Sunday, 4 May 2014

Bank Holiday Weekend - Day 2

It wasn't nearly as cold last night, and the sun was again out when we got up this morning.  As we had the eggs from the Stoke Hammond hens, we had scrambled eggs for breakfast, then set off at about 9.15.  It's pretty slow going through Old Linslade and along by The Globe pub because of moored boats and fishermen.  At Leighton Lock we shared with a funny little boat, with a bow a bit like a landing craft.

Above the lock we saw some tiny moorhen chicks -- they were paddling as fast as they could but seemed to be getting nowhere.  Wyverne Shipping had about twenty boats unhired.  Strangely, we haven't seen any heading back today, which is unusual because normally all the weekend boats are due back on Monday morning; perhaps there's a Bank Holiday Weekend hire period, allowing people to return their boats late on Monday, or even on Tuesday.

We stopped at the Tesco moorings in Leighton Buzzard, to get a few things off our running list.  In town, Adrian bumped into Martin, from the Braidbar boat, Icebreaker.  We set off again at around 11.30, and rather than using the winding hole just through the bridge, decided to go on the Grove Lock and turn there.  Below the lock there's an arm, which I think is actually a river which runs into the canal.  I'm not sure whether it's an official winding hole, but plenty of people use it.  My job was made a little trickier because there was a boat moored directly opposite.  Still, there's enough room, and we were soon heading back. 

We passed Tesco again about an hour after we'd left, then dropped down Leighton Lock.  A boat which had just come up left a gate open for us.  We moored below the lock for a lunch break.

This afternoon, we headed back to the Soulbury Three Locks.  There was a boat in front of us, so we reckoned we've had a partner for the locks.  There were also some volunteer lock keepers on duty, so all the locks were set for us, and we hardly had to wind a paddle or push a gate, so we had an easy run down.  The water levels were pretty high in the flight though, so the middle lock was emptied slowly, to avoid flooding the tow path and the pub.  Adrian and the other helmsman, from an ex-OwnerShips boat, Steelaway did some more synchronised boating.  I like the way they're both looking down the side of their boats in this photo!

The pub was pretty busy, not surprisingly as it was so sunny and warm, so we had quite an audience. We've moored up just a little further along, at Stoke Hammond.  When we passed here yesterday, there was virtually no-one here; today there's a long line of boats.  We're actally only about 2 miles from where we moored last night, but it's taken 10 miles and most of the day to get here!

10 miles, 5 locks.  (27 miles, 11 locks)


Halfie said...

The winding hole below Grove Lock is marked as such in my (2000) Nicholson's. The river looks like a tributary of the Ouzel.

Anonymous said...

The eggs at Stoke Hammond are lush!

So sorry that we missed you but I hope that we'll get a chance to meet later in the year.

Sue, nb Indigo Dream