Sunday, 31 August 2014


We left Braunston and turned left on to the Grand Union/South Oxford canal. As we went past the marina entrance we admired the old iron bridge.

Braunston Marina entrance
Napton Junction signpost
And on we go towards Oxford
We are not going to Warwick this year, maybe next?
Down the Oxford, passing Napton Marina
We stopped for the night near to Napton. I had to catch buses - first to Daventry, then on to Northampton and then a train to Wolverton. From Wolverton I had to walk the two-and-a-half miles to Cosgrove to collect the car. It feels as if we are on the homeward stretch now...


The Tuesday after the (very wet) Bank Holiday Monday was drier! We moved on through Blisworth Tunnel (3057 yards/2795m).
Blisworth Tunnel South Portal
It seemed to take forever as we had to slow down many times as boats came towards us needing to pass.
Blisworth Tunnel North Portal
We went on towards Gayton and looked very briefly down the Northampton Arm on our way to Bugbrooke, where we stopped for lunch and for a shower.
Then it was on through Weedon Bec and up the Bucky Flight of locks.

Whilton Marina entrance at the foot of the Buckby flight of locks
Again we briefly looked down the Grand Union Leicester Arm of the canal before stopping for the night.
Left to Braunston, right to Leicester

As the signpost says...
Our peaceful mooring for the night, away from the railway and the M1
On Wednesday morning we woke to sunshine and blue skies. Our first action was to pass through the Braunston tunnel (2042 yards/1867m), so not as long as the Blisworth Tunnel and we met fewer on-coming boats.
Braunston Tunnel

The Admiral Nelson on the Braunston Flight
Nearly at the bottom!
And into a hectic Braunston!
Down 6 locks and we were in Braunston in time for lunch and a little bit of food shopping.
We had a look around Braunston Village, the marina and the canal junctions.

The right arm is the start of the old Oxford Canal before it was re-positioned

Double iron bridges - Coventry to the left, Braunston to the right

Judy on the double bridges

A wet day in Stoke Bruerne

My Mum and my Sister Heather stayed on Constance for a week in Cosgrove. They were able to drive about the area and visit places they would not normally see and used the boat as a base for day trips.
Bridge 65 - Cosgrove
We came back on August Bank Holiday Sunday and joined Mum & Heather for lunch in the Barley Mow Cosgrove. This meant that we all crossed the canal via the Horse Bridge, or should it be the Horse Tunnel?
Later we moved on up to Stoke Bruerne and were lucky to find a mooring for the night not far from the museum and before the tunnel.
The bit about Elderly Ducks amused us as we passed Yardley Wharf
Stoke Bruerne bottom Lock
Our mooring at Stoke Bruerne
In the evening we walked up to the tunnel entrance then back to Stoke Bruerne Top Lock.

Blisworth Tunnel South Portal
One of the concrete sections used to repair the tunnel

Stoke Bruerne Top Lock
At Stoke Bruerne Top Lock the have kept an example of the double lock system. We passed many double bridges and filled-in narrow locks so it was nice to see a little of how it would have looked.
On Bank Holiday Monday it rained! Did it ever? During a pause in the rain we went to the museum and spent a couple of hours in the dry. In the evening we had a take-away curry from the Indian Restaurant by the lock - it was excellent!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

And on to Cosgrove

We moved gently on to Wolverton and then on to Cosgrove.
The new aqueduct
 Just as you enter Wolverton, before you get to the station there is this wonderful mural. Sorry if I have overdone the pictures a bit, but the detail is fantastic. No two coaches are the same. It must have taken ages to paint.

 After you have gone through Wolverton you head north over the valley of the River Great Ouse. At first this is made of a big embankment, not that you can see much because of the trees. Then you come to the Iron Aqueduct which takes you high over the River Great Ouse.
The iron trough over the Great Ouse
 Approaching the iron aqueduct over the River Great Ouse.
The River Great Ouse

And again

Not much of a 'wall' on the right hand side!
The Buckingham Arm
 At Cosgrove is the junction of the now defunct Buckingham Arm of the canal. The first couple of hundred yards are used as mooring space then there is a dam under what was the first bridge.
The Buckingham Arm after the dam
 After that you can follow the course of the old canal. It would be nice if it could be brought back into use someday.

Artwork at Cosgrove Lock
 Under the trees beside Cosgrove Lock is this sculpture.
I guess he's punting, not what I first thought...
 Cosgrove village was split in half by the coming of the canal. The Horse Tunnel allows you to pass under the canal and get to the Barley Mow pub. We did and had an excellent meal!
The Horse Tunnel - Cosgrove


As you go round the top of Milton Keynes you are passing through all of the old villages that were there before Milton Keynes was built-up as it is now. Near to Giffard Park and Great Linford was the start of the short lived canal to Newport Pagnell. All that can be seen now is the old entrance and the plaque.

The entrance to the long defunct canal to Newport Pagnell
The alms-houses in Linford Park
We went for a walk around Linford Park. Behind these alms-houses is the Milton Keynes arts centre and this is all next to the church. I must say this for Milton Keynes - it has a lot of open park space.

Previous life?

As I mentioned in my last post, Constance was in the Milton Keynes area for many years. She was owned by Carole & Robin and lived at the Lion Hearts Cruising Club marina.
Lion Hearts Cruising Club marina
They sold her to another member of the same club.

Onward to Milton Keynes

I must admit, I had expected a little more of Marsworth than just the Aylesbury Arm. We came across evidence of the 'double locks' that were installed to help speed up traffic on the GU, back in its heyday. A narrow set of locks were built alongside the wide locks. This allowed narrow-boats to pass and used less water.
The narrow lock entrance can be seen to the left of the main lock
And below the double lock is the bridge for the narrow lock to the right

At Grove Lock

The top of the 'Soulbury Three'

We are down through Soulbury
 We came down the 'Soulbury Three' locks but it was very windy. When we emerged from the bottom lock a number of the boats waiting to come up had got caught by the wind and were all over the canal. A bit of tricky navigation was needed to get clear without hitting anyone.
We stopped at Fenny Stratford and met up with Carole on 'Marmite' (Carole & Robin were previous owners of Constance).

Milton Keynes - Campbell Park.
The amusing clock in Milton Keynes shopping Mall
So that's where the concrete cows have gone!
The concrete cows used to live in a field on the western outskirts on Milton Keynes, now they are in pride of place inside the main shopping mall. As you have probably guessed, we did spend a day in the shopping mall. They have 'man seats' all down the aisles of the mall which is great for unenthusiastic shoppers like me. Give me a newspaper and a cup of tea an a 'man seat' and I am happy whilst Judy goes off shopping.
We stayed not far from Woolstone and enjoyed an excellent meal at the Barge Inn. It was well worth the walk to find it!