The Beast From The East Is Dead!

Now I’ve some idea how Noah felt when he sent out his doves looking for evidence the ‘weather front’ was over!

At 6:30 this morning I got really excited when I saw the puddle of water on the canal. Has the thaw set in?

Then I checked the Met Office website…….Yes! 🙂

Now to plan our ‘escape’!

We’ve got our fingers crossed we’ll be able to move on Tuesday, because Tuesday is when desperation sets in; this morning we changed to our 3rd and LAST Elsan cassette!

Water is now on ‘ration’; washing up just twice a day, no laundry, and I’m afraid no showers – just strip washes and ‘wet wipes’. (God…. PLEASE let the thaw be quick!)

Food and drink…. we’ve plenty of.

When we ‘escape’ our plan is to wind at ‘Grove Lock Arm’, just a mile ahead, cruise back to the sanny station (which is presently just behind us), complete our chores, including filling the water tank, wind Cyan at the sanny, reverse under the bridge, and onto the Tesco shop moorings. (John; Jen’ loves to issue challenges to my boat handling skills!)

Hopefully while we’re ‘faffing’ we’ll cross paths with Jules Fuels who are presently icebound on the Tesco moorings. Jules Fuels I wouldn’t think would move if there’s too much ice. We heard (from another boater) they did venture through the ice a few years ago while they were under pressure from boaters who needed fuel. Unfortunately the ice popped one of Towcester’s rivets, causing the vintage boat to spout a pretty bad leak! These fuel boat boaters are absolute diamonds!

Cyan’s Lost Her Bounce!

We’re not swaying anymore! Getting on and off Cyan doesn’t cause the ‘normal’ lilt. It’s like she’s out of water, and standing on bricks, similar as she was at the end of last summer when she was getting her ‘bottom’ blacked at Aqueduct Marina.

Some cupboards are not shutting properly, and the drawers within a kitchen unit have become ‘fierce’. If we don’t carefully shut them, they slam shut!

All this is caused because Cyan is firmly, and tightly, icebound! Before, when we’ve been frozen in, we’ve had a slight buffer of ‘melted ice’ (water of course 🙂 ) between the boat, and the ice. I expect the ice is now so thick, it’s really got a tight ‘grip’ on Cyan. One positive; when we had high winds last night, Cyan didn’t budge!

I’ve been concerned about the poor souls in fibreglass cruisers. I’ve heard the ice can crack them.

The pic below shows the rim of a tin can in the canal. I’ve been watching this tin can since ‘the freeze’ as a sort of reference point. When I first noticed it, the rim was a good two inches out of the ice. Over the past few days, snow has fallen, turned to slush, and then turned to ice (on top of the ice). At the time of writing, the can has completely disappeared. So I would imagine, the ice is about 5 or 6 inches deep presently – deeper and shallower in different areas of course.

We set out on our ‘trek’ to the post office in Leighton Buzzard to pick up some post. As we’d be passing C&RT rubbish bins, we managed to dispose of most of our rubbish.

On the way, and near the rubbish area, we were pleasantly surprised to find a part of the canal ‘liquid’. Ducks and Swans appeared to be sharing quite a small area of water.

Leighton Buzzard looked almost derelict, and I can’t blame anyone for not bothering to venture out. Though quite a lot of the shops were open. The pavements and roads were lethal, despite us both trying to safely ‘walk like penguins’! Rusty wasn’t very happy either, we had to stop several times to take miniature ‘snowballs’ from between his toes. It must have been painful.

Sadly though, the letter hadn’t arrived despite it being posted 1st class recorded delivery last Wednesday. We tried to phone the post office before we set off to ask if the letter had arrived, apparently it’s an impossible task these days to phone a post office. The post office clerk kindly took John’s phone number, and said she’d give him a call when the letter arrives. Not surprised the post is disrupted by Brexit the snowy blizzard!

By the time we returned to Cyan, our ‘bones’ were frozen!

Regarding having Cyan’s batteries replaced, the electrical engineer has pencilled us in for week beginning 12th March. We’ll order the batteries, and the engineer will install them. He’s also going to give our electric system a ‘once over’ with the view of making the system more efficient.

