Friday, 24 July 2009

Up the Jungle on the African Queen

On Monday we headed to Marsworth, found a mooring and decided to stay until Wednesday as the weather forecast wasn’t very good for Tuesday, and we didn’t fancy doing the Aylesbury Arm with it’s 16 locks in the pouring rain.  Good job we stayed as the weather was indeed lousy and we again got drenched taking Cassie for walks (note to self: buy new waterproof as the old one is waterproof no longer!)

Wednesday dawned sunny and clear so off we set, down the Aylesbury Arm.  There was a huge amount of water in the canal and for the first few locks the water was weiring over the gates. The countryside is very remote and peaceful.SDC10040


After a couple of miles, the pounds got shallower and shallow, we were barely making 2 miles an hour most of the time – odd when all the water is coming down! 


You can see from the photo that the water level is at least a foot lower than usual – we were scraping the bottom and I thought I’d have to go back and let some water  down at one point, but we managed to manoeuvre a little to starboard and it seemed a little deeper – enough to get to the next lock anyway.

We then entered the famous reed beds – we remembered these from the last time we came this way, about  10 years ago, but blimey – it’s now like being in the jungle.  There is a channel between them only just wide enough for one boat – the reeds on either side are above head height!

SDC10043 Ahead



both sides of the boat



It was quite exciting really, we expected that any moment we would meet a tribe of pigmies!  A good job we didn’t meet any boats coming the other way – we were warned not to pull over to pass another boat, otherwise we’d be well and truly stuck!

We have now been moored in Aylesbury basin since Wednesday afternoon.  Not the prettiest of basins, but the welcome has been first class, and mooring is free for a week.  We have plugged into the electric, (the meter takes 50ps and we have only put in 1.50 ) done loads of washing, and used the tumble dryer in the clubhouse – 20p for 15 minutes.  Very reasonable I think, I have dried 4 loads of washing, including towels and bedding for £3.20.  We’ve also committed retail therapy, although I don’t think it’s therapy any more – the traffic is going at 100 miles an hour and there are too many people!!!!  The weather has again been very unpredictable, and we had a horrendous thunderstorm at lunchtime today.

SDC10051 SDC10052

Heading back up the Arm tomorrow to meet Emma and Ben and the girls for a trip out on Sunday – unfortunately work pressures mean that they can’t spare the time to come cruising at the moment – maybe later on in the school holidays.


  1. Hi Guys

    It sounds like you are having a really good time! We have had our 2 weeks holiday and did the Cheshire ring and up to Chester! Lots of locks but more time than our normal 2 week dash, so had quiet a relaxing time! Also managed 2 weeks without the dog going in the canal (that's a first!) The Aylesbury arms looks like fun, so what would you have done if you had met another boat?!!

  2. Hi Ali
    Glad to hear you enjoyed your holiday - Cassie has managed a whole week without falling in!
    To see what we did when we met two boats up the jungle, read 'Carry on back up the jungle.
    Pip & Rog


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