Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Downhill all the way.

Today has felt like a long day, and in terms of starting and finishing times I suppose it has been. We pulled pins at 09:15, but by 09:35 were tied up again next to the car park at Cook’s Wharf, above Bridge 133.
Tescoman was due to arrive between 10:00 and noon, but at 11:50 we got as call to advise us he’d be late. It was 12:20 when he arrived, and then everything had to be put away, so it was gone one when I fired up the engine again and we set off. I put the waiting time to good use, managing to get the rear half of the left hand cabin side cut and polished. It was hot though, even though the paintwork was in the shade, I wasn’t. The sweat was running off me.

Waiting for Tesco
This section of the canal is very pleasant, very little intrudes on the peace and quiet once the railway is left behind. The locks are spaced out as the canal descends the slope from the Chilterns and the Dunstable Downs.

Dunstable and District Boat Club HQ
Cottage at one of the 3 Seabrook Locks – I can’t remember which one…
I mentioned Ivinghoe Beacon yesterday, as the starting point of the Icknield Way long distance footpath.

Here it is, the lump on the left (northern) end of the Ivinghoe Hills.
Ivinghoe Bottom Lock has another of those double arched tail bridges, to accommodate the addition of another chamber alongside.
The cill warning signs are fitted just where the bow rubbing bands on the boats are likely to rub along the gate…..whoops.
Another double arch at Horton Lock.

At Horton Lock was the closest point we got to the White Lion, carved into the chalk hillside below Whipsnade Wildlife Park. Built in 1933, it's over 400 feet long.

You don’t see much from over 4 miles away….

The last lock we came through today was Slapton, and we certainly saved the best till last. Beautifully situated and immaculately maintained, it looked a picture in the sunlight.

Slapton Lock

We pulled in about 1½ miles below Slapton Lock, not far from the next one down, Church Lock.
A late finish for us, 5 o'clock! It’s a fine evening. Birds are singing, and canoeists are splashing past. They raise more wake than the narrowboats!

Locks 8, miles 4½

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