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Cosgrove, back to Stoke Bruerne and back down to Linslade (33 miles, 21 locks)

Busy busy just recently, travelling and painting and more dramas.....

Leaving Cosgrove for Stoke Bruerne for the weekend

After much mind changing, we eventually decided to return to Stoke Bruerne for the weekend as the footfall should be greater there than anywhere enroute to Linslade.  The Leighton/Linslade Annual Canal Festival is on this Saturday (25th July) is our next port of call in our trading diary. 

View down below the bottom lock at the Stoke Bruerne flight of 7 locks

We travelled the short journey back to Stoke Bruerne and moored below the second lock in order to try to get a mooring up near the museum on Thursday morning.

Richard works the paddles and gates, whilst I largely stay on the tiller of the motor.

Our permitted 4 days' trading was quite a disappointment (apart from Saturday, which was bustling!)   Footfall at Stoke Bruerne is noticably down on previous years, and seems to be due to a number of factors, but mainly;  
  • signs which depict a £25 overstay charge in large letters after 2 days (visitors from boats are seeing the £25 an not the wording around this ~ especially if English is not their first language)
  • car park charges now at £3
  • no daytrippers as there are no boats mooring up to look at! 

So we left after a painfully quiet Sunday (other traders said they were quiet as well) and headed for Linslade

On a line again after not doing it for a while!  The Grand Union is great for this as it is relatively wide and deep

Over the aqueduct at Cosgrove ~ cattle paddling in the river Tove below

We moored up overnight at Cosgrove, nearly in the same place as we had been 2 weeks before and then set off at 7am for Milton Keynes.

Passing through Wolverton and all it's modern flats

The previous day had been really windy towards the end of the day, but this morning, it was crisp and dry, ideal boating conditions.

The famous Wolverton steam train mural

Milton Keynes took us around 3.5 hours to pass through and actually it was quite lovely, despite the horrible concrete bridges and nauseatingly manicured grass!

Pulling up to moor above the lock at Stoke Hammond

A brief stop at Stoke Hammond, the next day for posting of birthday card for youngest and milk and bread, after Richard nearly took his shin out with the mallet whilst hammering in mooring stakes!  Wow did it come up, but then just as quickly (probably the brufens) it went down without a bruise!

Arriving at Soulbury Locks (flight of 3)

The last stretch to Linslade and our stop for the night, saw us rise up the 3 locks at Soulbury and complete another couple of miles on cross straps.

Yesterday we walked into Leighton Buzzard and collected our new television (the old one Reilly the greyhound, broke) and I bought some new paintbrushes at last, things were getting desperate.

We arrived this morning at Tiddenfoot waterpark, to find that our booking had been cancelled!!!  Luckily, the gentleman in charge of pitching boats did some rejiggling and fitted us in, but I have sent an email to the organisers asking how and why!!  We will report on our investigations in the next post.......

Norton Junction, Braunston and then back down the Grand Union to Cosgrove (32 miles, 26 locks)

Signals have been poor of late, so my apologies for my absence recently!  Just because I neglected to post, doesn't mean we haven't been busy!

A busy weekend at the Cosgrove Festival ~ crowds around my gift shop!

A couple of weeks ago, we set off from Norton Junction, through the tunnel and down the locks to Braunston, where we traded for the weekend.  What a quiet place that can be!  But nevermind, we bought a new fridge as the one on our new motor boat was thirsty and had no freezer. Richard nearly cried with the extra expense, but it was necessary and we also needed paint from the chandlers.  Job done, turn the page...

Moored up at Gayton Junction

We left Braunston, considerably lighter of pocket than we had arrived, hoping to trade at Stoke Bruerne at the weekend.  Zooming down the Buckby flight of locks, we nipped to get more paperwork for Jjinad from Whilton Marina, after breakfast in the cafe (of course) and continue on to Gayton Junction.

Views over Northampton countryside from the Northampton Arm, which leads down from Gayton Junction, 17 locks to the River Nene.

A peaceful scene first thing in the morning

Filling up with water, a gentleman approached looking vaguely familiar.  It was one of the committee who organises the Cosgrove Festival.  He was most concerned to find that we understood, along with several other traders, that the show would be in a week's time, rather than THAT weekend!!

Leaving the junction first thing the next morning

A little further on is Blisworth, then through the tunnel to Stoke Bruerne, where we were originally going to trade....

Ummmm...  you buy a house next to the canal, then complain (as you are the local Councillor!!  Conflict of interest?) that boats run their engines (the rules are between 8am and 8pm), and so the Canal and River Trust are compelled to put up these lovely unwelcoming signs outside along this stretch of towpath in Blisworth.  I'm sorry, but if my batteries need a charge and it is before 8pm, my engine WILL be going on.  Mr Councillor, you need to move house!   Sorry aggressive rant over!!

Approaching Blisworth Tunnel

Getting ready for a wet passage through the tunnel, we donned our jackets and braced ourselves for the lock flight beyond.

These signets are doing well!

A fairly damp morning going down Stoke Bruerne flight

Great sign at Yardley Gobion marina

Mooring up for the night beyond Yardley Gobion, I began swapping the shop over to the other side of the boat for the towpath at the show.  There seems to be a huge neverending list of things to do in the new boat, but nothing Richard can't handle, luckily.

Cosgrove ornamental bridge ~ built to appease the local landowner when the canal was built in the 1790s.

We arrived in Cosgrove on Thursday and got moored roughly where we would be for the show and then fine tuned the mooring once Geoff (organiser) had marked out the pitches.  All good so far, thank goodness for our timing at the waterpoint as we all would have missed it!

The route of the original lock flight built before the aqueduct was, when the river had to be crossed on the level.

Reilly has decided that he likes to swim!  Lister will not go in the water, no matter how hot he is, but Reilly, goes for a proper paddle, then a little swim.  We have never owned a dog who liked water before!

Thank you for everyone who came to see us at Cosgrove this weekend.  We will be going back to Stoke Bruerne for the weekend, before going back through Cosgrove and onto Linslade for another show.....