Forever being positive, it looks like ‘slightly’ warmer weather is on the way!

Complaints To The Headmaster!

The weather is the topic of many conversations. The Met Office was correct, there really is a ‘Beast’!

We hear Jules Fuels are stuck in the ice just behind us, on the Tesco Shopping moorings, which will come very handy (for us) if we’re here much longer. We might toddle down with a trolley to pick up some more wood from them.

Tomorrow we’ve more or less got to pass Jules Fuels on the way to the post office. Ann, John’s sister has sent our new bank cards ‘Post Restante’ to Leighton Buzzard’s post office for us to collect. She went to post them yesterday, but unfortunately the post office in Suffolk where Ann lives, said their delivery van couldn’t get through because of the weather. We’ve got our fingers crossed they’ll make it.

Every now and again we get a flurry of fine snow, it’s so fine it’s managed to get under the canvas of the hood at the stern. The flurries are being blown into small drifts. Hope that’s all they’ll be ‘small’! We’re waiting to see what happens later as we’ve a yellow alert for snow and ice up to midnight.

Across the way from where we’re moored is a jetty for the local canoe club. It’s also on the way to the local school, and the canal is a ‘draw’ to pupils. The other morning, some kids were inquisitive about the ice, and they started to smash it with sticks. The noise was horrendous in the boat through vibrations; Rusty was going berserk thinking we were under attack! 🙂 After a few minutes of this, the kiddies were getting more and more boisterous, so I knocked on the window to get their attention, and asked them (as pleasantly as we could) to stop. Since then, Cyan has been pelted with snowballs and sticks while the kids were going too and from school.

The first day the kids started pelting Cyan, we got the mobile phone, as if to take their pictures. The abuse that came back went something like “Stop taking our pictures you pervert!” The little blighters!

This morning it came to a head as there were about a group of 10 kids messing about, I just about managed to take a picture of one of them as he was running away (he’s about 14-16 years old). As soon as he saw me with my camera through the window he tried to hide his face.

The picture wasn’t great, but I’m sure the lad can easily be identified by his sports bag, trainers and gloves. It was easy to find the school via Google Maps, and a quick letter of complaint, together with a copy of the image was sent to the headmaster. I had planned to write to the headmaster in any case, asking him to warn his pupils of the danger of frozen canals.

We’ve seen some sights while we’ve been moored here, regarding what these kids have been getting up too. This morning one of them was trying to stand up on the ice, trying to decide if the ice would support his weight, with one hand on the jetty amongst the ice and snow – he saw us looking through the window at him, and he moved on. Earlier another kid (innocently) threw a stick onto the ice, unfortunately a woman who was walking her dog on the other side (the towpath side), the dog decided to run after the stick: splosh… the dog was under the ice. Luckily the woman had the dog on an extended lead, therefore she was able to drag the dog out.

Trouble is, if a child does go into the water, another child might jump in to assist, with the result that both kid’s lives are in danger. Think it was yesterday a man drowned trying to save his dog that had fallen in a frozen lake.  Anyway, I got a very positive reply from the Head:

Dear Mrs Massey

I am really sorry about this.  I have emailed parents and sent a note to all lessons.

I will also do my best to identify the student in the photo. If you wanted to come in and look at photos you would be most welcome as I don’t want this sort of unpleasant behaviour.

Best wishes

I replied thanking him, and said I’ll just keep my camera close 🙂 .

The RNLI in an article said that only 3% of people would know what to do if they fell into frozen water. I found this webpage which we’ll be studying.

Cyan looking very cold and lonely!

On Rusty’s walk last evening.

Problems And Solutions!

Last night’s temperature dropped to -7C, and we woke to a fair covering of very fine, dry snow. The stove wasn’t shut down as tight as we normally do through the night, and a few extra shovelfuls of coals was added to the stove at 2:30 and 6:30 this morning. We didn’t get up specifically to stoke up the fire, we just took advantage of  the ‘call of nature’ getting one of us out of bed. We were as warm as toast throughout the night.

