Just north of Gayton Junction Day 30

Thursday, 29 September 2011

We enjoyed our stay in Milton Keynes and we were pleasantly surprised at how clean it was- a real pleasure to cruise through it. The last few days have been great autumn cruising days through Wolverton, Cosgrove and Stoke Bruerne which was very busy as its the Village at War Weekend starting this Saturday.We had one moment of excitement as we came into our mooring below Cosgrove lock. There was a loud bang from the bow area. On investigation I discovered that one cell of the bow thruster battery had exploded. It was contained by the bow locker cover and I can only assume it had failed as it was nearly 8 years old. We are now on the last part of our trip as BB is going into dry dock at Stowe Workshop on Monday for about 10 days.

A S M Hudson boat builder's special coming out of the Stoke Bruerne bottom lock

Supper tractor and seed sowing rig as we approached Stoke Bruerne.

Another boat caravan- they are getting more common!

Another good play on words

Bridge on a rope-engineers preparing to replace bridge 78 Giffard Park Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes Day 27

Monday, 26 September 2011

We left Leighton Buzzard Saturday morning and cruised to a nice mooring just before Stoke Hammond lock and stayed till this morning. We had the best toilet pump out at Wyvern Shipping Co in LB,it took 30 minutes which included a thorough flush out with clean water. As an added bonus we were able to collect some apples from their trees- apple crumble has been the order of the last two days. Wyvern started trading as a commercial carrier in 1954 and as trading finished moved into hire boats.

We are now moored by bridge 81b which is next to Campbell Park and this afternoon we walked the 1 mile,20 minutes, to Central Milton Keynes for a bit of shopping. The cloud and rain has moved on and the sun was really warm as I polished the boat this afternoon-long may it last.

We have now done 122 miles and 143 locks!

Our walk back through Campbell Park-the canal is down below the end of the path, in the valley as it follows the 236ft contour line.

The veiw from the cratch at Stoke Hammond.

Stoke Hammond lock with the old Pump House-now a house- on the left and the old Lock Keeper house on the right.

The lovely old  Globe Inn at Leighton Buzzard- a classic boatmans inn which serves good food.

Interesting boat with a flexible approach to name and BW number.

Back at Leighton Buzzard Day 24

Friday, 23 September 2011

We have now gone back to canal time as we have taken 6 days to travel 16 miles and 26 locks (which is 6 lockmiles per day) from Berkhamsted to Leighton Buzzard. After all our expectations we didn't go down the Aylesbury Arm. On Monday evening I walked down the Marsworth flight and found a hire boat aground below lock 41,in fact there were 3 pounds between locks that were empty. I phoned BW who finally managed to get them filled the following morning. I asked them about the arm and they said that it was low towards the end and that they could not guarantee they could get us back out, their priority is the main line.We arrived in Leighton Buzzard and decided to stay on Friday and go for lunch in The Globe Inn which dates back to the 1840's when it opened as a Beer Shop to serve the boatmen, the meal was excellent. The Tesco store by the canal is built on an old factory site that built Vickers Vimy bombers for WW1. Where ever you go along the GU you find examples of its fascinating industrial past. We passed one of the blog's I follow the other day nbBriarrose as they were making their way down to the Thames to do the Thames Ring via Limehouse and Oxford.

As we came out of Rickmansworth last week this B17 flew over. There are not many of these in the country.

A great play on words for a boat name

Just to show that I do the locks sometimes which means Anne is steering the boat

BB above the Marsworth flight waiting for the water to be run down the locks. The Wendover arm goes off to the left and a dry dock is on the right.

We made our destination of Rickmansworth- Day20

Monday, 19 September 2011

Over the last few days since leaving Berkhamsted on Tuesday 13 Sept we have really worked hard for us and made Rickmansworth, turned and are now back at the top of the Marsworth flight.We have done 30 miles and  (mostly Anne has done) 66 broad locks. Although I have done a few. It now changes at Marsworth as we are now going downhill till we get to Cosgrove so Anne can steer the boat and I can do the locks.We hope to do The Aylesbury Arm starting on Wednesday-water levels allowing us - which is 8 miles and 32 narrow locks.There is a hire boat stuck below lock 41 tonight as the pound has just run out of water, hopefully BW will be able to sort it by the morning but Startops End reservoir is nearly empty.This may change our plans.

