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Up to Leighton Buzzard

We spent a peaceful night in the Wendover arm of the Grand Union canal and awoke to another day of blue skies. On emerging from inside Phoenix III it was clear that there had been a lot of rain overnight. We set off just before a quarter to nine and enjoyed watching the small fish swimming in the clear water of the canal. As we got closer to the junction with the main line of the canal the water returned to its normal state and the fish were lost to us, ah well it was good while it lasted.

A notice on the ground paddle of the Marsworth top lock informed us that the lock keepers were running water and that we should await their return. In the end, we waited for more than half an hour before we were given the all clear to proceed. By that time we had been joined by nb Moonraker whose crew came from the Brecon Beacons. The passage down the Marsworth flight was made easier because we were accompanied by two volunteer CRT lock keepers. A few boats coming up too meant that we reached the bottom lock in just an hour.

We said farewell to the lockies and continued with Moonraker until they pulled over near Pitstone. We did the next three locks on our own and then we reached the two at Ivinghoe. At the first lock we saw that one of the bottom gates had been left open. After checking that there was nothing coming up, I closed the gate and filled the lock. Once opened, Sue approached the lock and I was joined by a man who apologised for leaving the bottom lock gate open but that he had done so because another boat had been in the bottom lock but had then taken a long time to get out of it. He also said that he was waiting in the lock below for us. Once in the lock and with all gates closed, the upcoming boater appeared and with great sarcasm thanked us for closing the gate. I pointed out that I had looked down to the bridge and seen nothing to which he retorted that I should have walked down to the bend in the canal below. At this point Sue took over the ‘discussion’ and between them they had a fruitful exchange, the detail of which is probably best unpublished and left on the canal bank.

We eventually joined the crew of ‘Poachers Moon’, a narrow beam dutch barge at the next lock. We recounted the events and they told us how the other boater had lost his rope and been delayed and they had helped him. They were great, experienced and pleasant and chatty so we enjoyed our descent with them. Most of the time, they left each lock first but after Church lock we were in front, it’s a strange experience to be followed by something that looks like a ship.

After grove lock we said goodbye, they were travelling to The Globe on the northern side of Leighton Buzzard but we wanted to spend a little time exploring the town. We found a good mooring just before the bridge that links Linslade and Leighton Buzzard and so we tied up and went for a walk. A trip around the shops of LB was followed by a meal and a drink in the local Wetherspoons, for the sake of balance, we stopped off at ‘The golden Bell’, both recommended by one of the local residents – You know who you are!