We woke to a covering of snow on top of the already frozen canal

The sun started to come up just after 6:30 am. I popped out onto the towpath to sweep the snow from the three solar panels.

Despite the winter still keeping a hold of us, nature is starting to wake up. Hope the early shoots are not checked back too much.

The lake across the way doesn’t appear to be frozen. Though it does look to be a lovely alternative home for the water birds that normally swim about the canal.

Our leisure batteries kept us ‘occupied’ for a fair time yesterday. Gosh batteries are complicated, I settled on ‘my’ simple analogy of ‘saucepans’ (How John laughed…. 🙂 ):

‘the capacity of water (‘water’ aka electricity) in a large saucepan (‘large saucepan’ aka a good battery) takes longer to heat (‘heat’ aka solar/alternator power), but keeps hot longer (meaning charged). Whereas the small amount of ‘water’ in a small saucepan (‘small saucepan’ aka a bad battery) is very quick to ‘heat’, but cools much quicker (‘cools’ aka discharged).’

Basically, this means our ‘broken’ batteries are quick to charge, and quick to discharge (we’ve got a tiny ‘saucepan’ 🙂 ) (My physics teacher would have been amazed at Jen’s clarity of thought…and the size of her saucepans! John)

Our mission is to replace four (heavy) batteries, but the logistics of doing this when we’re frozen in, with ‘yellow weather alerts’ for the next four days, and not being near a road, is a bit of challenge.

John had found over internet the batteries he’d like, so we searched for boatyards that are along our planned journey, right up to Harefield – Harefield Marina looks to have the best chandlers/facilities, but they are miles away, and we’re not into rushing. There were a few boatyards we phoned, but… (least said).

Like most ‘things’ in life, our solution is right under our nose; well about a mile away at Grove Lock Marina. Grove Lock Marina is part of a group of other marinas, such as ‘Kings Orchard’, ‘Fazeley Mills’, and ‘New Mills’ marinas. They don’t have any ‘maintenance facilities’, but we wondered if we could book into the marina for a few nights while the batteries were delivered, and if we had to, we would change the batteries between us, and just in case there’s a problem, we’d be on shoreline.

John made a phone call to the marina this morning, and spoke to a really helpful guy called Paul. Unfortunately Paul said the marina was full. John explained our problem, that we were frozen-in just a little away from them, and that we needed new batteries. Paul suggested when the canal is thawed, we could moor up at the pub (on C&RT property), where we can order the batteries, and have them delivered to the pub’s car park. That sounded brilliant. John asked Paul if he knew of a good mobile engineer; Paul suggested a guy called Ed Bowden who they use a lot, and he’d recommend!

After about 5 minutes Paul phoned us back, he’d just thought of a boat that’s normally moored at the marina. It’s presently out of water being blacked, and if its mooring was available, would we be interested? “Yes, of course we would”. Paul made a phone call to the owner of the boat. He returned to say the boat will not be returning to its mooring until Easter Weekend.

So our solution now is to sit tight until the ‘thaw’ (maybe Sunday/Monday?), cruise the canal for a mile, and up Grove Lock. As soon as we moor we’ll order the batteries for delivery the next day, where hopefully the mobile engineer will fit them for us.

(John explains our situation further below.)

John’s input:

“Despite our best efforts at being energy frugal the leisure batteries are not holding charge. Fortunately, the sun is shining sufficiently to provide Solar energy to meet our daytime needs. After dark we are resorting to topping up from the two alternators.

The 2 year battery warranty is a ‘Return to Base Warranty’ or put another way, return the batteries to our works (Market Harborough) and we will assess their condition prior to taking any warranty action…. As we are frozen into the canal and without alternative transport, plus being without batteries while they are away being ‘assessed’, there is only one option open to us. Ignore the remaining 7 months ‘Warranty’ and look for new replacements.

Through the power of the internet we located some replacement deep cycle (600+) units with a 5 year warranty that fit the bill, the price includes free next day UK delivery. In hindsight we should of perhaps considered that a ‘2 year’ warranty was a reflection of the battery quality? You usually get what you pay for in life!

