Saturday, 11 May 2013

Post prandial promenades through popular parades of poplars and play parks... easy for you to say

Post prandial promenades through popular parades of poplars and play parks... easy for you to say!

We only stopped over night in Cosgrove. We are aiming to meet Jess somewhere about a days cruise outside Paddington basin the weekend after next so need to carry on cruising at about four hours per day. 

Nice day for taking the kids out

As soon as you are across the great Ouse aqueduct the urban sprawl of Milton Keynes starts. The aqueduct is a cast iron trough that carries the Grand Union Canal over the River Great Ouse. The present structure was built in 1811, to replace a previous brick structure that had failed. When the present structure was erected, it was known as the "Iron Trunk". The structure has two cast iron trough spans, with a single central masonry pier.

Ohhh no edge

Another world first

Arty farty shot

That's not going to get under the bridges

We moored in the middle of a stylish development of apartments opposite redeveloped wharf buildings looking like they might be office space once they've been finished. The wind was brisk but where it was swirling off so many walls it was difficult to moor up  A short walk away is a good size tesco's so we popped in for a few bits. I was glad to leave the wind vortex between the flats. 

From here the canal skirts easterly then southerly around Milton Keynes, we decided not to stop as we will be in London soon and all towned out. I wasn't really looking forward to the eight or nine mile cruise. I expected a mix of out of town industrial hyper shops, housing estates with shopping trolleys lurking under bridge holes, a dual carriage way round every corner with only the odd run down allotment to alleviate the boredom. Optimistic kind of person aren't I :-) 

The journey couldn't have been further from my expectations. As soon as the first half a mile or so of industry petered out I saw a line of tall swaying poplar trees catching the increasing breeze. I remembered their shadows when I looked at the area on Google earth a while ago. They go on for miles. The adjoining countryside is a mixture of wide and open and well placed, well maintained and well used parkland. A definite area to stop off at another time and maybe cycle into the town centre for a quick look. We stopped later than intended as the weather had improved to a warm afternoon of broken cloud. 

Saturdays weather forecast was again for the best of the weather early. We didn't plan on an early start but as Deb was, VERY unusually, awake early (about 05.30) and the dawn chorus had been my usual alarm call, (although nothing like the din from the previous days honkin' bonkin' geese who left massive puddles of what looked like white emulsion all over our roof) we were away before 06.30 again. 

Swing Bridge in the middle of the lock at 07.00 this morning

Waiting for the big day... front of an audience, is nothing sacred?
A picturesque stretch of canal brought us up the Soulbury three (locks) with the help of a very good volunteer lockie, past nesting swans and gaggles of D of E award hikers (at least they had OK weather the last ones we met near Flecknoe had spent two nights in the snow, they appreciated me raiding the naughty drawer and giving them my stash of chocolate though) and has brought us to the visitor moorings outside the Globe Inn, Linslade which from memory had something to do with the great train robbery I think. Maybe I will have to go in later, for research purposes of course :-)

D of E hikers back in March, 57 km done and two nights in snowy fields

Deb giving lessons to holiday makers at the top of 'the three'

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