It's been one of those days where things seem to have taken much longer than they should. We set off at 8am, and as we looked back to the lock just behind us we could see a hot air balloon.
At the two Ivinghoe locks, we had to fill the first one, but two boats were just approaching the second, so they came up first. I walked on to Horton Lock, which was also empty and with wet walls; it appeared someone was in front of us. We waited for a boat setting off from the moorings above the lock, after the couple on board quickly finished their breakfast. I walked to Slapton Lock, and saw a widebeam just leaving the lock. We shared this lock too, then our companions said they'd probably stop for a cup of tea before the next lock.
All the pounds were well down. As we passed boats below Slapton Lock each of us was in danger of running aground not far off the middle of the canal. We both tipped over somewhat. When we reached Church Lock, the lock was set with gates open, but the widebeam hadn't yet entered. Adrian helped him down, then waited for a boat approaching from below. The water was low in this pound too, and they got a bit stuck trying to pass the widebeam. Once they were in the lock, a Wyvern hire boat appeared to be setting off from the moorings, so we waited for them too. They were sat on the bottom, so getting away from the edge was a challenge; it turned out that getting in the lock was also a challenge, but for different reasons. By the time we actually got into the lock, we must have been there for at least forty minutes. At least the surroundings are attractive.
At Grove Lock a boat with dozens of Scouts on board was coming up. The boys all ignored the instructions from their leaders not to get on the roof or the gunwales. It didn't look very safe to us.
We stopped at the shopping moorings in Leighton Buzzard, mostly to get some battery top up water from Homebase. We had lunch while we were there. Setting off again, Leighton lock proved to be another challenge. A boat was coming up, but couldn't get the lock to fill because the bottom gates wouldn't close properly, probably because of something on the cill. We tried all sorts of things to shift whatever it was. Two further boats arrived at the bottom, one carrying the unpleasant boater of the day. Eventually, possibly thanks to a grappling hook from the other newly arrived boat, the gate appeared to close properly, and everyone was on the move.
Just after Old Linslade, we saw Gary with the fuel boat, Ascot and its butty, Beverley, moored up so we went alongside to fill with diesel. With three boats across the canal, it's just as well no more boats came by. We put in 110 litres; we've worked out that our fuel consumption since filling at Bull's Bridge has been 1.13 litres an hour -- which is pretty good, considering we've done so much river work this trip.
As we got to the Souldbury three locks a widebeam had just come up. There was a boat coming up the middle lock so we swapped with them, and the bottom lock was also full. The pub garden was full of walkers we'd been seeing all day. They'd walked to Grove Lock and back for a brain tumour charity.
By now the sun had come out and it was really warm again. We moored up at Stoke Hammond, another of our favourite spots in this area.
10 miles, 10 locks. (264 miles, 207 locks)