Boat Hire

Great Linford or Fenny Stratford and return from Gayton Marina - 3-4 Nights

Cruising Time Per Day 6.5/8hrs • Total Locks 16


Gayton to Great Linford or Fenny Stratford –
Through Blisworth Tunnel, Stoke Bruerne, Milton Keynes and back – 3/4nts – total locks 18 (9 x 2)


A journey of world-renowned engineering and mathematics, this route leads from idyllic thatched villages to a booming city. An opportunity to explore the heritage of the canals and ironically the story of our modern world.

Setting off from the marina, turn left at the junction onto the Grand Union Canal Main Line to head southwards under a succession of road and railway bridges. Your route skirts the village of Blisworth before disappearing into Blisworth Tunnel (3,076yds/2,813m long), the third longest navigable canal tunnel in Britain. The tunnel’s portal is Grade II-listed, and the tunnel has also been awarded a Transport Trust Red Wheel plaque. Work on the tunnel started in 1793 but the first attempt ended in disaster just 3 years later claiming 14 lives. It was rebuilt and opened in 1805. By the southern entrance is a huge concrete ring similar to those used to strengthen the tunnel in the 1980s. During the rebuilding, the tunnel was used to test materials later used on the mighty Channel Tunnel.

You emerge from the tunnel into the thatched village of Stoke Bruerne which spreads over both sides of the canal. The bustling village dates back over 1,000 years and the canal arrived in its midst during the 1790s, giving much to explore including the Canal Museum housed in a former corn mill. Every September, the Village at War festival fills the canalside with 1940s music, fly-bys and World War II uniforms.

After descending Stoke Bruerne’s flight of seven locks, the canal gently winds its way across a rural landscape with plenty of opportunity for some wildlife spotting as Cosgrove Lock provides the only work for the crew in almost 16 miles. At Cosgrove, the short Buckingham Arm heads off to the west while the main canal continues through the lock and over the River Ouse on a spectacular iron trough aqueduct, Great Ouse Aqueduct. Completed in 1811, it was the world’s first wide canal cast iron trough aqueduct, is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and has also been awarded a Transport Trust Red Wheel plaque.

The canal follows the Ouse valley under stone bridges and over another aqueduct as it approaches the pretty village of Great Linford (turn round at Linford Wharf unless carrying on to Fenny Stratford). To the north of the canal, Linford Lake Nature Reserve is a wetland wildlife site which attracts waterfowl, wading birds, heron and occasionally Great White Egret.

Your route now skirts round the northern fringes of the ‘new’ town of Milton Keynes (started in the 1970s, its population has now more than doubled), which includes many of the surrounding villages including Bletchley and Fenny Stratford. Listen out for the Fenny Poppers, six small ceremonial cannon dating from the 1700s which are fired three times on St. Martin's Day (11 November) to commemorate the day in 1724 when the first stone was laid for the new parish church. They are also still used on special occasions, including June 2012 when a salute was fired to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

A short distance west of Fenny Stratford Lock is Bletchley Park, now world-famous for its work in cracking codes and ciphers including the infamous Enigma Code used by the German Army during World War II. It is also renowned as the birthplace of modern information technology and the site houses the National Museum of Computing.

Once you have discovered what makes our modern world tick, it’s time to turn round below the lock and go back in slow time again as you set off on your return journey to Gayton.

The following are examples of the boats that you can hire from ABC Boat Hire at Gayton Marina:


Alvechurch Weaver - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Grebe - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Grebe - For a maximum of 4 people, 2+2 Berth, Length 49ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Bunting - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 47ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Heron - For a maximum of 5 people, 2+3 Berth, Length 58ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Thrush - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Thrush - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Gull - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Gull - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+2 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (6 berth) - For a maximum of 6 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Eagle (7 berth) - For a maximum of 7 people, 4+3 Berth, Length 66ft, Cruiser Stern

Alvechurch Goose - For a maximum of 8 people, 6+2 Berth, Length 69ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Goose - For a maximum of 8 people, 6+2 Berth, Length 69ft, Semi-traditional Stern

Alvechurch Warbler - For a maximum of 8 people, 6 + 2 Berth, Length 69ft, Semi-Traditional Stern

Alvechurch Owl - For a maximum of 10 people, 6+4 Berth, Length 70ft, Crusier Stern

Alvechurch Swan - For a maximum of 12 people, 8+4 Berth, Length 70ft, Crusier Stern



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