Thursday, 14 August 2014

Hawks and Alpacas - 14th August

We dropped down lock 39 to find that the pound below was about 12-15 inches low and several boats were kilted over. As we gingerly went by, one of the mooring chains on a boat broke with an ear splitting twang. We were told by a boat coming up that somebody had left a paddle open on the lock below and caused this havoc. A  C&RT man caught up with us at the next lock trying to find out what had caused the problem, apparently it usually happens when somebody has left a paddle up on the Aylesbury Staircase locks but today it was not the case. He said he would let some more water down from the reservoir.

Lock 38 had the metal band on the cill falling off and woe be tide anybody who got to close to it  on the way down as it was a real trap for your prop or rudder. These swans had managed to rear 8 signets which is quite a feat with all the predators there are about.

1 lock and swans

We were soon passing Pitstone Wharf where Grebe Canal Cruiser operate and where the Restaurant boats which passed us last night had come from. A little further on we spotted a couple of  Alpacas in the field.

2 Pits wharf

This hawk posed for me sitting on an old dead tree watching the world go by or looking for his next meal.

3 Hawk

Could not quite make out what Hill Farm near Slapton Wharf were on about with their advertising of a Glamping Site. Their website and Banner says:  “Two luxury en-suite Wigwams are situated in the beautiful mature orchard at Hill Farm. The orchard is home to wonderful old apple, pear and damson trees. The tranquillity of the orchard, with its canal side setting and breathtaking views of the Chiltern Hills make this an ideal setting to enjoy a unique glamping experience. A step back to more tranquil times. Leafy lanes, apples slowly ripening on ancient laden trees, a majestic heron standing guard on the canal bank. Gaily painted narrow boats meander by. Breakfast alfresco, a lazy morning reading, then perhaps a gentle stroll along the towpath to the local pub for a nice lunch”.

They do not look much like the Wigwams of my youth.

4 Galmping

If you need a diversion take the Public Footpath from near Whaddon Farm after bridge 118 where the canal bends sharply right. When you reach the road (B488), take a right and left and you’ll reach Bridego Bridge – the scene of the Great Train Robbery.

Grove Church, at Lock 29, which used to be the smallest church in Bucks, is now a private house, notable for reputedly having a human skeleton under a glass panel in the sitting room.

Grove Lock Pub at lock 28 had a lovely display of hanging baskets.

5 Church Lock and  Grove Lock

I though Nb. Smiffbob might be interested in this boat as it it owned by the Smiffs. This lovely wooden boat was moored just below the Grove Lock Pub and looked in really good condition.

6 Boats

We had just moored up when the heavens opened up and we had Lightening, Thunder, Rain and Hail all in the space of a few minutes and then the sun came out. The afternoon was fine but we could keep hearing thunder in the distance.

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