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Lily Rose

Down the southern Grand Union (a new route for us)

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I've just discovered how lovely evening cruising can be. Who knew?

 

We got to the boat yesterday afternoon for a leisurely jaunt from Napton down to Leighton Buzzard (a new route for us) over the next 2.5 weeks and would normally leave the marina on day 2. However, the weather was gorgeous so I thought we'd get everything ready as quickly as possible. Over 3 hours later (!) we set off, planning to moor up for the night somewhere before Braunston.

 

By the time we were ready to go it was nearly 6pm. We are normally tied up by 4pm, as I don't fancy looking for a mooring when most have already been taken, but there's plenty to choose from along this stretch so off we went.

 

We left the marina and were going into Calcutt bottom lock at exactly 6pm. After the locks we had a nice sedate cruise in constant sunshine until 8pm along what I believe is one of the busiest stretches of canal on the network.

 

We did not see a single moving boat. Wonderful!

 

Plenty of boats moored up but also plenty of spaces all the way along, including near bridge 100 where we stopped.

Edited by Lily Rose
I screwed up

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57 minutes ago, Lily Rose said:

 

I've just discovered how lovely evening cruising can be. Who knew?

 

We got to the boat yesterday afternoon for a leisurely jaunt from Napton down to Leighton Buzzard (a new route for us) over the next 2.5 weeks and would normally leave the marina on day 2. However, the weather was gorgeous so I thought we'd get everything ready as quickly as possible. Over 3 hours later (!) we set off, planning to moor up for the night somewhere before Braunston.

 

By the time we were ready to go it was nearly 6pm. We are normally tied up by 4pm, as I don't fancy looking for a mooring when most have already been taken, but there's plenty to choose from along this stretch so off we went.

 

We left the marina and were going into Calcutt bottom lock at exactly 6pm. After the locks we had a nice sedate cruise in constant sunshine until 8pm along what I believe is one of the busiest stretches of canal on the network.

 

We did not see a single moving boat. Wonderful!

 

Plenty of boats moored up but also plenty of spaces all the way along, including near bridge 100 where we stopped.

 

Ah!  Bridge 100, one of our favourite mooring spots. We had many lovely evenings there, It was the last place we moored overnight before taking Helvetia to Braunston Marina Brokerage.

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7 hours ago, David Schweizer said:

 

Ah!  Bridge 100, one of our favourite mooring spots. We had many lovely evenings there, It was the last place we moored overnight before taking Helvetia to Braunston Marina Brokerage.

We've moored there a few times before. But only because we had to, we didn't really want to as it wasn't very nice. Absolutely horrible. I really wouldn't advise anyone to moor there. Ever.

 

Today was a bit of a contrast. Lots of boats on the move, including lots queuing to go up Braunston locks. All those I spoke to were on their way to Crick. All apart from one chap who was told, fortunately just before he went into the bottom lock, that "no, that is not the way to Oxford - not unless you want to go the long way". Narrow escape! (he had, not the name of the boat).

 

We moored for the night just before Norton Junction as 6 broad locks (and a wonky tunnel) was enough for one day. From tomorrow it will all be new territory for us as we went North the one and only previous time through Norton Junction.

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5 minutes ago, David Schweizer said:

What is there to not like?

 

 

 

 

Woolfhampcote 032.jpg

Woolfhampcote 039.jpg

I agree, can’t see how anyone can not like bridge 100 as a mooring location.

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It gets better as you go South, once past Milton Keynes , the only moving boats are Wyvern hire boats which seem to attract a better educated hirer than some. There are some fantastic views after Stoke Bruerne, the Cosgrove Aqueduct, looking at the Dunstable downs and the safari park from the Slapton stretch then swiftly rising up Marsworth to Bulbourne. (Make one stop above Marsworth bottom on the reservoir moorings) .then do the Wendover Arm.

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36 minutes ago, David Schweizer said:

What is there to not like?

 

 

 

 

Woolfhampcote 032.jpg

Woolfhampcote 039.jpg

Er... I was kidding!

