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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Stoke Bruerne to The Soulbury Three Locks

Monday 7th April.

Having had a nice weekend, with us having a lovely Sunday Roast in the Navigation Inn, for our dinner, the remainder of Sunday saw us have wintry showers.
So we a woke to a very cold morning, with a chilly breeze. But we were leaving Stoke Bruerne anyway, so having had breakfast and walked Paddy; we set off at 9.15am with the prospect of 7 locks to do. As Keith was getting the boat engine warmed up, I went and set the first lock, unfortunately there was no other boats going down to we would be using the double locks on our own. We did meet a hire boat coming up through the locks.
Having done the last lock and emptied the loo again, we headed off along the wide canal.

This is my first time down this way so I am looking forward to a whole new experience. We did come to Stoke Bruerne on our other boat but no further, than outside the museum. For Keith this is home territory. I am overwhelmed by the scenery, it is all very picturesque. What really spoils the view though is other boater’s rubbish. Yes we past this mess on the towpath.
Why can’t they take their rubbish with them, instead of leaving it where they dumped it whilst they moored up for what have been a long time. Grrrrrrrrrrr it makes my blood boil.
We passed Yardley Wharf and the village of Yardley Gobian, which is a small thatched and stone community, the village is bypassed by the A508.
Again the views across the countryside are breath taking, it makes you realise just how lucky we are to be able to see such beauty.
We came past Thrupp Wharf and this sign made us both giggle.

We did not however see any of the elderly ducks hahaha.
Our stopping place for the day was to be Cosgrove, which we entered under Soloman’s Bridge.

Soloman’s Bridge is a splendid stone bridge, decorated in the Gothic style and built in 1800. Its style is unique to canal bridges.
It was now 12.30pm and we found ourselves a mooring and enjoyed lunch.
One of the reasons for continually cruising is that not only do we get to enjoy life afloat, but we get to stop at lovely places like Cosgrove and have a look around. So having had lunch we set off on what turned out to be a 4 mile walk. Firstly we walked to the Great Ouse Aqueduct, and took a path under the canal using a very small tunnel.

Just as well neither Keith nor I are very tall. I am 5 foot and Keith is only a little taller.

We saw the old line of the canal and one of the locks, it was not an original, but one put in place to show you how it would of looked.
This was put in place whilst the aqueduct was being built.

Having seen that we then walked back to Cosgrove Lock and along the old Stratford Cut (Buckingham Arm), which is now disused, but has residential moorings along it. We walked for quite sometime before finding a foot path which took us up into Cosgrove itself, where we passed the church.
I love looking around old villages; you get a feel for its history. We walked through another tiny pedestrian tunnel which takes you under the canal, at the time we could hear a boat above us. Near the lock is the impressive Cosgrove Hall, where in 1958 a Roman bathhouse was found in front of the hall. Whilst the village shop has now closed down, there is a shop for provisions at the near by Mobile Home Park. You can get to it if you go down behind the sanitary station before the lock. It has everything you would need in the way of food. So having walked 4 miles it was back to the boat for a coffee and a rest hahaha. It will be a quiet evening onboard for us, with a chicken casserole and dumplings for dinner.

Tuesday 8th April.

Oh what a beautiful morning. Whilst ready to take Paddy for his morning walk, I found a note on our back counter from the mooring warden welcoming us to Cosgrove, in the note it also gave us telephone numbers to ring if we had any problems. Isn’t always nice to know someone cares. Walk over and 9am time to set off on our days adventure.We crossed the Aqueduct over the Great Ouse and were welcomed into Milton Keynes.

From the canal you can see Ouse Valley Park on the left and to the right is Old Wolverton and the Site of the medieval village of Old Wolverton. We were then on the out skirts of Milton Keynes and it did kind of surprise me that it was not more built up. I expected more industry and what I got were houses and lots of open green land, which were parks and playing fields for the kids amongst us. There was some art of interest as well.

After Stonebridge a disused Windmill comes into view as you cross over another aqueduct.
I wonder if one day they will get the windmill working again?

We had thought we may stop in Milton Keynes, so we could visit the Odean Cinema with our free tickets, but because it was such a beautiful day we decided to continue, so I prepared lunch which we had on the move.
The wildlife of the day seemed to be the Heron, we saw quite a few as we made our way to our over night mooring.

At Great Linford there is some wonderful parkland, with lots of walks and things to do, including the Medival Village of Great Linford and the Brick Kilns, non of which we would see on this trip.
We made our way to Fenny Stratford and the lock, and who should be coming the other way but Trevor on NB Beau. We first met Trevor last year in Stone. He has a hairy companion now in the shape of a border collie, and that is my fault hahaha. I put Trevor onto the Border Collie Trust at Rugeley, where he found Bill. We said our hello’s, caught up on news and then said our goodbye’s before heading down through the lock with another boat we had been following for some of the day. My laugh of the day came when they entered the lock with us. It looked like husband and wife with Grand children onboard. What made me laugh was the way the husband spoke to his wife, she was steering the boat into the lock, and he was shouting instructions to her, at which point she shouted “I cannot hear you over the radio”, which was blasting out Robbie Williams. The husbands reply was “Moan, moan, moan, nag nag, nag woman that’s all you ever do”. They were in for a happy cruise. I did not utter a word, I just did my side of the lock and left them to it hahahahahThe Lock at Fenny Stratford is different because it has a swing bridge right across the middle of it. We skirted past Bletchley which was known for its lace making and of course in war time, it was where they used to break the codes.
Having done Stoke Hammond Lock we found a mooring at the bottom of the Soulbury Three Locks for the day. It has been a very pleasant day for us both, Keith last came through this area in the late 60’s early 70’s so it has all change so much. For him it will now be a matter of trying to see things he remembers from his day's working on Pieces.


Anonymous said...

hi joe kieth in pieces again lol alan

LadyBanana said...

Some wonderful pix there Jo.

Elderly ducks, that's hilarious! As for the tunnel, not sure I'd like to go down there!

I do envy you the freedom and adventure, looks such fun :)

Maureen said...

Great photos and stories, Jo, and I LOVE the map! Thank you!

That Elderly Duck sign is the best thing I've seen in a long time... is that Duck SMOKING????


drew dunn said...

love the blog keep up the good work