We have obtained the services of a mobile electrical engineer to assist with the replacement battery installation and  check that all is well ‘lecky’ wise, and found a place to moor nearby with a mains hookup. So now we just need for the thaw to set in before we can move and get our  ‘Current Restored‘ again!”

It’s still snowing……

Cold Weather, But We’re Cosy

The weather’s been gorgeous since we moored, although of course it’s so cold! We’re nice and cosy inside Cyan, and with the sun shining through the windows; Cyan’s got her own personal ‘greenhouse effect’!

Yesterday, late afternoon, we were just about starting to think this ‘Beast from the East’ was a load of hype dreamt up by newspapers; after all it is February, and it’s still winter! Then the snow started rather suddenly, with large snowflakes floating down…

This morning we woke to a pretty landscape – freezing but beautiful.

Our feet are getting a bit itchy, and our ‘eyes’ are on Sunday. Presently the met office website is predicting the temperature to rise to 6C! Hopefully this will turn into a ‘big thaw’.

Yesterday I did follow the Grand Union via Google Maps, and it looks like in front of us there’s a place where we can wind (turn) at Grove Lock Arm (before the lock). It might be worth winding there, returning to the sanny station, and then back to Tesco. We can then prepare Cyan for our next couple weeks of cruising. (At the sanny station there’s also a winding place.)

We’re recognising we’ve got a problem with our batteries as they appear to run down rather quickly. We had 4 new batteries installed in October 2016. A problem developed with the batteries about 6 weeks later, resulting in replacement new batteries. We’re presently at the investigative stage, although we’re resigned to the fact we’ll have to replace them as soon as convenient. The batteries did have a 2 year guarantee – as to what exactly this entails, I guess we’re about to find out.

Leighton Buzzard, Steeped In History!

Had a bit of a ‘lie in’ this morning, and we woke to glorious sunshine at about 8:30 am, normally I’m up a good 2 hours earlier.

Our first chore when waking, is to check the batteries to see if the batteries need charging by starting up the engine. We were pleasantly surprised to see the battery bank was topped up, and was on ‘float’ – ‘thank you’ solar panels! The wind might be cold, but the sun is obviously getting stronger. So far today (it’s now 4:00 pm) we’ve not had to start the engine, the solar panels are keeping up with our electric usage, and that includes the inverter.

On waking, half of Cyan was surrounded by ice, obviously the ‘half’ without ice was sheltered from the cold wind.

We’ve stopped at a really ‘gem’ of a spot. Both sides of the canal have open, public areas, and dedicated to nature preservation. This morning we took ourselves for a walk along the towpath, which is tarmacked; we turned into ‘Peace Meadow’, then over the bridge into ‘Tiddenfoot Waterside Park’. We then walked around the flooded sand quarry, followed the path back, passing where we were moored (see pic below), over a footbridge bridge, and then back to Cyan.

Cyan, sitting in the sunshine.

Cyan sitting in the sunshine, solar panels absorbing quite a bit of energy.

We took a pic of each ‘information sign’, but unfortunately the writing in the pic isn’t big enough to read very well.

You can read the fascinating history of Linslade and Leighton Buzzard over the last 1500 year here. I didn’t realise that all communications during WW2 was centralised here in Leighton Buzzard – there’s such a lot to this place of which I had no idea.

The ‘Grand Union Canal’ played a big part in the wealth of this town, with the canal transporting sand from the huge sand quarry, which is now a lake. Apparently the lake is famous in fishing quarters.

The ‘Peace Meadow’, as you can imagine was a place where a declaration of peace was signed. The Declaration was in AD906 between Edward the Elder, Anglo-Saxon King of Wessex, and Guthrum, ruler of Danelaw.

The place is busy with walkers, though granted today is a sunny Sunday!

John’s DNA is rooted in these parts, his ancestors (Willson with a double ‘ll’) worked for the railways in Leighton Buzzard a couple hundred years ago, before moving to London to work at Willesden Station during Victorian times.

