Sunday, 3 March 2019

Grove (battened down)

Our mooring at Slapton was pretty open so not really kingfisher land but we had a friendly heron fishing opposite the boat a lot of the time.

You can’t really see it until you see the reflection!
On Friday morning Karen & Buddy ran back to Marsworth to get the car and move it to a place called Grove just south of Leighton Buzzard.  Meanwhile I set off to move the boat to Grove to meet them; the weather back to normal now after the warm sun at the end of February.

Grey skies and the fuller-headed daffs beginning to get too heavy
I only had one lock to go down, Church lock, and had a quick look around to see where Karen could park the car.  There was plenty of room in the lane so I sent her a message where to go and carried on until I could somewhere to moor.

Church lock is named after the old church next to the lock.  It is now a private residence and we both think it would be a brilliant place to live with added interest of the odd gravestone in the garden.

Church lock house

Explanatory sign outside
I found it a little difficult to moor as many of the stone blocks along the bank had slipped into the water but in the end I found a spot between Church lock and Grove lock.  This was ideal as we were meeting Colin & Liz for drinks at the Grove pub by Grove lock in the evening.

Moored halfway between Church & Grove locks on Friday
We spent some time in the afternoon getting one of last jobs completed – planning where we will cruise when we get to France in three weeks.  I’m pleased to say that I think we’ve now ticked that item of the to do list.

We have decided that our first major cruise for the first two or three months will be to explore some of the waterways of Burgundy (and why not explore some of the wines too 😄).  We have planned a sort of circular route of 665km through 400 locks and a few tunnels, swing bridges and aqueducts too.

Our planned first cruise
We will travel in an anticlockwise direction, down the River Yonne to Auxerre where we join the Canal du Nivernais to Decize.  We then head for Digoin on the Canal Lateral à la Loire and then head east along the Canal du Centre to reach the River Saône where we head north for the last leg – the Canal de Bourgogne when we will be back at Migennes where we started (HOME on the map above). 

The trip could potentially be done in six weeks or so, but we expect to take three months, but, who knows, anything could happen.

On Saturday we went to see Ann to do a few jobs and she provided us with a brilliant roast for lunch.  We’re not used to eating large meals at lunchtime so felt quite lethargic during the afternoon.  Anyway, when we got back to the boat, it seemed that one or more of the stone blocks from the banking was under the boat and every so often we could feel the bottom grinding on it, so we decided to move it further down towards Grove lock.

That was easier said than done as it was so windy and every time we tried to move off we were blown into the bank again.  We made it in the end with Karen walking along the towpath using the bargepole to keep the front well out into the water.  We ended up moored opposite the marina there but at least we were in a more sheltered position which will be just as well if the stronger winds do arrive later on Sunday.

Our Saturday night mooring
In the evening we met up with Colin & Liz in the pub at Grove lock.  Once upon a time it was probably a really good country pub, but it now seems to have gone the ways of many others and is what is called a foody pub.  Saying that there did at least have a few tables and chairs for casual eaters or drinkers like us.

In all we moved two miles down one lock over the last couple of days.

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