King’s Cross to Birmingham via the Grand Union canal. Stage 7: Leighton Buzzard to Milton Keynes

This is the seventh stage of the King’s Cross to Birmingham jaunt via the Grand Union Canal.

On the map below you can see the stages completed prior to this one (red line), and the stage completed on this occasion (yellow line). Birmingham itself is up in the top left corner and we’re getting closer all the time!

Map - Almost half way to Brum!
Almost half way to Brum!

I was joined on this stage by my old pal Fred, it was great to walk with someone else for a change.

The title of this post states ‘Leighton Buzzard to Milton Keynes’, i.e. moving northwards towards Birmingham.  However, due to tedious reasons and idiotic train companies we could only buy tickets to Milton Keynes.  Which meant we’d have to do the hike from north to south, i.e. from MK to LB.  I was less than happy about this, after all, the expedition is about walking towards Brum not away from it.

Anyway, we reached MK at midday and walked for a mile and half or so before reaching the canal.  I’m afraid to say that MK lives up to its stereotype (at least the part we saw), not a place I wanted to spend much time in.

The towpath south takes its time moving through MK’s suburbs, it felt endless at times and it took almost 90 minutes to get out into the countryside proper.

By this time the clouds had cleared leaving us with a joyful winter afternoon to walk in.

A view from a bridge
A view from a bridge

One of the many benefits of walking with other people is you have someone to take your photo every-now-again-again.

Sitting on the lock gate
Sitting on the lock gate

Only 55 miles to the Thames!

Only 55 miles? Feels like further!
Feels like further…

We stopped for a replenishing drink and snacks at the Globe Inn, a fine pub on the canal towpath.

A pint at the Globe Inn
A pint at the Globe Inn

We passed many lovely narrowboats, the smell of wood burning stoves never fails to make me happy


The sun began to set as we reached the outskirts of Leighton Buzzard.

Winter sunset over the canal
Winter sunset over the canal

We had just enough light left for a quick ‘selfie’.

Your intrepid adventurers
Your intrepid adventurers

I think Milton Keynes must be about the half way point in this epic expedition.  The next stage (up to Northampton) might include a wild camp, we’ll see!

And thanks to Fred for joining me on this one.

14 thoughts on “King’s Cross to Birmingham via the Grand Union canal. Stage 7: Leighton Buzzard to Milton Keynes

  1. wonderful narrative & pics as always . Am well aware of the Milton Keynes phenom having worked there at one stage . one front tyre gets worn with navigation of innumerable roundabouts.
    Lovely pics of the canal . Reminds you of the plodding canal boat horses too

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Bob, I try and imagine the horses puling the narrowboats, it must have been quite a sight.

  2. I didn’t know that they made packets of crisps that big! Some super pics. Love the canal boat reflections. I usually like the urban bits of canals so MK backstreets must be really boring.

    1. Yes, I too was surprised about the crisp packet size, and happy as well, I was somewhat hungry by that time. I agree about urban canals, the thing is that MK didn’t exist when they built the GUC so no lovely Victorian industrial architecture…

  3. This is a pleasant little journey.
    Tow paths are good walking with some lovely scenery.
    If you fancy company on any legs let me know.
    Might be around.
    Much depends on the state of my left knee.
    Op is pending, but I may have to postpone it to early June if I can’t complete recovery by TGOC in May.

    1. Hi Andrew, agreed, towpaths are great for walking, not sure when the next stage is yet but it will probably include a wild camp as the distance from MK to Northampton is 27 or so miles, too much for one day…I have spotted a nice little wood though…

      Hope your knee improves, I always welcome company on hikes : )

  4. Hi Martin,

    Let down by a train company… What’s the chances of that! 🙂

    The route looks really lovely. And, once again, great pictures. Unfortunately we don’t have many canals to walk along up here in Aberdeenshire. Which is a shame. It looks like a pretty pleasant outing.

    Thanks for sharing.


    1. Hi David, thanks for dropping by and glad you enjoyed the post. You might not have canals in Aberdeenshire but you have lots of coastline, I bet that is impressive! Have you ever camped along any of it?

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