10. Inlanding to London – 1989

Grand Union

Day 10. Black Horse Bridge to Soulbury Three Locks

10 miles – 3 locks – 5 hours

There are many things to be said for solo-boating; master of your own ship and all that… but it’s also a mildly risky venture – psychologically speaking – with the potential for seriously disruptive navel gazing and uninterrupted voyages to the dustier corners of the mind.

The relatively passive nature of the Milton Keynes stretch of the Grand Union (its expanses of meadows and lightly wooded open countryside, broken only by numerous accommodation bridges) has actively encouraged what might be described as a rather morbid self referential-ism. I’m increasingly anxious about my fast[?]approaching brave new life in London. Have I really made the right decision?

I need to be shaken from unsettling reverie, I need distraction – perhaps by friends joining me – or by a damned great flight of locks. I need a physical challenge to help me re-engage with the big wide world beyond the cut.

Today feels as if the still heat of the last couple of days is ending, it’s cooler, cloudier, and the canal’s glassiness is broken into tutting wavelets by sudden breezes. The breeze is animating the boat too, causing ‘Lily’ to suddenly surge towards the bank as the wind catches her broadside.

Whilst there’s no long flight today, I do enjoy the distraction of the huge climb of 1’1” at Fenny Stratford Lock (above),with  it’s swing bridge and shop, an excuse to gongozzle, engage and gossip a while.

And, a little later, the relatively Himalayan climb of 6’11” at Stoke Hammond (above),

before mooring below Soulbury Three Locks (above & below), tempted by a theatre company playing at ‘The Three Locks’ tonight.

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