Locks galore today. We set off at 9.30am and straight away went into a lock. Over the next three miles we did six locks and one swing bridge followed by another nine locks in a mile and a half.
Di usually gets to help with the swing bridges as they are on rails so easier to move. When it comes to a he locks she usually isn’t strong enough to do the winding but can manage with some of the gates. The first three miles are particularly famous for two things. This area is isolated, well as isolated as you can get in England, and it is slightly south of the canal and north of the Cheddington railway station where the Great Train Robbery of 1963 took place.
The other claim to fame of this stretch of the canal is the chalk lion of Whipsnade which was cut in 1933 as an advertisement for a local zoo. You can just make out the Impression in the centre of the picture.
Whilst negotiating one of the locks we came upon the Jam Butty which we couldn’t deny ourselves a few pots of. One of the jams is Sloe Gin Fizz Marmalade and we also got some Quince Jelly which will not last long with Di around.
Got into a bit of videoing today and thought for those of you who are not familiar with what a lock looks like inside might appreciate this view. It is not all romance, that’s for sure. The walls are slimy, they leak and on you sometimes and the gates can have a garden growing on them. The walls of this particular lock were very clean.
Found a much better example of the two arched bridge where there use to be single chamber locks as well as the double chambered ones. They have done a good job of erasing the single locks ever having been there.
All the old lockkeepers cottages are now in private hands and some people have done a wonderful job at restoring them and often there are very well maintained gardens around them. Not so much garden around this one but the dates on the house told you that this cottage was the lockkeepers residence for 111 years by the dates on the house.
You gotta give it to some people when it comes to inventiveness. This is an old life coat from Norway which someone has converted for canal use. Somehow the hills hoist hanging off the back of it gives it a bit of a domestic look about it.
We stopped to fill up with water and have a quick lunch before heading off to do another two miles with nine locks this time. It was a lovely stretch of canal and along the way we passed the Aylesbury arm which is a short canal of four miles and five locks but what had us salivating was the fact the locks were single. Normally we would have hightailed it down there but a return trip would take us four hours and we don’t have that luxury unless we wanted to travel into the night.
Our mooring spot tonight is at Bulbourne Junction under a shedding Cottonwood tree. Looking out the boat window it looks like it is snowing. Tomorrow will mean another cleanup job of the outside of the boat. If it is not leaves or cottonwood fluff it is birds using the roof of the boat as target practice.
The black dot denotes our mooring spot and the black arrow shows you the Wendover Arm which we went for a walk along. They are trying to bring back the entire six miles of this canal and mostly by local volunteers. We walked the mile and a half that has been renovated and it might have been a slightly nicer place to have moored for the night as it is very quiet and secluded. After our three mile walk we decided we deserved a well earned drink at the Grand Junction Arms pub.
We are all pretty much knackered now so reckon we are going to climb into bed early. Toque has beaten us both by an hour! It is so easy to just turn yourself off from the outside world as often you don’t get TV reception and are too busy to read any newspapers so you drift away into your own little bubble.