We stopped again in Berkhamsted so that my nephew and family could see the boat and travel with us up the Berkhamsted locks to Cowroast.

We have now done 100 miles and 119 broad locks which are flipping hard work.

A new trend perhaps in fenders

This sign was on a boat that we had doubts about.

The boat in question

Batchworth road bridge has this excellent horse drawn butty mural. I wonder how many drivers know its there.

Batchworth lock with the side lock on the left, This leads to the River Chess and several loading wharfs one of which was Sabey's now no longer used and filled in.

Orang-utan in the dark

There is a lovely warehouse on Castle Wharf in Berkhamsted that comes alive when it gets dark. Something you would not expect.

A very nice conservatory
With the unexpected at night

Kings Langley Day 14

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

We left Berkhamsted today Tuesday as we stayed on Monday to let the winds go through. We moved down to Castle Wharf where the timber wharf used to be and moored opposite the site of the old Bridgewater Boats that is now being redeveloped with 2 new warehouse style houses. But the owner of the land who has already converted a warehouse sold the land on the basis that some form of boat related business must continue

The famous totem pole on Alsford (Kays) Wharf giving to the town by the local Indian tribe in Vancouver. In fact we bought a piece of similar art from a local craft shop when we were there in June.
Francis Egerton the Third Duke of Bridgewater who also built the Bridgewater Canal

All that is left of Nash Mills is this old loading area although there is an old grade 1 listed building to the right that is being converted to luxury flats. Its not in the photo as I only found out about it when talking to a local whilst waiting at Nash Mill Lock

Something is lurking over the hedge at Home Park Lake

Caravans on the canal

There seems to be  a trend about to add additional space at either end of a narrow boat.The latest was shown at the Crick show when an extra boat was added at the bow or extra space towed behind. See my posts for day 3 (shed) and day 8 ( bow unit. I have seen a couple more recently. Could it be that we will soon be following boats like caravans on our roads- there's a thought.

Seen in Berkhamsted Its a galleon style narrow boat towing an old aluminium lifeboat which has been converted to a mobile stained glass workshop

This must be the canal version of a caravan

Berkhamsted Day 12

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sunday has continued to be windy with sunshine and showers. We left the lovely Wendover Arm, picked Ray up and cruised to Berkhamsted to try and find a place to drop off Ray. It was either shallow or no moorings available. We eventually found one space on the 14 day mooring just after the Two Gas Works locks.

68 Miles and 52 locks to Sunday 11 September.Our non trip down the Aylesbury Arm saved us ( perhaps just for the time being) 12 miles and 32 locks!

I could not resist it a picture of the lovely Victorian buildings which make up the Bulbourne Workshops at the top of the Marsworth flight. BW used to make lock gates here but unfortunately no more.

You do see some odd things on boats- its an ET type figure head

Ray our neighbour trying to master the skills of boat steering through Tring cutting.

Marsworth and the Wendover Arm Day11

The weather over the last few days has been very windy with showers. We spent Friday travelling to Marsworth Junction and checking out the Aylesbury Arm. Whilst it is open it has low pounds and takes water from the main line. As the BW man said its like a big plug hole taking water from the main line and sending it to the River Thame and into the River Thames at Abingdon. We have therefore decided not to go down and review it again on the way back.

We met Ray our next door neighbour over the weekend (also 7 members of his family who joined us going  up the Marsworth locks and the Wendover Arm)

The Old Toll House at the top of the Marsworth flight. The paddles are to the old side ponds which are not used any more. Although there is talk that perhaps they should be reinstated.

Marsworth church entrance and porch.

The very low Startops End Reservoir at Marsworth

The first two locks which are a staircase of the Aylesbury Arm

Our mooring Saturday evening was at the end of the Wendover Arm just past Bridge 3 and the winding hole. The watered section ends just behind the boat. Its a lovely location and hopefully the Wendover Arm Trust will be able to continue the works.

