From Stoke Hammond there's a long run to the next lock at Fenny Stratford. We normally seem to meet a boat here, and today was no exception. Adrian went and swung the bridge, and a Wyvern boat came up, as the lock was in their favour. It's only a foot anyway.
Then begins the long pound right through Milton Keynes. We soon passed the widebeam hotel boat, Tranquil Rose, which we saw a couple of weeks ago at Papercourt Lock on the River Wey. Then a bit further on I noticed an approaching boat with someone apparently taking our photo; it was Sharon and Clinton on Tacet. We had a brief chat as we passed, and hope we have indeed given them some ideas of places to go on their boat.
As we went through Campbell Park I was on the look out for Free Spirit, but knew that if the boat wasn't there it would be a bit further on. Sure enough, after Giffard Park I spotted a boat ahead that looked a bit familiar. As we approached the first winding hole at Linford the boat pulled over and we were waved past. Then Irene recognised us, and we had a very quick chat, as she was about to wind. Hope we didn't disrupt the manoeuvre!
We made a brief stop just before Bridge 74, and took the used oil from the last oil change to the tip just down from the bridge. The whole exercise took no more than 15 or 20 minutes -- it seems easier to go by boat than by car.
The pause meant a boat from our marina that we'd been following, on tickover, had a bit of a chance to get ahead. We caught up with them again at Cosgrove Lock, where they'd kindly waited as they'd seen us coming. We got back to Thrupp Wharf a bit before 2.30, and were soon reversed onto our pontoon, secure, and ready to go. Adrian had spent much of the long lockless sections sorting things out, so packing didn't take long. By a little after 3pm we were in the car and heading for home. The journey turned out to be very quick and easy.
15 miles, 3 locks. (279 miles, 210 locks)