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16 minutes ago, matty40s said:

It gets better as you go South, once past Milton Keynes , the only moving boats are Wyvern hire boats which seem to attract a better educated hirer than some. There are some fantastic views after Stoke Bruerne, the Cosgrove Aqueduct, looking at the Dunstable downs and the safari park from the Slapton stretch then swiftly rising up Marsworth to Bulbourne. (Make one stop above Marsworth bottom on the reservoir moorings) .then do the Wendover Arm.

Thanks.

 

I was planning to turn at Slapton but perhaps I'll go on a bit further depending on when we get to that point. I like short days, especially on the way back so we can spend more time at places we liked the look of.

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4 minutes ago, Lily Rose said:

Er... I was kidding!

No chance of mooring there again now.

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1 minute ago, Rob-M said:

No chance of mooring there again now.

Frayed knot.

 

I was hoping to put people off but after seeing those photos I expect it'll be rammed all the time now.

 

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22 minutes ago, matty40s said:

It gets better as you go South, once past Milton Keynes , the only moving boats are Wyvern hire boats which seem to attract a better educated hirer than some.

Matty jests of course, particularly as only a very small percentage of Wyvern hirers elect to go South of their Linslade (Leighton Buzzard) base.  There have been heaps of boats moving down here the last couple of weeks, and I've only seen one Wyvern South of Linslade. 

When we passed Wyvern approaching half the fleet was lying there idle.

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11 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:

Matty jests of course, particularly as only a very small percentage of Wyvern hirers elect to go South of their Linslade (Leighton Buzzard) base.  There have been heaps of boats moving down here the last couple of weeks, and I've only seen one Wyvern South of Linslade. 

When we passed Wyvern approaching half the fleet was lying there idle.

The Ricky and Little Venice festivals skew the normal statistics at this time of year ...real boters enter the territory...😋, I am surprised at the Wyverns, theres lots of them moving up this end.

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1 minute ago, matty40s said:

The Ricky and Little Venice festivals skew the normal statistics at this time of year ...real boters enter the territory...😋, I am surprised at the Wyverns, theres lots of them moving up this end.

One of the biggest problems we have found is that more and more of the wide-beams are moving, including some of the real brutes, (and I don't just mean those we have found straggling the canal diagonally because theur owners can't be arsed to moor them up!)

When attending Ricky we have not seen that much travelling in the same direction us.  An awful lot of those that do attend are based remarkably near to Ricky, and I would say the majority of those that are not are based South rather than North of the town.

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30 minutes ago, Lily Rose said:

Thanks.

 

I was planning to turn at Slapton but perhaps I'll go on a bit further depending on when we get to that point. I like short days, especially on the way back so we can spend more time at places we liked the look of.

You need to go beyond Slapton — the next section, between there and Marsworth is one of my favourites. Fantastic views of the Chilterns and the chalk lion.

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42 minutes ago, Lily Rose said:

Er... I was kidding!

I did wonder. We used to keep quiet about it as well, it was usually as thinly occupied at the first photo suggests.

 

33 minutes ago, Lily Rose said:

Frayed knot.

 

I was hoping to put people off but after seeing those photos I expect it'll be rammed all the time now.

 

Not a problem for us now as we sold our boat 18months ago

 

Edited by David Schweizer

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5 minutes ago, adam1uk said:

You need to go beyond Slapton — the next section, between there and Marsworth is one of my favourites. Fantastic views of the Chilterns and the chalk lion.

Quite,

Whatever one thinks of Milton Keynes, it seems a shame to labour through all its lock-less miles, only to turn around and head back the other way.  The best lies beyond.

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3 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:

Quite,

Whatever one thinks of Milton Keynes, it seems a shame to labour through all its lock-less miles, only to turn around and head back the other way.  The best lies beyond.

Theres more new wide beams being dropped in, more wide beams coming to sale and more wide beams moving and being moored on a canal not designed to take them. 

Dredging is taking place this Summer on a few GU stretches North of Stoke Bruerne, the designated dredging width for the works of the navigable channel is 10 feet. 😀

  • Greenie 1

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Went past Crick yesterday , stopped for lunch as there was plenty of mooring. Watched some WB’s being craned in for the show. Overnighted not far past Yelvertoft and today to the bottom of the Foxton flight passed 3 moving boats. Volunteers said they had 8 boats all day. 

