Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Milton Keynes to Stoke Hammond; Stoke Hammond to Slapton

I mentioned that we had the use of our boat for a few days. Yesterday (although it feels longer ago than that) we set off on the Grand Union from Campbell Park in Milton Keynes. We wanted to go south, so we reversed round a few bends and under a few bridges until we got to the winding hole, winded, and then continued in the more conventional forward gear. I thought I might have picked up something round the prop, so I stopped and checked, but it was as clean as a clean whistle. I don't know what it is about Jubilee's prop, but we hardly ever seem to get anything caught on it. And Jubilee handles very well in astern, with virtually no prop walk.

You get some unusual boats on the GU ...

... this looks like a Broads cruiser

It was slow going past dozens of moored boats, and it was raining. We stopped for lunch on board at Fenny Stratford, and then walked, in the rain, to Bletchley Tesco for provisions. It was further than we had realised - by the time we got back to the boat we were both pretty wet.

Nevertheless we set off again, and stopped for the night at Stoke Hammond, just above the lock. After another meal on board we walked to the Dolphin pub and admired the landlord's collection of football shirts hanging from the ceiling. Oh, and I had a tasty pint of Adnam's Broadside. I was a bit worried that it might have been sitting in the pipe too long as we were the only customers, but the landlord obviously knows how to keep ale in good condition.

sunset at Stoke Hammond

At dawn a cockerel crowed and woke us up. It did it again at 7.30, after which we didn't go back to sleep. The Grand Union south of Milton Keynes passes through some very pleasant countryside, as others have observed. We stopped in the rain at Linslade and called in to Tesco (again) and had lunch on the two hour mooring. Then we moved up to just before the bridge, where there was a free 14 day visitor mooring. After emptying the loo cassette we walked round the town of Leighton Buzzard and bought 30m of hose (from Wilkinson) and a hose reel (from Aldi) to replace the tatty hose on Jubilee.

entering Grove Lock

More cruising in the rain brought us to Slapton where we stopped for the night. On the way to the pub in the village we helped John Wonfor on his converted catamaran Listen down the lock. He is doing a big cruise raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support. We talked to him for a short time and then he decided to tie up and join us (later) in the pub. Which he did. Now it's bedtime again - tomorrow I think we'll just go as far as Marsworth Junction and have a gentle day.

Another donation for MacMillan Cancer Support

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