Think we’ll be sensible and stay here for a few days. It’s forecast to be windy later tonight, in fact the canal is starting to get a bit ‘choppy’.

Grumpy Start, But A Glorious End

Rusty had made friends with an adorable 3 month old spaniel who was living with his owner aboard a cruiser, moored near where we spent last night. He was gorgeous, and we could have easily stolen him.

The two dogs were having a great time on the towpath playing up and down, until a cyclist appeared. The cyclist took great umbrage when John alerted him (politely) that two dogs were off the lead. Whoops…. the result was a tirade, lecturing John that he had every right to cycle on the towpath. John reminded him that pedestrians have priority on towpaths, that is was a beautiful morning, it was only 9:15 am, and that he wished him a wonderful day! The cyclist was a great reminder why we love being on the water.

Rusty and his young friend, Patch

In the picture below, we were moored by the tree, but just around the corner, we discovered ice.

Cyan the icebreaker!

A little bit further on, it looks like someone has broken the ice for us.

Gosh it was cold, and I have to admit I saw several areas where I’d have liked us to moor, but was overruled! 🙁

The scenery made up for the cold.

A fabulous layered hedge. Looks like a ‘work of art’!

Our only lock of the day was Leighton Lock #27. Just a turn on the windlass caused a furious rush of water into the lock. Like watching in slow motion, I watched Cyan as she was bumped, pretty hard, against the wall of the lock, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Such a feisty lock!

By the side of the lock, it looks like there’s an old stable block.

At the top of the lock, there must be around 50 or 60 gleaming boats, all pristine, and just waiting for the holiday makers to arrive. Surely it can’t be long now, doesn’t Easter kick-off the holiday season? Just looked it up; 1st April is Easter Sunday. Ha ha, then the fun starts. 🙂

The moorings where we had an idea of stopping, were all long-term moorings. Though we were very lucky to moor right outside Tesco, with loads of room to spare. Boats are allowed to moor here for 2 hours while visiting Tesco.

We pulled up on the Tesco wharf, just as loads of kids were feeding the ducks. I’m afraid we were viewed as the devil incarnate; even though we came in slowly, quite a few of the children thought we were intentionally aiming to run over the ducks!

After a good Tesco shop, and all bags loaded inside Cyan, we cruised around the corner to top up once again with water (in case the Beast from the East, really is a ‘beast’ and freezes water point pipes), and we used the Elsan services. Our rubbish was dumped just around the corner at the rubbish point.

We didn’t cruise long after that, and we moored just after Mentmore Gardens footbridge. Mooring was a little tricky due to a strong breeze, but John and I did manage to ‘remain’ friends. 🙂 Mooring was completed just as the Rugby started on the TV.

Just over the footbridge is a nature walk/reserve, so a good place to exercise Rusty.

Doubt we’ll be moving for a day or three, depending on the weather. If we don’t move for 14 days, we’ll not be short of anything, we’re well prepared.

This evening we were rewarded with a gorgeous sunset.

Today we cruised just under 3 miles, and through 1 lock.

Stoke Hammond And The 3 Soulbury Locks

We left our moorings 0n another ‘promising’ sunny day. It was a cold night last night, though we didn’t have ice on the canal around where we moored; but we did see icy patches in the canal when we first started to cruise.

A note re solid fuel: Over the winter months we’ve been burning ‘SuperTherme’, with a short dabble into burning ‘NewHeat’, and we’ve been really satisfied. Last Monday, Jules Fuels introduced us to Excel, (£11.00 for 25kgs) and what a difference. I know the weather has been relatively warm lately, but the temperature plummeted last night, yet we still noticed a big difference (for the better) in burning Excel. There’s also a bonus in that Excel is ‘low ash’.

Where we moored last night, just before Stoke Hammond Bridge #104

Where we moored last night, just before Stoke Hammond Bridge #104


An oil rig's life boat? Able to accommodate 70 persons. Love it...

An oil rig’s life boat? Able to accommodate 70 persons. Love it…


And a beautiful Dutch Barge!

