Saturday, August 29, 2009

Losing a battle

British Waterways appears to be losing the battle to keep our waterways open. Cutting back on maintenance is going to be very costly in the future so will prove to be false economy as it has in the past. Water loss and emergency stoppages are now inconveniencing boaters. The Llangollen, a popular canal, nearly got closed due to another major leak, the Shropshire Union is closed for the same reason and electric back pumping on the Kennet and Avon canal failed. British Waterways were then obliged to ask the K n A Canal Trust to run their Crofton steam pump to keep the boats moving.
Most canals have a Trust Organisation with a dedicated group of volunteers who are doing their best to look after and extend the waterways. Maybe British Waterways will be asking them for more help in the future.

Starting over

We were reminded about how we started boating on the waterways when a friend came to visit. He had been encouraged by our adventures so he and family were looking for a boat. While doing some research on the internet we discovered that our old boat Moore To Life was on the market again. It is quite amazing how much we have learnt and were very happy to offer advice during their visit. Hopefully we will keep in touch and follow their experiences as time goes by.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Slide show

The Slide Show is a collection of pictures from the 2005 blog. When I have uploaded 2006 I intend to put that one on.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hot days and cool evenings

We were not alone for long at our next mooring having gone down two locks.
Along came Rock n Roll with George and Carol on board and decided to stop. While Ann helped with the mooring I put the kettle on for a welcoming drink. We had been reading their blog and had wondered if they had passed us when down the Wendover Arm so were pleased they stopped. These things are not planned but we have had company since returning to our boat.
Table and chairs were put out on the tow path and we enjoyed catching up with their adventures since we last saw them. Next day was that very hot Wednesday so we stayed inside with the white sheets outside the windows and watched a DVD. Thankfully there was a strong breeze blowing through the boat. That evening the table and chairs came out again so we could enjoy the cool evening.
We were entertained watching huge fish feeding on our unwanted bread.
We parted company heading north for facilities at Leighton Buzzard. We were lucky to be able to share the wide locks with another boat. The family of four were moving the boat for a friend and it was their first lock. They had no idea how to proceed so were happy to travel with us for a while. After a few locks they were able to do it for themselves.
As we approached the town we pulled into a space before the facilities. Our plan to shop at Tesco then top up with water was achieved in good time and we moved on. As usual the 2 hour shopping moorings were all occupied as we passed. At the next lock we were joined by a hire boat just out from Wyvern Shipping Company with a ‘pilot’ on board giving instructions. Only a mile further on, passing the busy Globe Inn, a quiet mooring was found for the weekend. The tow path was in good condition being one of those Cycle Ways. The hedges were well trimmed and grass cut so plenty of room for the table and chairs.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


We stopped below Marsworth locks where Ray n Rose left us on Maddy Rose the next day. It was here that we watched huge fish chomping at slices of bread.
Our friends Terry n Myra arranged to come up to stay with us for a few days so we moved up the two locks with another boat, as it happens, the boater travelling alone. “Just amazes me how active he was jumping off his boat as it drifted into the lock.” We met our friends at the White Lion pub having filled our tank with water. After a refreshing drink on board we all decided to have lunch at the pub and very reasonable it was too.
Then we moved the boat up the locks past the huge reservoirs, a popular place with many people here to enjoy the views and wild life on the water. The reservoirs were created by the canal engineers to provide water at the summit of the Grand Union.
A decision was made by us to travel along the Wendover arm so a sharp right turn under the bridge was required. The Wendover Arm Trust had restored it but it was not open when we last came this way.
It is only navigable for about a mile to bridge 3 where we could turn and stay a night.
We walked over the hill to bridge 4 which got us over the dry section and down to Wilstone reservoir. The Canal Trust have plans to restore it all the way to Wilstone.
We returned to the main line the next day and turned into the lock where a boat was waiting for us. It is always easier and good for the system to go down the double locks with two boats. We stopped in the longest pound before the last lock by the Marsworth reservoirs. After lunch on board we all went for a walk round the huge man made ‘ponds’. The Red walk was supposed to be the shortest but we ended up on a long hike. On returning to the boat we found the water levels had gone down so had to put the wheels out to get us off the mud. “The wheels keep the boat away from the edge.” Terry went to make sure the lock gates were properly shut. So many boats had gone down one by one that the water supply was not keeping up. It was no better the next day so we moved down early through the lock and said goodbye to our friends.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Travelling with Maddy Rose