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5 minutes ago, Tuscan said:

Went past Crick yesterday , stopped for lunch as there was plenty of mooring. Watched some WB’s being craned in for the show. Overnighted not far past Yelvertoft and today to the bottom of the Foxton flight passed 3 moving boats. Volunteers said they had 8 boats all day. 

We came past Crick earlier in the week and came down Foxton yesterday. I hope it’s as quiet tomorrow — as we need to go back up to get to the Crick show. 

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1 hour ago, matty40s said:

It gets better as you go South, once past Milton Keynes , the only moving boats are Wyvern hire boats which seem to attract a better educated hirer than some. There are some fantastic views after Stoke Bruerne, the Cosgrove Aqueduct, looking at the Dunstable downs and the safari park from the Slapton stretch then swiftly rising up Marsworth to Bulbourne. (Make one stop above Marsworth bottom on the reservoir moorings) .then do the Wendover Arm.

We hired from them, so proof your statement is false 😎

  • Greenie 1
  • Haha 1

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1 hour ago, adam1uk said:

You need to go beyond Slapton — the next section, between there and Marsworth is one of my favourites. Fantastic views of the Chilterns and the chalk lion.

Ok, it looks like I may have to do slightly longer days from tomorrow to get to Slapton with time left to do another 8 locks each way to Marsworth and back. Then I'll have to resist the temptation to do Aylesbury. Gotta draw the line somewhere, need to keep the hours down to a level where boating feels like fun rather than a chore, and also we have a date in the diary where must be back home to do a road trip down to the west country.

 

Anyway, I take the point - I need to extend this trip to Marsworth. Please don't start telling me why I should go further than that!

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8 hours ago, Lily Rose said:

Ok, it looks like I may have to do slightly longer days from tomorrow to get to Slapton with time left to do another 8 locks each way to Marsworth and back. Then I'll have to resist the temptation to do Aylesbury. Gotta draw the line somewhere, need to keep the hours down to a level where boating feels like fun rather than a chore, and also we have a date in the diary where must be back home to do a road trip down to the west country.

 

Anyway, I take the point - I need to extend this trip to Marsworth. Please don't start telling me why I should go further than that!

Well the Aylesbury are is lovely too ...

 

At Marsworth, we like the moorings just through the bridge at the top of the two locks, before the junction.  There’s a shelf so you need tyres out, but they’re not on a bend like the ones at the junction itself, and they have a nice view.  

 

Anyway, before that you have lots of nice bits to go through.  We prefer the Long Pound at Stoke Bruerne for mooring, as it’s more open that the ones in the village.  Another favourite is Stoke Hammond (although until they sort the leaking lock out — have you seen the stoppage for that?) the level drops overnight; and we like the piling just through Bridge 109.  You can’t really get away from the trains along most of the route, but you just get used to them after a while.

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13 minutes ago, adam1uk said:

Well the Aylesbury are is lovely too ...

 

other favourite is Stoke Hammond (although until they sort the leaking lock out — have you seen the stoppage for that?) the level drops overnight

I'll keep the Aylesbury arm up my sleeve as a possible incentive to repeat the trip sometime in the future, hopefully with more flexible dates.

 

Thanks for the stoppage warning, although I was aware as I got the CRT email a day or two ago. I definitely don't want to get caught the wrong side of that so I will be keeping it in mind when deciding where to turn. No decision on that yet, it will depend on how far we get over the next 3 or 4 days. I'm hoping for Marsworth but only if it feels do-able without rushing. If not, it too will have to keep for another day.

 

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11 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

One of the biggest problems we have found is that more and more of the wide-beams are moving, including some of the real brutes, (and I don't just mean those we have found straggling the canal diagonally because theur owners can't be arsed to moor them up!)

When attending Ricky we have not seen that much travelling in the same direction us.  An awful lot of those that do attend are based remarkably near to Ricky, and I would say the majority of those that are not are based South rather than North of the town.

Including your two boats breasted up to create a widebeam?

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59 minutes ago, Naughty Cal said:

Including your two boats breasted up to create a widebeam?

At least he's got the option of singling out ...

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