Saturday, 5 April 2014

Aylesbury and Wendover arms

After having our bottom blacked we decided to explore the Wendover and Aylesbury arms of the Grand Union canal.  The Wendover arm is only partly restored but they hope to have it open all the way to the old Wendover basin in the future.  The Aylesbury arm is open to the basin which is being redeveloped with new moorings, shops, cafes and bars.

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We had a trip down the Wendover arm with its flour mill still in operation albeit modernised.  Didn’t see any other boats - so peaceful.

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We then turned round to head back down the Marsworth flight of locks to find the junction of the Aylesbury arm.  On the way we passed a yard where lock gates are made.

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And also the collection of Tring reservoirs.  The one on the left here is Marsworth reservoir.

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Before we started down the Aylesbury arm we left the boat at the White Lyon at Marsworth for a week during which time even more rain fell and we got this email alert:

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We felt a bit of deja vu but fortunately weren’t stuck as long as we were the previous winter near Reading. Here are three flooded locks we came across when out walking.

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Wilstone (half way down the Aylesbury arm) is a nice village and we found plenty of walks around there and the surrounding reservoirs (and also the Half Moon pub).  The collection of Tring reservoirs were built in order to supply the Grand Union canal and water is still pumped out of them into the canal today.

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Here is some of the wildlife we came across:

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And some of the 16 locks on the six mile arm.  The first two were a staircase lock.

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We left the boat in Aylesbury basin for a couple of weeks where we caught up with my sister Judith and her family who live in Aylesbury.  Karen’s mum Ann, who lives in Wendover, also visited us a few times.  A new Waitrose and a budget inn have already been built round the basin and further development is continuing so it should be quite pleasant when finished. It is a stone’s throw as they say into Aylesbury centre.

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The guy who runs the dry dock at Bulbourne (Jem Bates) where we had our blacking done also has a yard on the Aylesbury arm.  Here he builds and restores traditional wooden narrow boats.  His is one of the very few yards left in the country that have the skills to restore or build wooden narrow boats.

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