And a beautiful Dutch Barge!


 River Ouzel keeps the canal 'company' for a short while.

The River Ouzel keeps the canal ‘company’ for a short while.

Our first lock was upon us in no time, and would you believe it, the sun went in, and the wind came out!

At the bottom of the lock there’re moored boats, so while John’s setting the lock gates, Cyan and I ‘did battle’ with the wind. She had to be securely tied to a bollard on the lock’s landing just in case the wind pushed her into the moored boats. ‘Treading water’ was not an option.

Stoke Hammond Lock #23

At the top of Stoke Hammond Lock #23

While working the bottom of the 3 Soulbury Locks, John spied a boat in the top lock, coming down. Cyan was kept in the lock while John walked up the locks to help, and ‘work out a strategy’.

I’m glad John left the paddles open in the lock we were in, as the water started cascading over the middle lock, filling up the pound. Having the paddles open, kept the water ‘level’ (in the pound and the lock), hopefully stopping water gushing over the gates of ‘our’ lock, and possibly causing turbulence.


Soulbury Lock

Water gushing over the middle Soulbury Lock gates.

It was a relief when the other boat was safely in the middle lock, and the paddles were opened.  Both boats came out of their locks at the same time, and we ‘shuffled’ past each other in the full pound.

The boat that was coming down the locks was moored behind us for the night at Galleon Wharf a couple of night’s ago. He was complaining that he wasn’t able to moor on the Tesco mooring point in Leighton Buzzard because other boats were already there. We were hoping to pay Tesco a visit; Homebase is also there I believe. (A little bit of retail therapy is well overdue.) We’ll have to suss the situation out for ourselves when we get there.

The pub at the bottom lock is suitably named “The Three Locks”, though I noticed on Google Maps (street view) it used to be called “The Grand Union”.

In the middle Soulbury Lock

In the middle lock looking back down – notice the ‘tide mark’ where the water cascaded down.


Looking towards the top lock, from the middle Soulbury Lock

on the left in picture below there’s a place for boaters rubbish, and dog poo bags.

Looking down on the Soulbury Locks while sitting in the top lock.

This pair chased us through 3 fields as we passed, there were no chance of us mooring on the offside of the canal, even if we’d wanted too. Rusty joined in with the barking, though I’m not sure what was ‘said’, but perhaps Rusty was saying something like “Oh yeah, you wouldn’t be saying that if I jumped off this boat!  You pair you’re all bark and trousers – phuff!” 


By the time we moored the wind was becoming bitter, and our ears were tingling.

We’ve got absolutely brilliant WiFi  but zero digital TV signal. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will still be fine, and we can move on again, settling down for a few days (with digital TV) while this weather front moves away. We’ve still got designs on mooring near Tesco at Leighton Buzzard which is only one lock, and two miles away.

Today we’ve cruised 4 miles, and through 4 locks.


Preparing For ‘The Beast From The East’!

With an eye firmly on the weather, and looking for a sheltered location to moor while the ‘Beast from the East’ passes over, we continued our journey towards Fenny Stratford Lock (#22).

To my embarrassment I’ve never given Milton Keynes much thought; if I did connotations of a concrete jungle, with ‘concrete cows’ came to mind. After cruising through Milton Keynes; we’re really impressed. The parks are fabulous, with cycle paths running around the perimeters, and the efforts to encourage wildlife really shows.

Here’s great place for kids, with moorings very close to Gulliver’s Theme Park.

In the vicinity of Bridge #82, and Bridge #82A, work looks to be underway on the ‘Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway’. It’s a scheme to connect these two towns via a 20 mile canal, an idea first started by Samuel Whitbread MP in 1810! For more information…. It would be a ‘broad beamed’ link between the Waterways Network, and the Fens. (I’m hoping I’ve joined the ‘dots’ here.) The Nicholson Waterway Guide 1, carries information.

If the workmen were just laying pipes, then why would they scalp the surrounding land?

Pretty architecture in such rural areas.

