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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Willen Lakes walk.

We set out on a bit of a stop start morning as we only went a couple of bridges before pulling over at Bridge 96 for a paper. I had looked up on line and thought I would have to walk about 600 mt but as I popped my head up above the bridge I found a convenience store selling papers. I managed to get the last one.

We moored for the paper just before the bridge. to the right is a small canal basin called Saracens Wharf. This used to be the basin that serves a brick works with a wharf on the canal side too. Opposite was a brewery wharf.  Happily it does have some boats in it. The bridge was the original Watling Street or A5 bridge and as it was an original humped back bridge when motor traffic increased it was rebuilt in 1927.

Through the bridge was a wharf serving a gas works on the east bank but I can't find out what this old warehouse was on the west bank. At least it is still standing.

We ducked under the railway bridge and on to the water point to top up. Annoyingly my hose was a couple of feet short so I had to join two together. I have never got into either these flat pack hoses, or the ones that come on a reel. I have no problems with my 'normal' hoses, and all it takes is to ensure that they are coiled up the same way after each uses and they are fine.

As we were finishing off a Wyvern Shipping boat turned up so Helen had some help setting the lock and swinging the bridge before we went in. I have read a couple of reasons as to why the Fenny Lock was only 12" deep. The first was that it was put in to assist the construction of the canal and it stayed. the other was that having it meant the route could miss out a big cutting elsewhere so it stayed in. What ever the real reason there is an eleven mile pound to enjoy now.

The white painted cottage is the lock keepers cottage and I believe one of the lock keeper's wife's drowned in the lock. The brick building is a pump house for the canal.

It is was nice to see this lovely little Bantam Tug. It is one of 91 (I think) that were built. This one was built in three months are completed in April 1959 for British Waterways Board Liverpool area. They are 18' long and 7'10" wide with a draft of 4' which should make it interesting these days on the canals.

The route through Milton Keynes has some of the original bridges along with new road bridges put in when the new town was built. The old ones look better, but the new ones are better to drive over I'm sure.

We found a nice mooring before arriving at Campbell Park in case there was no room and after lunch went for a walk. Almost all along the the canal is the Broadwalk on the other side of the towpath hedge and the track is largely boarded by a double avenue of poplar trees. They certainly didn't stint on tree planting when the constructed the new town. I wonder if the canal authority at the time was so pleased as roots cause damage and the leaves will the canal with detritus, but they do make a great site.

We walked to Willen Lake South and watched the giant swans transporting humans about. This gave us a bit of a hunger so we stopped for an ice cream before heading off round the lake to watch the wake boarders zooming round the north end of the lake.

The Peace Pagoda was built here next to Willen Lake in 1980 and was the first in the Western world. They were the idea of a Japanese Buddhist who devoted his life to peace after meeting Ghandi in the 1930's.

The base of the Pagoda has bas relief carvings that made me think to the Albert Memorial in London. I think this panel depicts Buddha being tempted by the devils. Thousands of Japanese cherry trees were planted above the Pagoda to represent those killed in wars and must make a great sight in the spring.

The north Lake at Willen is set aside for wildlife. I was fascinated by these gulls sitting on the stakes. I wondered if they had their own personal one or if it was first come first served.

The turf labyrinth can be seen in the sward with an oak tree at the centre with the lake in the back ground. Walking round MK is great as there are loads of footpaths to keep you away from the roads and cut some corners.

When we got back to the boat Helen got set into a bit of baking and I set out to sort out the poor signal for the TV. It is Poldark tonight and as Helen missed the first 'Strictly' of the year I was not in good books. I could only get ITV and that was intermittent. I ferreted about and settled on it being the outside connection. I made up a longer co-axial cable so that I could extend the man help I use as the pole for the aerial and then just made a normal male/female connection between the aerial and the inside wiring and loo and behold all seems well. Fingers crossed anyway.

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