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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Wendover Arm..... just a tad silted and what is this duck eating?

Managed to get TV last night by sticking the satellite dish on the front and then discovered not much worth watching! After Ian had spent the best part of an hour getting a signal he wasn't best pleased. Even more displeasing was the list we took on after a couple of boats had come up the locks and stopped. Meant the pound was now very low. Not wanting to sleep with the thought of rolling out of bed, we pushed FS out until she came upright, a good 5 ft away from the bank. At least we had no worries of being boarded! This morning the levels had recovered to some degree but it still too some effort to get FS moving.

Worse then this last night. The rope was slack this morning as levels recovered.

Think he's asking for his canoes to be damaged!

We had a plan today. Set off really early and do the Wendover Arm. Creeping past the boats so as not to wake the residents, the first lock was in our favour. Did this bode well, we asked ourselves. But no, some of the locks were to be left empty and so it wasn't long before we came to a full lock. No locking partner this time as most bods were still in bed so took a bit longer to come up. We spied Tentatrice and Cleddau but no sign of life even though we gave a toot. Was 8.30am and no doubt probably enjoying a lie in.

No sign of Jennie, Chris, Ken, sue or Monty. Poor dog must have been crossing his legs!

Then a boat pulls out in front of us on the summit pound. The stretch to the Wendover Arm is about 2.5 miles and we did tickover all the way. Not because the boat ahead was slow but because the pound was a good 6-8" down. If we had had our thinking caps on we may well have given the arm a miss but too late did we realised that, with the low water levels, just how shallow and silted this waterway had become. I got a bit concerned when we did a wiggly bit and I cut the corner a bit fine. Ended up at an angle but with the silt being that soft, the extra revs got ourselves out of trouble. Took nearly 50 minutes to get to the end, distance from Bulbourne Junction to terminus about 1.5 miles. Slightly less time on the way back but I reckon it's because we had already dug ourselves a channel!

Very impressive Heygates flour mill

The feeder in Nicholsons shows it to be a 60ft winding hole

Feeder on the left. No way would you want to try turning here.

New bridge built to replace the one taken down in 1973

Winding hole and terminus

Well we would have done if we had enough water.

And back at the junction

The turn to top lock on the Marsworth flight was interesting.

There are lovely 48hour moorings at the winding hole. Well maintained and a good depth of water. Being a newish section it was not silted up.....yet! We didn't stay, just winded and headed back. Not sure if we will do this waterway again. Dredging is desperately needed but I doubt if this is on any of C&RT's 'to do' lists.

So now what to do. We had planned on a night there and then to Marsworth tomorrow but with nowhere to moor at the lock we headed on down the flight. Met a lady boater who helped us and also gave us some advice. Having done the Wendover we wanted to do the Aylesbury. Many years ago we came down that arm before the new marina was built and fancied seeing what it was like. The lady's advice was not to bother.Three weeks ago she had gone down the first 3 locks without problem. After that the pounds were low and, not wanting to waste water, reversed back to the junction. Think we may phone C&RT on Monday to see how the land lies.

Got a mooring without trouble at the reservoir and with this being one of my favourite moorings on the GU will stay a day or two..

Now have you ever seen a duck eat a slug??? Neither had I until today.

On route today.

Damaged wing poor thing.

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