Friday, 10 May 2013

May Cruise - Day 3

Last night, after dinner on board, we braved the elements and walked the hundred yards or so to The Globe, where we had a drink and dessert.  Last time we passed, it was closed for refurbishment; now it's very smart -- probably more of a restaurant than a pub -- but still comfortable and welcoming.  It was also pretty busy, given it was a wet Thursday.

This morning we were off by 8.30, and shared Leighton Lock with a family who were reluctantly returning their Wyvern hire boat after a ten day trip to Market Harborough and back.  At Wyvern, there were about thirty hire boats in, which struck us as rather a lot.

At Grove Lock, we shared the lock with Muchgigglin, which had moored below the lock.  It's a boat we used to see a lot when we had our share in Debdale and were based at Stockton Top.  We got on very well with Tone and Julie, who, it turns out, live not far from us, and also had a share boat at one stage.

We got into a rhythm of sharing locks with them, and chatting as we did so.  It made for a very pleasant and speedy passage through Slapton, Horton, Ivinghoe and Seabrook locks.  The weather, though, didn't show much improvement on yesterday.  In fact, the wind was at times very strong, and made boating a challenge.

At the swing bridge at Pitstone, a single hander had somehow opened the bridge, and left it.  Julie managed to get across onto it from the boat, and closed it.  We helped the single hander up the final two locks, so we could continue sharing.  Coming down were three little boats all sharing one lock.

At our final lock of the day, the sun finally made an appearance.

We stopped at the water point at Marsworth Junction, ans began having lunch while the tank filled.  When it was full, we winded in the junction and began retracing our steps.  We travelled just a couple of hundred yards, and moored on rings just before Bridge 129.

In the afternoon, we walked back to the junction and up the Marsworth flight, along the start of the Wendover Arm, and back through the reservoirs.  Last time we were here, the reservoirs were verging on empty; today things look much more healthy.  There was also quite a lot of wildlife, with a duck I'm struggling to identify, and a clutch of more everyday ducklings.

As we walked, the wind was ridiculously strong at times.  But with the sun out it's been quite warm, and we've even got the side hatch open.

10 miles, 12 locks.  (29 miles, 18 locks)


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Adam,

The duck looks like a male pochard.

Hope this has solved the mystery.

Best wishes,


Adam said...

Hi Irene

I'd considered a pochard, but the one we saw had a red beak, which a pochard doesn't have. However, at the bottom of the page you linked to is a similar species link, to the red crested pochard -- which does have a red beak. So I think it's one of those -- and you have solved the mystery (although possibly indirectly!)

Sheila Napier said...

Hi Adam

I think it's a Red Crested Pochard. The male is noted for its bright red beak.

All the best


Mark Hall said...

It's always nice sharing locks with others, by the time you've finished a flight you find you're sad to have to say goodbye.
It's a great way to get chatting to other boaters.
All the best,

nb Chuffed said...

Just dropping in to say hello and to suggest red-crested pochard which I see is no longer necessary!
We are also ex-ownerships and remember seeing Debdale at various places