Monday, 1 June 2015

Milton Keynes to Northampton

Saturday 23rd May 2015

 Aria & Teezy caught up with us while I was still at the workshop & set off again before I got back to the boat so we left immediately I returned. We had one lock then a very long stretch of lock free cruising.  Who'd have thought it would be so attractive through Milton Keynes, there are so many parks & lakes it could even be called tranquil in places.

We met up with Aria & Teezy,  all mooring together for the night between Wolverton & Cosgrove where many runners passed us.  We discovered they were on a charity run from Birmingham to London, over 150 miles, and running through the night with torches strapped to their heads.  Now that is dedication for you.

Milton Keynes  -  Who'd have thought it?

A rather attractive mural in Milton Keynes
Stoke Bruerne was our next stop, a popular tourist attraction with a set of 7 locks, a pub, shops and a museum.  It is always a very busy spot for boaters and we met up again with Paul & Margaret on Pussers Rum.  It happened to be Martin's birthday so we all had a meal in The Boat (pub) to celebrate.

Jan, Teresa, Margaret, Paul, Karen, Martin & Tony G at The Boat Stoke Bruerne
Before we left on this journey we had a new Axium prop fitted to improve performance & stopping power.  During our travels Tony had become increasingly worried because the nut kept working loose, so he had contacted a boat yard who agreed to have a look a it.  We arrived at The Grand Union Boat Co. yard Monday evening and Stan & Beryl on nb Rosedale let us raft up next to them.  Next morning the yard decided Aylmer needed to come out of the water.

Putting the straps on ready for the lift
16 Ton up and away!
There she goes
Our berth for the night
Having got her out of the water the engineer deemed the nut damaged.  Apparently it was brass and the thread inside had stripped so a new one was needed and as they didn't have one of the right size it had to be ordered.  It would be delivered by post.  Nothing for it but we had to spend the night on her on dry land, the second time in her short life, see 


The problem NUT!

Luckily the postman was kind to us and the new nut arrived the next morning.  It took the yard no time at all to fix it & have us back in the water and on our way.
We were now on the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal & had 17 locks to do in 5 miles!  At the second lock we gave a ride to our own 'Rosie & Jim' in exchange for some help through the next couple of locks by the adults accompanying them.

'Rosie & Jim' with Mum Jane

This short stretch of canal links the Grand Union to the River Nene (pronounced Nen in these parts) and the beautiful, tranquil scenery makes the passage through these obstinate, heavy and difficult locks, all worthwhile.

Eventually the old Express Lifts testing tower comes into view heralding the town of Northampton our next destination.

The redundant Express Lifts testing tower

Arriving at Becket's Park in Northampton we were welcomed in by Stan & Beryl on nb Rosedale who we'd last seen at the boat yard.  The boys discovered a blues night at the local pub, the Malt Shovel, where I'm told they had great beers.  We spent a couple of days in Northampton whilst the heavens opened, interspersed with a few sunny periods when we nipped into town for the shops, market and a bit of sightseeing.

Tony Outside the Guildhall

Friday 29th May

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