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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, 1 July 2017

Men (and lady) at work

Eat or be eaten, life is tough in the wild. But it's upsetting especially when this is witnessed first hand. Two days ago when we first arrived at Marsden, a duck appeared with 7 ducklings.  Nothing unusual about that except one was very different in it's colouring.Seemed to be the runt as it struggled to get to mum on the bank.

All the rest already under her wings.
 Then she was suddenly aware that a predator had arrived and she took of like a shot.

 This Heron took 4 of her ducklings and relentlessly pursued the family from one side to the other. She gallantly tried to save the rest by flying straight at it and when she disappeared from view I had little hope that the others would survive. But this morning there she was again on the opposite bank with three of her remaining ducklings by her side. My only fear now is that the Heron, knowing there are still ducklings to be had, will come back for them. We will never know the outcome as we left them to their fate, untied and headed up the last 5 locks of the Marsden flight.

Last three (only two in the photo) including the runt.

She does have a hard time of it. Even the Geese are a pest.
Gary, the volunteer lock keeper, was on duty today and helped us to the top.

We had decided to take to turn right along the Wendover Arm Canal and see what progress had been made with the restoration. This canal is lovely and rural although the towpath edge is somewhat overgrown. Overhanging bushes were also a problem.

Originally this canal linked the Grand Union Canal at Bulbourne near Star Top End in Hertfordshire to the town of Wendover in Buckinghamshire. The first 1.3 miles is navigable with a winding hole at the terminus. Here we moored and walked to the site.

Seven years ago we also walked the canal route and although parts seem worse now than then, work is progressing on other parts.

Bridge 4, 2010
And now

looking from bridge 4, 2010

And now. Not a lot of difference.

The end of the workings in 2010.
And today. Looking from bridge 4a toward Wendover

 bridge 4a looking toward Bulbourne

Bottom right: sprinkling clay powder to seal the liner. (does the job once it is wet)

Putting Bentotex liner in place

bottom right: culvert from the old pumping station.
I expect it still to be ongoing in the years ahead but at least things are progressing. I will be interested to see how much more is in water by the time we come this way again.

And seen today,

This Tern followed FS along the 1.3 miles.


Anonymous said...

Wow I didn't know that Herons ate ducklings, fish and mink do though I think.
Your wildlife pics are always a joy to see, thank you.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

The Heron is an opportunist and I once took a photo of it devouring a rat. Thank you for your lovely comment, I really appreciate it. Xx

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