Sunday, 23 April 2017

Water in the air but not enough in the canal

Thursday 20th April; Old Linslade to Seabrook locks

After yesterday’s unbroken sunshine it was cold and cloudy for a while.  We left early for us, well before 9 as we needed to stop at Tesco in Leighton Buzzard and get much closer to Marsworth as we have family visiting at the end of the week.  We trickled past Jules’ Fuels who were making a sale at the Globe moorings.

1 jules fuels near GLobe

We found a boat ahead of us at Leighton Lock, and by the time it was ready for us to go in Jules’ Fuels had arrived.  Dave offered them the lock but they were delivering to a widebeam below the lock.

2 jules fuels below leighton lock

As we approached the Wyvern hire base the CRT licence checker man cycled by.

3 the boat checker man

Only a few Wyverns were out now the school term has started again.  We stopped at Tesco for a quick restock and left as soon as we had put the kettle on.  We were pleased to see that the Grove pub by the lock still had its lovely hanging basket brackets (and flowers too).

4 grove lock pub

After Church Lock the drizzle started, and after a couple of abortive attempts to moor where it was too shallow we stopped for lunch at bridge 118 before Slapton Lock.

As we were finishing lunch a couple of boats went by – first there was NB Valerie, Jaq at the helm muffled up against the cold and drizzle.  She was followed by Waiouru, and Tom spotted us, tucked in behind a large orange lifeboat as we were.  We managed a brief chat before they were on their way.
By the time we were on the move again the sun was struggling to break through and it got rather warm. Near Slapton lock, if you can’t hack living under canvas, you can pay a large amount for what were called wigwams.  Not like the ones made out of beanpoles and sheets we played with when we were kids!  These ones even appear to have woodburners.

7 if you cant hack camping

The locks along here used to have a single lock next to them though those have long gone. But the double-arched bridges remain. 

8 horton lock

The pound between Horton lock and the bottom Ivinghoe lock was very low.  When we came this way a few years ago we moored in this pound, and although there appeared to be no problems when we went to bed – it is a very long pound, after all – we were almost aground by morning.  We made it to Ivinghoe bottom lock, where a very fat widebeam was on its way down.  If they had been 10 minutes earlier we would have been unable to pass each other.  As it was we could only just get onto the lock mooring and the widebeam had to go very slowly to make any headway at all past us.

9 fat boat in shallow pound below ivinghoe

As we went up the first of the Seabrook locks I noticed that the large black cloud that had been getting closer for the last hour was almost upon us.  As soon as we had passed the last of the long line of permanent moorings we stopped for the night and the rain started ten minutes later.  Luckily it was dry later so Meg could have her walk.

7½ miles, 8 locks

Total this trip; 56 miles, 37 broad locks, 2 tunnels, 1 large aqueduct, 1 swing bridge

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