Tuesday 18th April; Stoke Bruerne to Linford lakes
We woke to brilliant sunshine and a couple of early risers making for Blisworth tunnel. We left at our normal time of 9.30, and made slow progress down the rest of the flight – the boat which went down before us had waited for a couple of boats coming up so we stopped after one lock and put the kettle on while the pair came up. The side pond here has been adapted for pond dipping.
The side ponds, built to conserve water, turned out to be time-consuming to use, which would not have endeared them to working boatmen, and were also expensive to maintain. They fell out of use in the Second World War.
A volunteer turned up to help us through the last two locks and we were on our way past the sign warning us about the River Tove which must overflow into the canal when it is in spate – the raised towpath extends for hundreds of yards. The sign by the water being pumped in says it is the River Tove outfall, but we couldn’t see the river which seems to be at a lower level. Odd.
The sun was glorious and if you were out of the wind it was lovely and warm.
The countryside gradually became more attractive. We were amused by the warning sign at Kingfisher marina;
We cruised past acres of oilseed rape in full flower. This farmhouse was surrounded. Imagine waking up to this sea of acid yellow if you had had a late night ….
and later in the year there is that cabbagey smell too.
We passed under the pretty Soloman’s bridge and were hailed by a gentleman who reads our blog, walking with a group on the towpath. What a lovely surprise – it’s only the second time that has ever happened! Do please leave us a comment and your name sir – are you a boater? We waited for a couple of boats to come up Cosgrove lock, then dropped down and moored on the visitor moorings. Dave went off to find the shop, while I made some soup for lunch. It was warm enough to have the side hatch open which was very pleasant. We went on over the Great Ouse aqueduct, where we were blasted by the cold wind
and through Wolverton where I managed to get a snap of the running figure sculpture against the sky. My attempt the last time we came this way was foiled by the buildings.
I couldn’t resist another picture of the stunning railway mural which has somehow managed to escape the attentions of the graffiti artists.
We continued through the outskirts of Milton Keynes to the lovely moorings near the Linford Lakes. The edge was perfect for Dave to finish rubbing down and painting the gunwales on the port side, and I emptied the well deck of lockers, bike and matting to sweep away the grit, grass, leaves and cobwebs that have accumulated since the autumn. It was such a mess that I took no photos. Suffice it to say that we ended up with a large bag of rubbish. We even had enough time while the sun was out to take Meg for a lovely walk in the fields.
6 locks, nearly 10 miles, Great Ouse aqueduct
Total this trip; 33 miles, 24 broad locks, 2 tunnels, 1 large aqueduct