Ivinghoe Beacon Day 9

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Had a really good 3g signal tonight so managed to get up to date with the blog at last - to date we have done 55 miles and 33 locks. We are now moored near Bridge 123 ready to go down to Marsworth Junction tomorrow. The water levels have not been too bad with only a few of the short pound between locks being a little low. I checked with BW and the Aylesbury Arm is open but they warn that there will be very low sections. Not sure therefore if we will go down it. When we get to the junction tomorrow we will take a walk to check it out.

A Zulu type hat could it be Michael Caine!

Some of the wide locks had narrow locks next to themto speed up traffic when only one boat being used. They are now all filled in but the bridge holes are still around

The view from our cratch tonight looking towards Ivinghoe Beacon in glorious evening sunshine.

Leighton Buzzard Day 8

Yesterday- Wednesday we cruised down to Leighton Buzzard- a lot of moored boats around with only limited visitor moorings but we managed to get in just before Leighton lock. On walking into town we saw some 2 hour mooring by Br 114 for Tesco.

A little run around-speaks for itself

Some very fine old buildings in town together with some long established businesses.

This old swing bridge which said Out of Order also had a BW warning sign not to use. I did wonder how many people actually tried.

A new idea that was on show at this years Crick  Boat Show in late May. Instead of adding an extra section put an additional small boat on the front. It makes a change to towing a boat/shed.

A view of Soulbury Three locks as I enter the bottom lock.

Bletchley Park Museum

On Monday 6th we were moored at Fenny Stratford lock and as the weather was terrible it was an ideal day to visit Bletchley Park. It was only a 30 minute walk to the museum near Bletchley Station. It has received significant funding from the lottery and computer industry recently which has made a real difference.All the staff of which a lot are volunteers were very knowledgeable. A most interesting 4 hours was spent understanding what the 8000 staff achieved during the war years. At the time of the DDay landings they were decoding a staggering 18000 messages a day.

An Enigma machine that was used by the Germans to encode all the messages and which the staff at Bletchley had to crack.

A statue of Alan Turing made from slate who has now been recognised as a founder of computing.

A replica of the Colussos machine first built and operational at Bletchley in 1944. All the staff were very sad as the guiding light for building this machine had just passed away.

Cosgrove to Fenny Stratford Day7

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

 We went through Milton Keynes on Monday which was a very pleasant experience indeed with many different types and styles of houses. Very good tow paths and very clean. Today has been HORRIBLE rain and wind. It was a good day to go to Bletchley Park Museum. I will post some photographs of that later as I am having a little problem at present.

A few pictures from yesterday.

You don't see this very often a back to front pair of boats in a lock- the one facing forward was actualy reversing back to his mooring.

We moored at Wolverton to go to Tesco. Its around the old LNWRailway wagon and carriage works which have been converted to commercial use. The above diesel shunter was crossing a bridge and was giving way at a roundabout! When we walked to Tesco we crossed the line which had a road hidden by the fencing.

The Fenny Stratford Lock and cottages, we are moored just before the lock.

Day 5 Cosgrove

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Day 5 Sunday grey and wet which is not a bad thing as far as the canal is concerned but it probably did not make any diffrence at all-it needs to rain for weeks- hopefully not before we are home in October.

We have moved from Bugbrooke through Gayton Junction and Blisworth tunnel. Total so far its 31 miles and 20 locks but no cappuccinos- its a wilderness out their. Once we are through Milton Keynes the locks start to come thick and fast.

Blisworth Mill once used by the GUCCC-Grand Union Canal Carrying Co now nice flats

I do like junctions this is Gayton- the left is the River Nene,straight on is the south

A very different aluminium boat-its not a Sea Otter -the owners are from SA with safari colours on the sides.
Inside the 3000yard Blisworth Tunnel opened in 1805. It was closed in the early 1980's for 3 years during which time they relined the centre section with concrete segmenst which you can just see in the boats light behind us. It takes 40 minutes to go through.

Amusing sign at Yardley Gobion Wharf

Another sign at the Wharf

Cosgrove moorings we are just on the bend