Thursday, 24 February 2011

Short Break at Half Term - Second Day

(Posted by Cath)

Fenny Stratford to Stoke Bruerne

We knew that today would be a lot of long miles, then the climb up the flight to Stoke Bruerne.  It was a glorious day, cold, but with high, broken cloud letting the sun through.

Grafton Street Aqueduct, Milton Keynes

We took it in turns steering.  I spent two hours cleaning the inside of the boat of the dust and grime that had settled over the recent winter when it had been necessary to neglect Chalice due to family matters.  Then Alan took over and washed down the mud and footprints from the outside.  David was on kitchen duties, providing sandwiches and fruit bread to keep us going.  

Charlie enjoys the sunshine

We saw very few boats moving - perhaps three before we got to the Stoke locks.  There are a few hire boats out, not many, but not really surprising given that it is February - a couple of Alvechurch boats and some 'Canal Club' out of Gayton Marina.

Through Cosgrove lock, then the winding miles of countryside towards Stoke Bruerne.   I walked Charlie along the towpath for a while, then I steered while Alan took a shower.  At the bottom of the Stoke flight we stopped to fill our nearly empty water tank and also to buy some solid fuel off the coal boats - we like to support the canal traders, whenever we can.  Whilst doing all this, a couple of boats came past and up the flight.  Although the boats ahead of us were single handers, they came back and shut gates after going through, and even pulled paddles for us if we weren't yet up at the lock, they were efficient and speedy.
Coming up the Stoke flight

 Crossing the lock

We arrived at Stoke well before dusk, moored up, and I had a shower, and even got a little marking done before we headed off to the Boat Inn for a pint and an excellent meal.

Fenny Stratford to Stoke Bruerne
Miles: 18.3, Locks:8

Total Miles: 32.9, Total Locks:23

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