Monday, 21 September 2020

Leighton Buzzard to Aylesbury

Sat 19th September  Leighton Buzzard to Seabrook Locks

We shared locks with a single guy on Hakuna Matata for four locks – Grove, Church, Slapton and Horton.

Grove Lock

Hakuna Matata

Mr Humby, Gordon’s old boat from Aylesbury

The next lock was Ivinghoe 32, which we did on our own. Red Kite was one lock ahead of us, so they waited for us, and we shared Ivinghoe 33, and the first two Seabrook Locks 34 and 35.

On our own for one lock

Rural scene

Sharing with Red Kite

We saw Aylesbury boaters Nigel and Pauline on Jarrah going the other way. We moored at Seabrook among many signs of autumn.

Moored at Seabrook

Berries, apples, seeds and flowers

Water art

8 locks, 5 miles. Dep 0940, arr 1320.

Sun 20th September  Seabrook Locks to Puttenham

We made an early start through the final Seabrook Lock and the Swingbridge. We passed BCF boat Interlock, but there was no sign of David. Sunday seems to be fishing competition day, and we saw a group of fishermen clustered together, unaware of the rule of six.

Swing bridge


Fishermen in a group of more than six

At Marsworth Locks there was a boat coming down in the top lock, when we were in the bottom lock, so we swapped over. The top lock was our final double lock for the year.


Marsworth Top Lock

We moored on the rings at Marsworth, where we had breakfast, and followed our church service from Broughton Church on Facebook. They were meeting together in the canal basin  for the first time since lockdown, with limited numbers, and a live band. No congregational singing, but it is a start.

Moored at Marsworth for church

We moved on to the Aylesbury Arm. The staircase locks always need to be set, as you need the top one full and the bottom one empty. After that, many of the locks were in our favour, as a lot of water was flowing over the top gates.

Marsworth Junction

Into the Aylesbury Arm

Lock 1

The staircase

It was Battle of Britain weekend, and we were honoured by a flypast of three Spitfires and a Hurricane. There was only time to snap with a mobile phone. Earlier in the year we had a flypast by the Red Arrows on the Buckby flight.


Fine weather

We collected a few damsons on the way, and we stopped above Lock 10 at Puttenham. We gathered more damsons, and Hazel made some jam. In previous years we have missed the damsons. This year we are six weeks earlier


12 locks, 4 miles, 1 swing bridge. Dep 0755, arr 0900 Marsworth. Dep 1200, arr 1410 Puttenham.

Mon 21st September  Puttenham to Aylesbury

James went for an early walk along a footpath to Wilstone reservoir. Hares, rabbits, egrets and a dunlin were the highlights. The lowlights were a heap of rubbish dumped in a field.


Moored at Puttenham


Black rabbit


Wilstone Reservoir

Egret and Heron

What sort of person does this?

James went for an early walk along a footpath to Wilstone reservoir. Hares, rabbits, egrets and a dunlin were the highlights. The lowlights were a heap of rubbish dumped in a field.

We set off for our last day of cruising. Hazel set the first lock, and we had a pleasant cruise through the countryside, spotting a red kite as we went, and a heron showing off its wide wingspan as it landed on the towpath.

Red Kite

Heron landing

The reedy section

Our last lock of the year

We had phoned ahead to let them know we were coming, and Andrew had the lift bridge open for us. We topped up with fuel for the winter, and moved to our new mooring outside the clubhouse. We borrowed a small compressor from Bryan, as our car tyres were very squashy. Lots of chores to be done now.

Our new mooring

5 locks, 3 miles, 1 lift bridge.

So here we are for the winter, much earlier than usual, as we are going to be in our flat for a few months. Probably not too much to blog about.

Totals for 2020: 339 locks, 462 miles, 18 lift or swing bridges, 18 tunnels.

Grafton Regis to Leighton Buzzard

Wed 16th September  Grafton Regis to Stanton Low Park

Moored near Grafton Regis.

This was a peaceful mooring, and we had another sunny day, a beautiful day for boating.

Good boating weather


A pair of working boats

We cruised past Yardley Gobion, where we saw what seemed to be a course for bicycles or motorbikes.


