Broadoak Bridge to Barley Mow, Cosgrove
We are starting to play leapfrog with the speedy boat from yesterday and Anne’s boat. Anne’s boat (as it has Anne’s name on the side, Mick’s sister) is normally moored at Cassio Wharf and we consider to be the last truly shiny boat before London. They passed us this morning whilst we were having breakfast, so we took a bit more time before we set off as the first bit of our cruise today would be the Soulbury Three Locks.
As we approached it looked like a group were about to make camp just above the locks, there were poles coming out of bags, but as I walked up the shape being formed was that of a canoe. We keep seeing these collapsable canoes and they are quite ingenious, no need for a roof rack just a bit of time to assemble them.
It seemed to be busy at the locks, no volunteers on duty, but there was a narrowboat coming up in the last lock being followed by a widebeam. A chap from the narrowboat said that the pounds between the three chambers were well down and the following widebeam didn’t know what they were doing. He was right the pound below the top lock was very low and about to become even lower as the next lock down was filled. So Mick and I decided to empty the top lock, to give them a chance of getting across without having to try to pass us. They were a bit bemused by an empty lock and us waiting above, but the chap at the helm was having enough difficulty steering as it was, giving the lock entrance a very large biff. There was an 83 year old Dad on the stern being taken for a jaunt and two daughters in the cabin who were screaming everytime the boat
hit touched anything. However the lady with it seemed more concerned that the contents of her coke can didn’t get spilt when moving the lock gates!
Once they were out of the way we made our way down quietly and calmly. A few gongoozlers were already about and a chap taking a breather on his run helped open and close some gates for me. On the moorings below the locks were two familiar boats. As we passed we both doffed our caps and said thank you for our cratch repairs, we wished we’d had a few flowers that we could have left on the roof of Allan’s boat.
Onwards now to Stoke Hammond Lock. A boat was just coming into the lock with incredibly loud MEOWing going on. Their cat had managed to get out onto the roof of the boat and was scared so shouting it’s head off! Once safely back inside they started to lock up. Next Fenny Stratford Lock where we topped up with water and then pulled up for lunch. NB Freespirit was up ahead but nobody was onboard. We waved as we went by as we did to the lady in her house. Now we had the eleven mile pound that goes round Milton Keynes. I like some bits of this journey, but found important things to do below. The skies were getting darker and inside I was considering turning on the lights even though it was only 5pm.
By Bridge 74 we pulled over. Mick had spotted on Briar Rose’s blog that there was a Council Tip nearby. With a couple of services worth of oil on board and the remains of oily bilge water from Lillian’s engine bay taking up too much space Mick did a couple of journeys to dispose of it all. Despite there being a sign at the gate saying no pedestrian access the chap there had no problems with Mick turning up wheeless. On the second trip the heavens opened, but only for a short period, not enough time to get a soaking.
The approach to Cosgrove Lock takes you over the Ouse Aqueduct where far below cows were paddling in the shallow water. Up ahead we could see a Wyvern Hire boat lining up for the lock, today we’ve seen just as many of these blue boats as any others, our estimate when we passed through Leighton Buzzard the other day was that at least 22 boats were out. We were a long way off so not surprised when they didn’t wait for us. Anne’s boat and the speedy one were moored amongst the long line that we trundled past. Mr Anne’s Boat chatted out of his side hatch as we passed, suspect we’ll be seeing them again in the morning.
6 locks, 16.8 miles, 1 can of coke with a tipple added?! 3 big bangs, 1 almost empty pound, 2 caps doffed, 1 less gentleman on the cut, 1 roof riding cat, 1 full water tank, 1 blogging boat, 0 one home, 11 long miles, 4 bottles oil, 1 large bottle of erggh, 2 paddling cows, 1 life history, 2 helpers, 1 late finish, 1 depressed cat.