Wished we’d have taken more notice of Skew Bridge #94! We didn’t realise what a sharp bend it was, plus there’s the problem of the narrow neck through bridge. John didn’t quite manage to get Cyan to turn far enough round, but he did manage to slow her down sufficiently, avoiding any disaster when she ‘crashed’ into the bank!

Glad we’d done a bit of ‘homework’ last evening, it meant the bridge over Fenny Stratford Lock #22 didn’t come as a complete surprise. This was a new ‘experience’ for us. We shouldn’t have worried, the bridge was easy enough to swing (it didn’t need a key or a windlass).

The house on the right of the pic, is ‘isolated’ without the bridge connecting it to roads. I noticed the house is up for sale!

We stopped at the services just after the lock for Elsan and rubbish chores, and to brim the water tank again.

Now I do appreciate this boat’s name!

It’sad; Fuel boats Ascot and Beverley looks to be in need of TLC.

The first clumps of daffodils we’ve seen in this area. Seeing that we’re travelling South, I guess Spring will be earlier (?).

On yesterday’s blog I said I hadn’t seen a ‘family’ of swans for a while – well this bunch has turned me into a ‘liar’!

John returned after taking Rusty for a walk saying he’s found ‘a perfect’ spot round the corner. All ‘things’ these days have to be considered before we moor; solar panel alignment with the sun, WiFi and TV reception…. So tomorrow, we just might be taking Cyan for a short cruise just around the corner. This could be our spot for the weekend, until we get fed up of the scenery, or after the ‘Beast from the East’ has moved over.  (Or we may just continue down the next 4 locks………decisions, decisions.)

We travelled 6.5 miles today, and manoeuvred through 1 lock/bridge.

Grand Union Canal Through Milton Keynes

Can’t say it was a cold day, but it was a grey, and damp one for our morning cruise through Milton Keynes. Unfortunately my camera doesn’t work very well in grey weather.

Recycling at it’s best, what a great idea for a garden screen.

The towpaths along this stretch through Milton Keynes are top class, unfortunately we passed some creepy areas.

I do hate to see a tragedy! A fisherman said the boat’s been sunk for several months. It looks like an abandoned boat; such boats are a costly headache for the C&RT.

Pip from NB Oleanna suggested (in a ‘comment’) we try to moor at ‘Linford Manor Park Visitor Mooring’. When we saw the mooring it looked perfect, except there were no room for us. The whole mooring looks to have been given over to ‘Winter Moorings’, which means boaters have paid C&RT to moor on these normally 24/48 hour moorings over the winter months; for a fee of course. The boaters we were chatting with yesterday at the water point, mentioned a delightful place, and they were really disappointed as continual cruisers, that one of their favourite stops has been denied them; we think it was this one. Yes, it was a shame we couldn’t moor there, but I’d really rather not go into the politics because I can see both sides, even though we’re miffed.  We could have moored on the opposite side of the canal, except it looked like it was on the edge of a housing estate.

Nothing for it but to continue on.

It’s still early in these parts for daffodils, but we did see a carpet of yellow crocuses. Not that the picture below shows them in their glory.

The pics taken today, loaded below, are in no particular order.

It wasn’t long ago we saw lots of ‘swan families’, swans we see now are in pairs. Can’t wait to see cygnets again 🙂

Not so sure this posh seat is comfy, but it is unique, and a joy to see.

What a fabulous sculpture, a tribute to the hard working barge horses. The form of the sculpture is perfect, it’s like a ‘ghost’ from the past. It takes our minds to how much, through the ages, we owe our ‘silent’ animal friends.


Hate disrupting a fishing competition. In the main fishermen are pleasant, but at the odd times we’ve come across a fisherman who dislikes boats disturbing his fishing! One fisherman actually said “Without you boaters, there wouldn’t be canals, and we wouldn’t be able to fish!” We did make a point today of thanking them, peppered with a bit of humour (we hoped).

Going over ‘New Bradwell Aqueduct’.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to find a place where we can shelter from the ‘Beast From The East’. Will it be as ‘bad’ as the weathermen predict?

Today we’ve cruised 6.5 miles.