Competition course?




An unusual pheasant

At Cosgrove, where we wanted to take on water, there was a boat already there, so we pulled in behind them. They weren’t moving for a while, so we managed to connect to the tap by connecting two hoses. The pressure was low, and it took 45 minutes. Meanwhile Robin and Laura on Miss Matty arrived and waited. We have met them before at Cavalcade in Little Venice.


Congestion at the water point

Miss Matty

We moved on down through Cosgrove Lock, and along the straight mile across the aqueduct over the Great Ouse, and on to Wolverton where we moored up and visited Tesco for some supplies.


Cosgrove Aqueduct


Looking down on the Great Ouse


Railway carriage manufacturing works at Wolverton

Moored for shopping in Wolverton.

We set off once more to go another two miles before mooring up. We passed the railway mural, and further on we met Aylesbury moorer Andy on Earlswood.


A heron

The mural

Andy on Earlswood

We continued to Stanton Low Park, one of our favourite Milton Keynes moorings. There were a lot of moored boats, and we were thankful to find a space on the piling, overlooking the ruins of St Peter’s Church.

It was a busy week with fine weather, and we heard that all the hire boats in the country had been booked out. There were lots of blue and red Wyvern Shipping hire boats around. Some were more experienced than others, and one hit us, as they were coming round the corner too fast and lost control.

Whiff and Anne came past again on Maris Otter. When all the boating had settled down, we had a lovely peaceful mooring.

1 lock, 7 miles. Dep 0945, arr 1245 Wolverton (incl 45 mins water). Dep 1405, arr 1455.

Thu 17th September  Stanton Low Park to Hammond Lock

A lot of our boating was on tickover this morning, as we passed many moored boats, including Maris Otter once more. We passed the Old Wharf House, where the junction with the Newport Pagnell branch used to be. Soon after that we saw Kay on Karry B, another Aylesbury boat.


Old Wharf House


Met Kay on Karry B


The site of the proposed link to Bedford

Heron on a tree 

Fenny Stratford Lock had two hire boats going up in front of us. There were two more boats arriving as we left, so we could leave the lock gates and the swing bridge open.

We came across Tudor and Flo on Out n About. We see them nearly every time we pass through Milton Keynes.  Kathryn’s old boat Leo II was a little further on.

Out n About

Leo II

We shared Hammond Lock with a hire boat, and moored up just around the corner. James picked some blackberries.


Sharing Hammond Lock



2 locks, 10 miles. Dep 0945, arr 1355.

Fri 18th September  Hammond Lock to Leighton Buzzard

Two boats went past before we ready to move. When we set off, we were pleased that we had moored where we had done, as there were lots of boats moored along the Stoke Hammond pound, with few spaces between them.

We arrived at Three Locks, and discovered that the bottom lock was full, with the top gates open. The middle lock had the two boats going up, the ones that had passed us, and in the top lock was a hire boat waiting to move down to the middle lock.

James helped the hire boat down through the middle lock and the bottom lock, before we started up. At least we had the first two locks in our favour.

Our turn


Ascending Three Locks

When we left the Three Locks, we found that one of the boats in front had moored up. We followed the zig zag route past the Globe Inn, and arrived at Leighton Lock just as the other boat was going in, so we shared with Ooh-La-La.

They moored up soon afterwards, before the hire boat base where staff were busy turning boats around ready for more customers. The hire boat trade has been hiring out every boat recently, because people don’t want to go abroad for fear of having to quarantine on their return.


Sharing Leighton Lock with Ooh-La-La


Wyvern Shipping with few boats

We stopped outside Tesco on the two-hour visitor moorings. We visited Superdrug, Waitrose, Aldi and Tesco, and slightly exceeded our two hours. It is not enough. It should be 4 hours. If we wanted a haircut, or lunch, we would be overstaying.

We moved on another mile to find a more peaceful mooring away from the traffic, by the footbridge 115A, opposite a canoe club.

Our mooring in Leighton Buzzard

4 locks, 5 miles. Dep 1010, arr 1240 Leighton Buzzard. Dep 1455, arr 1520 Br 115A.

Next: Back to Aylesbury over three days