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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Winter cruising into Leighton Buzzard

Leighton Buzzard was the chosen destination or at least just beyond to  Old Linslade where we would be far enough away from the hustle and bustle of a busy town. With no particular time table we split the 13 lock, 1 swing bridge and 10 mile journey into 3 cruise days with several days spent between each section.
This we find is the best way to deal with winter, short days of cruising but not daily. Look at the pictures, Blue skies and sunshine with fairly mild temperatures.
Just one view from a very remote mooring. Very quiet and no light pollution, recipe for a good sleep.

This is Church lock. It is in the hamlet of Grove just south of Leighton Buzzard. The church formerly known as St. Michael and all Angels dates back to the 14century. It was sold by the church in the 1970`s and is now a private residence although part of the graveyard remains under church control. Inside in the living room a medieval skeleton is set into the floor beneath a glass floor.

The last time we came across this wide beam boat was back in February 2012. (see left pic)
It had come adrift and there was no one on board. I spent half an hour getting it moored so we could get by. Robert the owner had been reading through some blogs and was surprised to see his boat featured on ours. He  e mailed his thanks for our help and so it was nice to meet face to face.
Notice the snow on the ground,  any bets on a repeat snowy February. My money stays in my pocket.

Robert is taking his wide beam through Grove lock. It was originally a lock keepers cottage but was converted into a pub/restaurant in 2001.
Not sure of the original building but I guess the first three windows was the cottage with additions to the side and rear being added for the pub development. Above the three windows is some fancy brickwork absent from the rest and I base my guess on this. I did try to find with no success some old pictures.

Just beyond this bridge is our destination and turning point on this trip. We have not decided yet but a trip back to Marsworth to turn down the Aylesbury arm might be our next move. Not knowing when my next little bit of surgery will be is keeping our cruising distance short.
Anyway this was our mooring for 4 days and as you see by the picture on the right it rained a lot. The river Ouzel flooded canal side fields and it seems some excess water found it`s way into the canal. This scene is very unusual because the canals by way of overflows  release excess water back into rivers at many points along their route and keep canals at a pretty even level.
The bridge was known as `sand `ole bridge` because of the sand pits in nearby Heath and Reach. The wharf in the upper picture was where boats would load sand for destinations all over the country. Now it makes a good car park for the many visitors to the area. The whole area of Leighton Buzzard was and still is known for good quality sand.


Adam said...

Please do go down the Aylesbury arm -- we've got a week off in April and my plan is to do the arm, and it would be good to have some info! I gather the basin at the end is being redeveloped, but that the new Canal Society marina has some decent moorings outside.

I'm hoping you might be in the Marsworth/Cowroast area at the time, so we can come and see how you're doing.

Ken & Sue nb Cleddau said...

Les, Church lock was our weekend escape for many years when we were moored at Bletchley and were still working!
I remember Grove lock as a small BWB maintenance yard with the current pub buildings derelict and boarded up.
Love to Jaq,
Ken nb Cleddau (firmly aground)

Marilyn McDonald said...

Good to see you are cruising again. Hope it means that your state of health has significantly improved, Les. Jaq, thanks for the info about equipping the galley - David and I are starting cruising on our new-to-us boat late in May and deciding what we need in the galley has now been made a lot easier! Warm regards, Marilyn (from NZ)

Carol said...

Hi both, just to let you know that today’s post starting with ... Sand ... is showing a message - it says - Sorry,the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist!
Best wishes to you both. xx

Les Biggs said...

It was an error, something for the future.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Les for the historical tour of my recent travels, I found the GU surprisingly pleasant to cruise. Keep well, see you anon xxA

Les Biggs said...

Hi Adam
Yes the A. arm is our next cruise. Not sure of our whereabouts later in the year as my surgery will dictate our location.

Les Biggs said...

Hi Ken/Sue
It must look so different now. Have you any photographs?
See you all Saturday.

Les Biggs said...

Hi Marilyn
Yes my health has improved in leaps and bounds but I am still wary of it not being 100%.
Jaq says your welcome and E mail if you have any questions about anything at all.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs