Daily Archives: 01/09/2017
The Grand Union really hugs the perimeter of Milton Keynes and as a result it takes a long time to leave the town. We didn’t do much on our second day on Campbell Park, I washed the outside of the boat and Sue cleaned the inside. In the afternoon we went for a walk and at Sue’s suggestion found ourselves at a pub called the Barge. It is a part of the Vintage Inn chain and as such we can get a 25% discount on food and drink so we had our dinner there and very nice it was too. The nights are starting to draw in now but we were still back on board before the daylight had gone.
After a late night sitting up talking and having a laugh together, we had a good night’s sleep and woke up to yet another blue skied, sunny day. Neither of us had any idea what we wanted to do but after a bit of deliberation decided that we should move on with no particular destination in mind. Once we had set off we had intended to stop at Giffard Park and make use of the services but when we got there they were fully occupied so we carried on and stopped next to Great Linford Park.
This was Sue’s idea and although it took us a few minutes to find the right combination of mooring posts and the deployment of the fat fenders, it turned out to be a great decision. We had lunch in the nearby Nag’s Head and what a great pub this is.
The pub dates back to 1550 and claims to be the place where the drink, the Bloody Mary originated. Whether the claim is valid is debatable but it’s a good story nonetheless and it fits in with the local church and manor house. It is a lovely location with an arts and craft centre, beyond the pub there is a small shopping centre with a Co-op, chip shop, convenience store, Costa Coffee and barber shop.
We returned to our mooring and settled down for the afternoon on the front deck where Sue fed a family of swans and I just put my feet up and enjoyed yet another day of my retirement.
In contrast to Tuesday, Wednesday was very much cooler. Our mooring at Water Eaton had been a good one but we had wanted to move on to Milton Keynes. We were on our way just after half past eight and half an hour later we were approaching Fenny lock. With “Jules Fuels” working pair on the water point and a boat coming out of the lock, space was quite restricted but we quickly had Caxton in the lock and of course the swing bridge was already open. Despite the fact that this lock is shallow, it isn’t a quick operation to pass through it with the swing bridge sitting across the chamber. Nevertheless, it didn’t take us too long to get our way through the lock, helped in part by a young boy who was part of the crew of a hire boat moored below the lock who closed one of the bottom gates for us.
With the windlasses stowed inside, we started the next part of our trip which we knew would be lock free for many miles. There were very few boats on the move but one that we encountered had a steerer who had disappeared below deck, handily enough on a bend. Luckily enough he resurfaced just in time to see us and take evasive action. We encountered a day hire boat from Milton Keynes Marina which not only appeared to be sitting low in the water but was also pumping lots of water from its bilge. After following them for a mile or so, they pulled over and then waved us past. I asked them if everything was alright but they assured us that their low water line was due to their overweight crew. We carried on and eventually were delighted to find that there was lots of space on the Campbell Park moorings. Every time that we have passed this way we have been disappointed that there have been no free moorings in this area but this time we could have moored six or seven boats either side of the cut.
We were tied up just after eleven o’clock and with heavy rain forecast for later in the afternoon, we decided to walk into town and take shelter in the vast malls there. In the event, the BBC got it wrong again and the rain didn’t materialise but we were still happy enough having had lunch and a wander around the shops. Campbell Park looked lovely even on a dull day so all in all we’d had a decent afternoon.