Marsworth to Slapton
Our mooring at Marsworth had been a good one, quiet after the previous two nights when we had been within earshot of the West Coast mainline. Nevertheless, we had no reason to stay so we decided to move on and get part way to Leighton Buzzard, the next biggish place on our route. The first lock of the day was just around the corner from where had been tied and a few minutes later we were faced with a decision, turn left down the Aylesbury arm or bear right and stay on the mainline. In reality, we had already made that decision, Aylesbury had looked alright when we had visited but hadn’t appealed to us so much that we felt inclined to tackle the sixteen narrow locks down to the town. When we last passed this way, the wharf was, I think, a British Waterways service yard with boaters facilities. The facilities are still there but the site is now occupied by waterside homes, no doubt commanding a high price given their location. We stopped and topped the water tank before moving on to the next lock where we caught up with a single hander on nb Sunflower. We worked through the next five locks and the swing bridge at Pitstone with him before we tied up near Ivinghoe/Pitstone/Cheddington.
This seemed like a natural place to stop, being half way between Marsworth and Leighton Buzzard but after lunch and a short discussion, we decided to move on and do a bit more. We only travelled for just over an hour before mooring above Slapton lock but by working down another three locks, we had left ourselves with less than two hours cruising to Leighton Buzzard. In 2012 we were moored below this lock on our journey south and had, after a long day cruising, gone to explore the nearby village. We failed on that occasion so there was nothing for it but to try again. The walk only took ten minutes so I have no idea why we didn’t find the village last time around – maybe we took a wrong turning or maybe it’s the Buckinghamshire equivalent of Brigadoon and today was our lucky day! We visited the village church and then popped into the local pub, the Carpenter’s Arms, before walking the half mile back to our mooring.
In August 1963, the Great Train Robbery took place about a mile away from where we were moored at Slapton Wharf. If you take a look at Google Maps, you will see that it is marked (click here), then look at the poor reviews it gets. One person complains that it is “just a bridge”, what were they expecting, a re-enactment?