Our trip on Sunday finally took us away from the Milton Keynes area having skirted around the town for the last eleven or twelve miles of waterway. It was just after seven when we got underway as we wanted to use the services at Cosgrove before the canal became busy with weekenders and holidaymakers. The air was quite cool and fresh when we started our journey across the Great Ouse aqueduct but after working up through the lock, we landed on the services at quarter to eight. There was already a hose attached to the water tap when we arrived so Sue followed its trail along the towpath until she found a boat on the long term moorings. The occupant seemed a bit miffed that we wanted water but agreed that we could switch hoses and fill our tank on condition that we didn’t pinch his tap connector. The water pressure was low and a few minutes later we were talking to another boater who was taking on water below the lock; he told us that everyone locally tried to get water early before the nearby village and caravan site residents woke up and the pressure dropped even further. Our tank took the best part of an hour to fill and even then we didn’t fill it completely. With the grumpy boater’s hose reconnected and the tap switched on, we were soon on our way again, through Cosgrove and out into the countryside or wilderness as I prefer to think of it. The visitor moorings above and below Cosgrove lock were remarkably empty which was surprising for the first weekend in September.
The five mile pound between Cosgrove and Stoke Bruerne winds its way into the county of Northamptonshire through a patchwork of green fields. There’s nothing much to see along the way, a couple of wharves and marinas break up the otherwise empty landscape.
When we arrived at the bottom of Stoke Bruerne, we saw that we had the pick of the moorings so we tied on the first available part, had lunch and then walked up to the village, just over a mile away. The sun hadn’t managed to pierce the white cloud and the wind was getting stronger, not enough to make the walk unpleasant but enough to remind us that autumn is almost with us. There were a few boats working up and down the flight and a reasonable number of people milling around the top lock and museum. We stopped for a drink at the Boat Inn but the odd spot of rain in the air, the temperature dropping and the wind strengthening even further, we decided to walk back down the hill to our mooring.
We seem to have slipped into September and the beginning of Autumn without really noticing. The signs are all there, the days are getting shorter and the night time temperatures have been dipping ever lower but it has still been sunny during the day so it has been easy to feel that we have been hanging on to the summer season.
The sun was shining when we awoke on Saturday morning at Great Linford and after our normal morning drinks, we got up and prepared to move on. It was twenty past nine when we untied and set off and after a few minutes, a quick glance behind revealed a boat which had been moored on the opposite bank was moving over to the spot where we had been moored. They had attempted to moor behind us a day earlier but there hadn’t quite been enough room, clearly they weren’t going to miss the opportunity this time around.
It was one of those deceptive sort of days where, when the sun shone it was absolutely lovely and warm but as soon as a cloud obscured it, the air felt very cool. It took us just over an hour to reach Wolverton where we stopped for a shopping trip to the local supermarkets. We wanted to stock up with enough food to see us through the coming days as we were about to venture into the wilderness!
On returning to the boat, Sue stashed the provisions while I started the engine and set sail. We didn’t travel far, another twenty minutes brought us to Galleon Wharf where we found a good mooring. After lunch on board we walked over to the other side of the canal and visited “G Dad’s Collectables” which is an antiques emporium. We had seen this place on previous occasions when we had passed by but had never had the time to visit it. As we expected, it is a delightful place full of all sorts of treasures and all of them reasonably priced. The difficult part of our visit was keeping our hands in our pockets and resisting the temptation to buy but resist we did so no purchases were made on this occasion.
We also resisted the adjacent pub, The Galleon and returned to Caxton where we spent the rest of the afternoon in the sunshine on the front deck. Cyclists and walkers passed by on the towpath and boats passed us on the canal, a perfect afternoon only spoiled by a number of screaming kids playing in the pub garden.