Mon 24th Oct Leighton Buzzard to Horton Lock
In the morning there were fork lift trucks operating in the depot the other side of the fence and they had reversing warnings blaring out across the area.
James trundled a cassette back to the facilities before we both went to visit Aldi and Tesco to stock up. There will be several days before we find the next decent shop.
From our mooring in Leighton Buzzard
Leaving Leighton Buzzard
As we left Leighton Buzzard we passed the wharf with the narrow gauge railway lines, which apparently used to be connected to Grovebury quarries.
The railway lines on the wharf
As we approached Grove Lock a kingfisher flew past and landed on a bush next to the canal. Sadly the phone needed booting up so the fantastic picture we could have had as we passed so close will have to be left to the imagination!
At Grove Lock we met Malcolm, the Aylesbury Salvation Army man who started the Waterways Chaplaincy. He was on duty, going to offer help to a boater who was in difficulties.
Malcolm at Grove Lock
We noticed that the house that used to be a Church at Church Lock had been sold. Above this lock we noticed that the pound was very shallow, with rocks showing at the edges. We were hoping to moor below Slapton Lock but it was too shallow. We discovered some engineers who had a water pump extracting water from the canal. When we arrived at Slapton Lock we found a notice about a new marina proposed
Slapton Marina proposal
We moved on through Slapton and Horton Locks, where we found a mooring, although it was opposite a farmyard, and was accompanied by some country aromas. At least we could get into the side.
4 locks, 4 miles
Tue 25th Oct Horton Lock to Tring reservoirs
The boat behind us was just setting off as we emerged to get the boat ready. It was Intrepid and we shared the locks with them as far as Pitstone Wharf, which is where they stopped for a pumpout.
Sharing with Intrepid
Swingbridge near Pitstone
On our own in Marsworth Locks
We continued to Marsworth where we filled up with water and emptied a cassette. There is a new sanitary station here, opened earlier this year. Sadly the elsan facility is tucked away in a corner where it is difficult to use. The hose has therefore already got a kink because it has to be bent to get it to the right place.
New houses have been built along the facilities moorings but there is now a notice saying “private property” there!
While were there, Intrepid turned up, because they had not been allowed to use the advertised pumpout at Pitstone Wharf. It was just for their moorers! Fortunately the new sanitary station at Marsworth includes a pumpout facility. Intrepid was then going to head down to Aylesbury so we said farewell.
Intrepid investigating the pumpout at Marsworth by the new houses
We passed the turning to Aylesbury and went through the first of the Tring locks to moor one lock up opposite the reservoirs.
Intrepid went past: Pumpout not working at Marsworth, so they were heading for Cowroast. We have since found out that the residents in the new houses objected to the pumpout being too close!!!!! That is one of the reasons why we have a cassette.
James went for a walk by the reservoirs and saw lots of shovelers, and a flock of starlings having a murmuration. There was also a pleasant sunset over the reservoir.
Sunset over Tring reservoirs
Moored near Marsworth
8 locks, 4 miles, 1 swing bridge
Wed 26th Oct Tring reservoirs
We stayed put today and had a song practise, preparing for the BCF AGM and the following day in Aylesbury.
We both went for a walk and saw another murmuration. It is extraordinary how the birds not only turn together, but they all flap their wings at the same time, and then suddenly glide in unison. Remarkable.
We went for a meal at the Angler’s Reach. They are a very friendly bunch in there.
No boating today
Thu 27th Oct Tring reservoirs to Cowroast
The first job was to retrieve James’ hat from the pub, where he had left it last night. Well it was dark when we left – who needs a sunhat in the dark? Thankfully they were open early for breakfast.
We then went across the road to Bluebells cafe for breakfast. Eggs Royale and Eggs Benedict.
We had noticed a BCF boat called Interlock moored almost opposite to us, but we hadn’t seen anyone aboard. As we were preparing for departure, we spotted some people there, and they were also getting ready to go, so we were able to share the locks together.
Sharing with Interlock
Half way up
We saw some filming going on, with a kayak as the subject matter. We never found out what was happening.
Kayaks being filmed
Interlock paused at Bulbourne while we carried on through the cutting on the summit pound to Cowroast. There were beautiful autumn colours as well as squirrels and pheasants on the towpath.
When we arrived at Cowroast we turned in the winding hole and reversed to the facilities by the lock. There was another boat called Nomad on the lock bollards, which also serve as the bollards for the facilities, so we marked time mid stream until he had finished. He was having problems with the notice which asked him to leave the lock empty, as he thought he should drop all the paddles and wasn’t happy with leaving one up. Another boater was patiently explaining that if the lock filled up for any length of time the adjacent cottage got flooded. It took a long time for this conversation to take its course, before he finally took his boat into the lock and we were able to use the facilities.
We emptied two cassettes, dumped the rubbish and filled the water tank, and then went to visit Darren to discuss some engineering work needed next April as we head down towards London. He seems to know what he needs to, and others have recommended him, so we will get him to do the work, which includes fitting an Axiom propeller, making ventilation holes in the front locker, and blocking up some drain holes either side of the engine bilge compartment.
We left to find a mooring, passing a boat with messages about witches, with a pentagram on the front.
We moored a little north of Bridge 136. The boat in front had a black cat which chased Hugo twice, and tried to come in even after we had locked the cat flap.
6 locks, 5 miles
Next: back to Bulbourne for a meal with Aylesbury Boaters on Saturday, then down 21 locks to Aylesbury for the winter.