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.

 

2 thoughts on “Stoke Hammond And The 3 Soulbury Locks

  1. If we remember it right, there is a long line of permanent moorings after the hire base. Then there is the stop and shop Tesco moorings. There may be a short length of visitor moorings just before the road bridge, but we’re not sure of that. Just through the bridge is a water point and then there are moorings just a bit further on, we had to use spikes. Hope the weather isn’t too bad for you, we had the bottom jaw achingly cold wind with us today. Pip

    • Thanks Pip, we’ve had a long look at Google Maps, but that can be deceiving. It’s reassuring what you said, so fingers crossed we’ll get a mooring. The wind is cutting, hope it doesn’t last too long. Jen

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