Yesterday we managed to dodge a few heavy showers as well as some heavy boats. The temperature had fallen noticeably by the evening, and a mist started to form over the water.
This morning the day started cool too – not really what we expected for July. We are exploring the area trying to work out where might be best to leave the boat when we return to Edinburgh next week. We now have the luxury of knowing two appointment dates – either side of next weekend. What we don’t know is what happens after that, so we are trying to map out options.
We started out by moving up to the water point that was very near a marina we had wanted to investigate. As Clare drove through the bridge we could see there was another boat there, but there was (just) room for us and a second tap. Clare glided in silently, inches from the other boat – their crew complemented her on her skill. It was a very slow filling tap, but once it was done we cast off intending to go in to the marina for diesel. A member of staff who had been guiding a day boat customer greeted us as he headed back, so I mentioned we were about to come for diesel. He told us they had none and that today’s expected delivery had been cancelled.
That saved us the wasted effort of the manoeuvre in to the marina, instead we moored up on the towpath. We could do with topping up the diesel tank, but I had also wanted to have a look at the marina and talk to them about the possibility of leaving the boat there. So after lunch we walked back to the marina for a chat. They confirmed what I had read on their website – always reassuring. So we should be able to leave the boat there if we need to. We also went to confirm the location of the bus stop for the train station. It turned out to have a distinctive landmark.
We cast off for a further explore and soon found ourselves at Fenny Stratford Lock. This is a strange lock in several ways. The obvious one is the swing bridge across the lock that has to be opened. Also we rose in the lock, but only about a foot – apparently the section we were leaving through what is now Milton Keynes could not be made watertight at the higher level when the Grand Union was being built.
On the side of the next section of canal, we saw a couple of large boats that seem to be life vessels, perhaps from an oil rig. Another boat had a repurposed gazebo to provide shelter at the stern. I spotted a toad swimming against the concrete piling at the side. It was never going to be able to get out, so Clare scooped it in to a bucket and poured it out on to the towpath for a rest.
We winded at a winding hole and moored up before we got back to the lock. We’re now heading north again, but not intending to go very far.