After a couple of very pleasant nights spent tied up at Stoke Bruerne, where we visited the Museum, did the audio tour and spent an evening in the Navigation Inn, so we could use their free Wi-Fi, on Monday morning we set off bright and early, well for us anyway, at 10 am and made our way down through the Stoke Bruerne Locks.
Looking down from the tramway at Stoke Bruerne
Four hours later, having been charmed by the close proximity of the small Northamptonshire villages of Grafton Regis, Yardley Gobion and Castlethorpe, whose names just on their own conjure up such enchantment, we moored up in close company at the pretty little village of Cosgrove right by the ornate (though for no known obvious reason) Soloman’s Bridge.
The mooring at Soloman’s Bridge, Cosgrove
The weather was beautiful and it was here that we enjoyed another good walk during which we explored the old Buckingham Canal, which begins at Cosgrove Junction. The first hundred yards only is in water and is used for moorings but it was gratifying to know that the course of the rest for some considerable way is very obvious and evident. This is due only I think to the efforts of the local canal restoration group, who have plainly been very busy in clearing the way and keeping the course well strimmed.
The Buckingham Arm
A Cosgrove cottage
Taking on fresh water at Cosgrove
On Tuesday morning we passed down through the single lock and having crossed the River Great Ouse, seventy feet below us, via the iron trunk aqueduct built in 1811 and having been enchanted in rural surroundings since leaving Banbury a fortnight ago, we soon entered the urban area that announced itself plainly as the coming of Milton Keynes.
The aqueduct over the River Great Ouse
Nevertheless our mooring at Wolverton on Tuesday evening was very quiet and peaceful. The tall surrounding flats though overbearing on first impression, insulated us beautifully from the noise of trains passing through the railway station nearby. We slept well and soundly at the end of the day. The blue cloudless sky and still conditions at sunset promised such gorgeous weather to follow on the morrow.
This was fulfilled as we set out for the bus stop yesterday morning. We’d decided to visit the Landscape Gardens at Stowe near Buckingham, about eight miles away. It was quite a journey for us and we got there by means of two buses and a short taxi ride from Buckingham.
Wood Anemones at Stowe Gardens
Janis near the Gothic Temple
Looking out from the mouth of The Grotto
The weather was perfect and we seemed to walk for miles around the grounds amazingly though beautifully designed by Lancelot Capability Brown. We had a couple of tea breaks however which certainly fortified me.
At the end of the afternoon, we ordered a taxi in time to get us back to Buckingham to catch our bus connections and we were delivered back to the ships at sunset, well satisfied with our days outing.
A peaceful evening, near sunset back at the ships