Monday, 6 May 2013

First Cuckoo - Monday 6th May 2013

We had planned to stay in Newbury until 10.00am and watch the arrival of the first rafts from Kintbury but the weather was so hot that we thought it better to move on whilst it was cooler and also avoid all the hustle and bustle of the large number of spectators expected to watch the 300 entrants arrive at Newbury Wharf where a fun fair had been set up to keep people entertained. Passing through Newbury was easy as the water levels had dropped significantly from when we had come up river and we were soon on our way out into the country.
1 Newbury Wharf
One advantage of the early starts is the wild life that is about, we heard our first Cuckoo at Bulls Lock and saw a Heronry and Cormorants nesting just before Widmead Lock on the lovely marsh areas which line the canal/river in this area. It really is a haven for wild birds and animals. It is amazing how in the last couple of weeks the trees and reeds have suddenly burst into greenery and everything looks new and  fresh. The canal has taken on a new image and we have found it very attractive compared to how we felt about it on our journey up river.
C Route
Whilst June was opening  a swing bridge we watched these cute little white calves lying in the field with their mothers.
3 Calves
We soon reached Monkey Marsh Lock where we had to wait for a boat coming up but this gave me an opportunity to inspect this, one of only two, Turf Sided locks from off the boat, something I had not been able to do on the journey up. It has been listed as an ancient monument by English Heritage and has been restored with iron pilings to two feet above low water level together with a timber framework to identify the actual lock chamber when full.Quite an unusual sight on our canals.
D Monkey Marsh Lock
Today being a sunny Bank Holiday has brought out all the walkers and cyclists along the towpath and we have met and chatted to many nice people on route and the kindness and help that we have received form them today has restored our faith in human nature . We also met and followed for a little way the Bb Alphabet who we had met and chatted to at Kintbury on the way up. They turned around at Midgham Lock and headed back to their base at Newbury.
Mooring up at Woolhampton for lunch we again heard the Cuckoo and were passed by a group of canoeists and these Paddleboarders, one of whom had his dog on board. It reminded us of the dog we saw in New Zealand on a ski board behind a speed boat with goggles and helmet on. He did the trick regularly in aid of charity.
E Dod Paddle Boarding
The afternoon was enjoyed lazing in the sun.

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