There is a new feature in our web site called Slideshow. A collection of Waterway pictures that we have taken while exploring the system over the years. Click on the 'moore2life' link on the right and when you have our web page select the new feature.
We set off two locks below Stoke Bruerne and found two boats about to go in the lock. So we tied up at the bollards and waited. The boats went up in the lock and waited for a boat coming down from the next lock before proceeding.
A single boat swapped places in the lock and waited. We were told they were waiting for another single boat coming down. “Fair enough, better to carry on down two at a time.” By the time the two boats had gone up, that single boat was joined by another to come down! So the single boat that we were waiting for eventually came down. Then at last it was our turn to go up but despite all that waiting, no other boat came up with us. That is the way it is, sometimes it just takes twice as long to get through locks.
Thankfully being September we were enjoying calm sunny weather as nature paused, waiting for autumn.
As we travel around the system we are bound to see the deterioration. Soft edges, muddy waters, broken bridges, suspect structures..... In many places the waterway is narrowed by excessive vegetation reaching out to scratch the boat. Been like it for many years with no real sign of maintenance. Some of the old brick arched bridges are in a near state of collapse.
This year several canals have been closed and some undergone emergency repair during their summer use. Even some of the facilities for boaters are ‘on the edge’ of closing. At one place near Milton Keynes the water was off for a while and the waste disposal suspended due to fly tipping. Some Elsan drains have been left blocked for some time. Since the end of August we have noticed more bags of rubbish dumped in the hedgerows.
So it seems there is plenty to do to keep our valuable waterways open, clean and tidy. But does our government have the will to do so? Their own laws and regulations say they should. What must our foreign tourists think of our dirty untidy country side? Will they come again?
Perhaps we should be encouraging those groups of people who do have the will to look after our waterways and countryside. Like the various Trust organisations associated with the waterways and countryside.
We were at Campbell Park, Milton Keynes on the Grand Union when they came. Just about 2 hours on the road for them. What a marvellous place to explore between the park and the lakes. “Bring the boys bikes.” The cycle ways are so save away from the roads. We made a picnic and walked to Willen lakes.
There is an obstacle course made of rope and wires strung between several trees. Many children are able to safely climb, swing and jump while strapped to a safety harness. Josh was just tall enough to go on the junior route and we were so pleased that he managed to control his fear and get round without falling.
There was always an adult on hand to help and encourage progress.
After Josh had got back on the ground we found a seat without wasps and consumed our picnic. Then we found some funfair rides for Ben to enjoy. After that it was ice creams all round.
Next day the bikes were out again to explore the park in the morning. We enjoyed their company while they were with us but they had to leave after lunch to get home.
At the end of August when everybody is supposed to have a long weekend off it proved to be a bit cool in the mornings. If it is cloudy n damp we may consider warming the radiators. Our fire and chimney has been cleaned out and should now be ready for the winter months.
We went shopping at Water Eaton after Les on Valerie told us about the huge out of town shopping centre there. Plenty of people are crawling around looking and presumably spending some money just like we did.
After lunch we set off on a walk not really knowing where the path would take us. Milton Keynes does it so well, the paths go under roads and heads into open park land. We came across the river Ousel and a seat to relax and enjoy the view while Molly went in for a swim. Following the path took us to Caldecott Lake. We had gone round the back of the huge Tesco ware house and continued with faith that we should eventually get back to the canal. Going under a road with the river and there before us were the locks. Thankfully we got back to the boat before it rained.