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Friday, 2 September 2016

loitering in Leighton and Linslade.

We got away at a normal time. Our lock buddies of yesterday had left much earlier so we were on our own. We didn't go far as we stopped above Slapton Lock and filled with water.

On the way to the water point I got a better photo of the Whipsnade Lion. It was dug out in 1933 as an advertisement for the wildlife park. It was covered up during WWII so as not to assist the enemy in obtaining positions. It has been lit in the past but seems somewhat run down these days and could do with 'painting'.

At Slapton Lock there was an old Planning Permission' notice for a marina just below the lock. It seems that it was turned down in the summer of 2015. Planning was granted for a marina further south nearer Ivinghoe. However it seems that this permission has lapsed. It is odd that it is so difficult to get alongside the bank along this stretch and yet they are thinking of putting in Marinas.

Between Slapton and Grove Locks there are many areas of very shallow canal. I therefore kept over from the centre of the channel when 'Towcester' and 'Bideford' for Jules Fuels came round the corner. We had quite a steep list as I was aground but we kept going so it must only be mud.

Grove Lock had beautiful hanging baskets as usual but there was nobody in the beer garden. (Mind You it was before 1100). I bet it was busy yesterday though. Just below the lock were the fuel boats Ascot and Beverley and they were not look in very good condition and I'm not sure whether they are still working. They did run between Cosgrove and Leighton Buzzard.

I had never noticed before but this old wharf south of Leighton still has the rails on the top, like at Cosgrove Lock. There are two others similar to this that don't have rails. They were called the railway wharves and they were called the railway wharves as they were served by narrow gauge railways that brought sand and gravel from the nearby pits that now form the Tiddenfoot Waterside Park.

As you approach Leighton Buzzard it's self the rubbish point is just before this tow path bridge and the water is under the weeping willow and just by the road bridge. The arm led to a small basin that complimented the wharf on the canal bank that was for Grant and Lawson. It later became known as Brantom's Wharf and Basin. It seems that it was built at the same time that the canal was dug. The basin was infilled for a car park in 1974. Luckily they retained the bridge after a fight by the Leighton Buzzard Preservation Society. Opposite the bridge hole, on the west bank were a set of lime kilns.

We stopped on the shopping morrings as Helen wanted a visit to ALDI's for some baking stuff. We then went to TESCO to get some beer and other stuff. Whilst we were there several families arrived to feed the ducks and swans. It is no wonder that they are all sitting on the bank as I think they would have little freeboard in the water. On the opposite bank was another old wharf with a small basin at right angles to the canal. This was Reddall and Youngs wharf in 1819. It later became known as Whichello's Wharf after Stephen Henry Whichello and Sons Coal Merchants. It was also known as Watkins Wharf by 1905 when it was advertised as working coal, timber, salt and general builders merchandise. There were also lime kilns to the north and the tall building right next to the road bridge was also part of the sale lots.

The number of boats on the move has been very quiet for a week or so now. As we passed Wyvern Shipping it seemed that they must have the whole fleet in for handover or no sale. There were obviously a few boaters being showed the ropes as we passed and after we moored up three had passed by tea time. I suppose there will be more taken out on Saturday.

The Globe at Old Linslade is Grade II listed and is thought to date from the late 18th Century. This would likely mean that it was built at the same time as the Canal was constructed. It was originally a beerhouse. These were premises that could only sell beer and not spirits and often served ale brewed on the premises. It only became a full pub between 1935 and 1939. Beerhouse were not very regulated and often got reputations as 'dens of iniquity' and meeting places of criminals etc. Many of them, and 'proper' pubs, lost their licences in 1917 as the war effort demanded longer hours and the use of grain etc for bread etc, not to mention trying to keep the populace sober and awake for war work.

We didn't go much further and found a spot that would get what ever sun came our way this evening and the morning to hit the solar panels and settled in for the rest of the day.

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