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

Friday, 2 September 2022

Broad Oak Bridge (109) to Campbell Park - August/September 2022

Wednesday 31st August – Moorings at Broad Oak Bridge 109

We decided this morning that it was time to turn round and give up on the Grand Union.  It is overgrown and the moored boats have really depressed and irritated us. We do not speed, we usually average about 2½ to 3 miles per hour.  Our average speed has been 1¼ to 1½ miles per hour.

We carried on through Leighton Lock which we shared with a single hander and moored up outside Tesco in Leighton Buzzard.  Tesco at Reading is good as you can moor up outside, but it is a struggle to get the trolley to the boat but here it is easy, especially when you are moored directly outside the gate! 

We moved up to the winding hole, filled up with water, emptied the elsan and winded.

We set off north and Richard pulled in just before Leighton Lock.  My phone rang and a lady said that she had found a dog with my number on his collar!!!  We hadn't even noticed Muffin was missing!  Richard had to go back to get him, it was about 3/4 mile!  The lady said that he was walking up and down where we had been moored and whining.  A little later as we were eating lunch, we realised that there was an unpleasant smell!  It was Muffin.  We then realised what must have happened.  The elsan point was behind a wall and Muffin must have been in there rooting around in there when we left.  A shower was the order of the day!

We passed The Globe pub.  The hanging baskets are amazing. 

Our space from last night was still empty so we pulled over and moored up.  It is a nice spot, the best we have found so far.

I have often wondered about the name Leighton Buzzard so found this in Wikipedia. 

It is unclear when the town was initially founded, although some historians believe that there may have been settlement in the area from as early as 571. There are a number of theories concerning the derivation of the town's name; ‘Leighton’ came from Old English Lēah-tūn, meaning 'farm in a clearing in the woods', and ‘Buzzard’ was added by the Dean of Lincoln, in whose diocese the town lay in the 12th century, from Beau-desert. Another version is that having two communities called ‘Leighton’ and seeking some means of differentiating them the Dean added the name of his local Prebendary or representative to that of the town. At that time, it was Theobald de Busar and so over the years the town became known as Leighton Buzzard. The other Leighton became Leighton Bromswold. In the Domesday Book, Leighton Buzzard and Linslade were both called Leestone. 

The market, at the centre of Leighton Buzzard, is both an historic and modern feature of our town.  Named in the Domesday Book of 1086, Leighton Buzzard had the biggest market in Bedfordshire and was owned by the King.

Just before Leighton Lock is this dilapidated pontoon.  The sign says, “this is an occupied private mooring”.  I’m not sure I would like to tie my boat up to it! 

5.05 miles
2 locks (same one twice!)


Thursday 1st September – Campbell Park, Milton Keynes

A bit of a cloudy day with a good breeze/wind!

At Soulbury Three locks we found 4 lockies, though one said he was only a trainee!  As you can imagine we sped down them!  

Richard had forgotten about Stoke Hammond lock and was surprised as it hove into view!  I haven’t checked with the winter stoppages, but I rather hope this one is on the list for new gates.

Fenny Stratford lock was with us, and we were soon through leaving the gates open for a pair of narrowboats tied together. 

A narrow lock was added to the double locks of the Grand Union in around 1835.  This was done to speed up single boats and save water.  However, they were not in use for long, I can find two dates for their demise, 1855 and 1865. 

Our hoped for destination was the new moorings in Campbell Park, but I doubted we would get one.  However, all the 48 hours moorings were free 😊

We passed the “entrance” of the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway.  This proposed new waterway will run from the Grand Union Canal at Campbell Park, cross the M1 between junctions 13 and 14, run near Brogborough Hill, through Marston Vale and connect with the river Great Ouse at Kempston, a suburb of Bedford.  The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust was established in 1995. 

9.48 miles
5 locks

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