We moved off early and stopped at the Linford water point just as another boat was moving off. Enough room for one boat at a time here and the water supply was slow. Ann had time to nip off to the local shop for milk and bread. By the time the tank was full Maddy Rose and others were gathering in the queue. It proved difficult to get away due to the wind and passing all those boats! Next stop was at Campbell Park where luckily both our boats found a space.
Milton Keynes is a unique town in that it was designed and built from start to finish rather than developed and expanded like most of our towns and cities. Set out on a grid pattern with separate roads cycle ways and paths. Campbell Park occupies a large square between the canal and the shopping centre. There is a large duck pond which is kept filled with water runoff from the town. On the other side of the canal are the two Willen Lakes where the flood water is pumped back into the river Ousel. It was a sunny hot day when we walked round those lakes taking a picnic lunch with us.
When we returned Maddy Rose had left so we set off to catch them up eventually at Leighton Buzzard. Then we moved on to Marsworth. We had found many more good moorings since we came this way in 2005. Several new marinas are being dug out along the way but the linear moorings don’t seem to get shorter! Many of the boats are for residential use and the local councils are threatening them with charging rates even if in a marina.
Breaking news is that the Shropshire Union canal is closed at Shebdon Embankment being dewatered between Bridges 44 and 48 to stop a leak. Tyrley Locks, Adderly Locks and Audlem Locks are closed until a water supply can be restored.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A train town and lakes

During a sunny day we made our way across the Great Ouse aqueduct and stopped at Wolverton for the shops.
Much has changed round here with new apartment blocks and visitor moorings but not a place to stay overnight. Wolverton’s claim to fame was as a railway town and is celebrated by a white wall with a black picture of a train.
Some time ago it was restored but now, sadly, it has been obliterated by graffiti. Such is the lack of respect shown by some locals. (Picture taken in 2005)
Both M2L and Maddy Rose moored by Linford Lakes and we set up the table and chairs on the wide cut grass tow path. By the end of the day there were many more boaters here to enjoy the sunshine.
Ann & I with Molly set off next day on a 2 hour walk round the lakes passing the remains of St. Peters Church following the public foot paths as shown on our geo map. Sometimes proving hard to follow due to fenced off fields of crops and wet muddy paths.
We crossed the Great Ouse River, the same that our friends Sue n Vic are travelling on downstream of Bedford where it is navigable. The lakes here were inaccessible being a wild fowl centre with private signs at every turn towards them. We did see Egrets, Cormorants, Turns and Kestrals at a distance. Having got round the lakes we returned along the canal tow path.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Return to our boat home

Gayton Marina had been good to us by offering a temporary mooring for an un specified time. Our grand lady has recovered and is coping with life again. We had got the ball rolling on getting help at home and improving the household. We also travelled about locally visiting many of our friends and relations. Navigation on the roads is so much more than on the waterways with all those junctions, roundabouts, signs and controlling lights. Then there are all the cars and lorries moving so fast. Finding our way around only made easier because we were on familiar ground. Brod offered to take us back to the marina which took just over 2 hours.
After such a long spell of inactivity our two and a half year old batteries needed some TLC. The solar panels had kept them charged up but the capacity seemed reduced. After topping up some cells with water and charging for a couple of hours we hope they will recover.
We topped up our water tank and loaded food from the Tesco delivery before moving on to Blisworth. It was there that we came across Rose and Ray on Maddy Rose.
Next day we travelled together through the tunnel, past Stoke Bruerne and down the locks. We stopped about a mile further on in sunshine and put out the deck chairs. As we sat there enjoying a chat over a cup of tea and a sandwich it started raining. Then it got dark so we went in the boat just before a thunder storm.