Cruising to Fenny Stratford

We only had one day to move the boat as I had to go to London and collect Joey on his way home from university. This meant we couldn’t really go that far which was fine as we needed to stay in the area a bit longer.

We started out from Stoke Hammond early on the Sunday morning. Joey had stayed with us on the boat so it was his chance to learn the skills of narrowboating. He started out by walking down to the lock with Alan while I was at the helm. Someone else was coming up so I had to pull up to the side while the two boats moved past me. Into the lock I went and the boys managed the gates. Once that was done Joey joined me at the back to learn a bit of helming.

Joey took to helming quite well. He seems to think sufficiently backwards to find the steering reasonably instinctual. We only travelled about 2.5 miles so not bunches of time but he controlled the boat most of that time. I only took over for mooring up at the water point and at the end.

First task after the lock was getting a bit of coal for the fire and to fill up the water. We stopped at a marina for this so was out of the way of passing boats. The water was a bit low pressure which gave Alan time to jog back to get the car and move it down to Fenny. Just after the marina is a bridge over to an allotment (community garden sort of thing) which also has parking for the park. This was ideal for keeping the car nearby.

Only problem with the idea of parking there and mooring up close to the bridge is that the side had so little water that we ran aground trying to moor up. Luckily Alan turned up at that point and helped get me pushed back out to floating safety. The guys walked down the towpath testing the depth with a stick to find an area with enough water to moor up.

Still within sight of bridge 99 we were able to moor up. It was a lovely spot next to one of my favourite little parks but the solar was almost non-existent and the data single was also very poor.

On Wednesday I had had enough of no decent data signal and waiting about on the boat for hours to charge the batteries by the engine so I scouted out another spot a mile north. The new spot would be less that a quarter mile from our old house in Fenny Stratford and still next to the park only on the far end. The solar was excellent and the data great. The car we moved to the car park at the new end of the park and we were sorted until the next week.

Not much cruising this week but I got my son home for the first time since Christmas break so it was worth it. Joey seemed to be a natural boatsman as well. Good week all around.

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