moment.  At Grove Lock we liked the pub's hanging baskets and brackets.

As we walked on to Church lock, a man on the towpath said we shouldn't go up as the pound above was 2 feet down, and all the boats were aground.  He was rather uncomplimentary about a couple of boaters who were waiting to come down.  We tied up and went to have a look.  The pound was in fact about 6 inches down, and the guy's boat was aground - but only, I suspect, because he was moored on a corner.  The boats above were trying to decide what to do, and in the mean time had one top paddle open;  combined with the leakage from the bottom gates, this mean water was flowing straight through the lock.  I suggested they either needed to shut the paddle and wait, or fill the lock properly and go down.  They eventually decided on the latter option.  We came up, and while the pound (which is two miles long) was a bit low, we had no real problems.

At Slapton Lock, the lock was set in favour of a boat who was on the water point above, so he quickly disconnected his hose and came down.  When we'd gone up, we moved onto the water point and had an early lunch while the tank filled.

We walked the rest of the way to Marsworth, as the locks are all only about half a mile apart at the most.  Some have attractive double arched bridges, and many have nice cottages alongside.

We struggled the open the swing bridge just before Pitstone Wharf.  It seemed to be stuck somehow.  Fortunately, there was a family there, so we all jumped up and down on the bridge, and eventually go it moving.

Next comes the imposing railway bridge, carrying Virgin and London Midland trains.  Shortly after this, we had our only rain of the day, and even that wasn't much more than drizzle.

There were boats coming down at the final two locks of the day, and we moored up just past Bridge 129, a little short of Marsworth Junction.  It was only about 3.15pm, but with the long walk, the locks, and the wind, we felt we'd done a good day's work.

9 miles, 12 locks.  (28 miles, 18 locks)

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