Saturday, 12 April 2014

Spring cruise - Day 9

After yesterday's warm sunshine, today was decidedly chilly.  I resisted putting a coat on for as long as I could, but gave in during the long run into Milton Keynes.  We set off at just after 8.30, and this was the view of our neighbour as I untied our ropes.

It took less than half an hour to get to the top of the Soulbury Three Locks.  The top two just needed topping up before we could use them, and a boat was coming up in the bottom one.  No matter what the weather, this flight always seems like hard work for the steerer.  The short pounds between the locks seem to have odd currents and the wind is always swirling about unpredictably, making it tricky to steer the few yards from one lock to the next.

We stopped to top up the water tank at the bottom of the locks, remembering that the tap here has particularly good pressure.  While that was happening, I walked back up to the middle lock with the rubbish.

We were soon on our way again and through the lock at Stoke Hammond.  Then it's a longish run to Fenny Stratford.  We have a good record at this lock, more often than not meeting a boat.  But it wasn't to be today, we were alone and had to swing the bridge and work the lock -- all one foot of it.  When I opened the top gate, a group of swans swam in for a ride down.  One was too impatient, and decided to climb through the gap in one of the lower gates.  The other two waited until I opened a bottom gate, and swam out.

It's about four miles from Fenny to our planned stop, just before Bridge 82 in Milton Keynes.  The only event of note was meeting a boat at a blind bridge hole.  We moored up at about a quarter to one, and we're greeted by a clutch of ten ducklings.

After lunch we walked up through Campbell Park to the shopping centre in Milton Keynes, as Adrian needed to collect his replacement phone.  He must have made quite an impression the other day, as the manager remembered him and came over to get him out of the queue.

Campbell Park has a few new features since we last walked across it.  There's a light pyramid on top of the hill, and what used to be a fountain has been converted into an art work containing columns of different heights, marking significant dates.  I hadn't been expecting to need the camera in the shopping mall so had left it behind, otherwise there would be photos.

Finally, now we've lit the fire for the evening, the sun has put in an appearance and the temperature has gone up a bit.  Tomorrow, there's just the short run back to base.

9 miles, 5 locks.  (65 miles, 59 locks)


Linda said...

Lovely photos.

Halfie said...

There are photos of the dates sculpture here: