I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Monday 29 August 2022

Stoke Bruerne, Cosgrove to Linford - August 2022

Friday 26th August – Below Cosgrove Lock

A new day, and a nice sunny day with a warm breeze, just right for drying washing, so on went a load!

When we got to our first lock, Stoke Bruerne number 16, there were two boats already in it, but nothing seemed to be happening.  Richard went to investigate, it turns out that they thought there were boats coming up, but I’m not too sure why that should stop them going down.  At that stage another boat came round the corner, oh good, I thought someone to share with, but no, another one appeared round the corner – they were together   I took the boat into the lock and as I reached the bottom there was another problem.  People at the bottom lock couldn’t open the gates as there was too much water (for goodness sake give some water to a canal that needs it!!)  We all had to sit and wait for the water to equalise.  I moved out of the lock and moored up to wait.

Richard had help with a couple of gates by people walking along the canal, it is nice when people help out like that. 

As we passed through lock 19, I had horrible memories of when, back in 2016, Muffin fell 12 feet off the bottom lock beam into the canal.  This is what I wrote in the blog at the time.  (Emily was off the boat we were sharing the locks with)

He fell about 12 feet into turbulent water as the gates were leaking so badly and I hadn’t completely wound the paddle down.  I ran down the steps to encourage him to swim to me, but the turbulence wasn’t having any of it. Twice he went under completely and disappeared from sight for what seemed ages and I could see that he was getting tired.  I started taking my clothes off to go in the water, but Emily said she would go in.  It was at this stage that I realised that the paddle was still up a bit, so I went up, took the ratchet off and let it go down on its own – of course this was one of those paddles that didn’t want to go down on its own!  Before I knew it Emily was in the water and swimming over to Muffin.  She managed to give him a push which seemed to free him from the bubbling water.  I grabbed Muffin’s nose and then his harness and hauled him out. 

We had to take Muffin to the vet in case he had secondary drowning and he did have some crackling in one lung, so he was given anti-biotics and anti-inflammatories in case the water in his lung was nasty.

It was a day I will never forget as I watched Muffin going under the water.  The fear in his eyes was awful and I could almost hear him asking me to rescue him.  Even now as I write this there are tears in my eyes as I remember the sheer terror in Muffin’s eyes.

This photo was taken in 2016 of Muffin with his heroine, Emily. 

As we were cruising along there was a woman walking along the towpath yelling “whiskey”.  Was she an alcoholic or was Whiskey her dog!  It made me think of when my sister had a dog called Crumpet, I dreaded having to call her loudly!

We pulled over for lunch then continued on into Cosgrove.  Just under the Monumental Bridge in Cosgrove the visitor moorings start.  Richard suggested we stop there but I said to move on a bit.  Big mistake!  There wasn’t another space before the lock.  Through the lock and there was just one space on the visitor moorings there and it was big enough for us, thank goodness.  We tied up and sat out on the grass for the rest of the afternoon. 

Cosgrove lock lies at the junction with the former Stony Stratford and Buckingham Arm.  Authorised in the Grand Junction Canal Act of 1793 and originally planned as a short branch to Old Stratford and the busy highway of Watling Street (the A5), the Arm was soon extended a further 9¼-miles to Buckingham, principally at the instigation of the Marquis of Buckingham who loaned the Company the construction cost.  It was opened on May 1st 1801.  Within a few years, trade on the branch had reached 20,000 tons per annum and was to remain at this level for almost fifty years.  The first section of the Arm to Stratford was built as a wide canal, but the extension to Buckingham was built narrow.  In its early days the Arm was successful, but from the 1850s railway competition led to its decline, which was further aggravated by leakage and by Buckingham Corporation using it as a dump for the town’s sewage, which caused silting.  By 1904, Bradshaw’s Guide was describing its upper section as being “barely navigable” and by the 1930s the Arm was derelict.  All that now remains is a section of about 100 yards, which extends westwards above Cosgrove lock and is used for moorings. 

6.57 miles
6 locks


Saturday 27th August – Linford Wharf

We left Cosgrove heading in Milton Keynes to get shopping.  We are having visitors coming for lunch tomorrow so needed to get some nice things in!  Adam Porter from Briar Rose had given me mooring places and supermarkets so we will be OK for a few days now with nice places to moor.  Thank you Adam 😊

We moored up by Bridge 70A just outside some very nice flats where there are rings to moor up to.  We walked through The Triangle to Tesco.  I had hoped to use scan and shop, but they didn’t do it, however they did do a trolley self check out which I found a pain as it didn’t like my bags and kept insisting that the assistant come and clear things.  Gradually as the bags were filled it settled down.

The Triangle is a triangular shaped building built in 1845 as a railway engine workshop. In the building, trains were designed, built and maintained.  It has recently been restored and now has built within its walls a mixture of homes and commercial units.  It is very attractive.

This photo is just part of The Triangle and the bit we walked through to get to the main road.

These two photos are of statues, one either side of the canal.  The first one is holding a train engine and the other bicycles.


Back at the boat we had lunch and moved on.

6 years ago, when we last here, we moored at bidge 75, so we headed there, saw there was a lot of mooring so carried on to the winding hole at Linford Wharf and winded with the intention of going back to bridge 75.  However, it was lovely where we were, sun for the solar panels and shade to sit under.  So that was that for the day.

The old Newport Pagnell Canal used to join the Grand Union at Linford.  As early as 1793, a proposal was made by interested parties in Newport Pagnell to build a branch canal to the Grand Junction at Great Linford. Perhaps because they thought the very short extension would be of little worth, the Grand Junction company rejected the idea, and would do so again in 1802 when the idea was revived, but the people of Newport Pagnell were clearly a single-minded bunch. At a meeting in 1813 the canal plan was again debated, but the Grand Junction again rejected the petition, leaving the frustrated townsfolk no choice but to attempt the connection themselves.  At a public meeting held on August 20th 1813, it was agreed that an Act of Parliament would be applied for. A subscription list was opened with £7,825 immediately raised, not far short of the £12,500 cost they needed.  The act of parliament received royal assent in June of 1814.  A contract to build the canal was awarded in December of 1814, with a design that called for a one and quarter mile navigation with 7 locks. The two canals were joined in May 1816 and the Newport Pagnell branch officially opened to traffic in January of 1817. There was already a Wharf in operation at Great Linford, to facilitate the loading and offloading of cargo, and another was built in Newport Pagnell, but though the great profits imagined did not materialise, the business still did reasonably well for a time, with a steady flow of commodities such as coal from Derbyshire and Leicestershire, as well as all manner of other things from near and far, such as bricks, manure, grain, timber and even cheese.  The canal was closed in 1867.  I can’t find anything about a renovation scheme.

4.95 miles
0 Locks

1 comment:

  1. Marvelous read but terribly harrowing section regarding dear Muffin! I was living it! Phew!
    Take care and happy cruising. x