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Narrowboat 'wilvir'

by wilvir

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Whispers on water - a photo journal of our life on the 'cut' dedicated to keeping family and friends informed of our whereabouts.

Tweet us @wilvir514

Helping to keep our waterways litter-free:

Drought, pollution and illegal fishing all threaten our waterways. Spotted something that looks wrong? See it, say it, save it. Call the Environment Agency (EA) Incident Hotline: 0800 80 70

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Under A Willow Tree

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19th Apr 2011, 10:31   comments (0)

Stoke Hammond

1. A fisherman opposite the galley window.
2. Oak Wood.
3. A Swan's rest.
4. Mixed blossom.
5. Lock nameplate.

We drifted quietly through Milton Keynes on Monday impressed by the majestically tall stands of poplar trees bordering the canal interspersed with landscaped housing developments, criss-crossed with well defined footpaths, and near litter-free towpaths. We moored for two nights just north of Stoke Hammond and then locked up to Stoke Hammond on Wednesday.

We'll be moving on tomorrow (Monday)after spending the last few days enjoying fine weather and walking amongst the peacefulness of the Oak Wood trees.
17th Apr 2011, 16:10   comments (0)

Rural Milton Keynes

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1. Linford island heronry.
2. No stopping him.
3. Time for a stick and a chat.
4. The remains of St Peters.

After leaving Grafton Regis, where lambing was in full swing, we refuelled and picked up a gas bottle at Kingfisher Marina then locked down at Cosgrove (3'4") and food shopped at Wolverton on the way.

We're now moored on the northern outskirts of Milton Keynes with great views overlooking the Great Ouse river and Linford Lakes towards Haversham. There's a Heronry amongst a stand of trees on one of the lake islands and the young are making that comical begging call only they can make.

Gunner has been making up for his lack of swimming practice over the winter months and is hardly ever out of the river when I take him for his evening 'walk'. He'll easily swim a quarter of a mile before he feels the need to get out to catch his breath or check on where I am having lost sight of me on a bend. Then I get a soaking as he greets me like a long lost friend and spins around in circles with excitement spraying water everywhere. I could stop him in his tracks just by showing him the palm of my hand but he's so full of excited enthusiasm that it's a joy to be around him. He certainly brings a smile to my face. You'd think we were nuts to see us lying side by side in the grass enjoying the view with me talking to him.
8th Apr 2011, 11:15   comments (2)

Grafton Regis

1/2/3. Church masonry.
4. Blisworth tunnels south portal.
5. Blossoms out.

On Monday we serviced the boat at Gayton Junction and then made our way through Blisworth Tunnel (at 3057 yards, the 3rd longest canal tunnel on the network) and locked down the Stoke Bruerne flight of seven (40') to moor just north of Grafton Regis.

We've now passed through all the major tunnels on the canal network.

We'll stay here for a few days to give us time to explore some of the local history and footpath destinations before resuming our journey.

At bridge 57 British Waterways removed a full 25ltr container and washing-up bowl of waste oil left on the towpath along with a rotten fender, a piece of carpet and two tyres. Do some people have no conscience? Thanks to BW's Ian Final (Waterway Supervisor for G.U.South) for responding so quickly to remove the offending items blighting an otherwise unspoilt stretch of rural canal.

The weather has been changeable over the past week, but with little if any rain to bother us. Today our washing is out drying in a balmy breeze with the occasional sunshine adding a touch of brightness to an otherwise grey sky.
2nd Apr 2011, 15:52   comments (0)

Our 'Litter-Picked' Window Poster

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You can now twitter us at @wilvir514, join us at or leave a message attached to this post.

Thanks to everyone who has shown their support by either stopping for a chat or thanking me from the tiller as they've passed by while I'm out clearing litter from the towpath up to a mile either side of where we've moored. Last evening a passing hire-boat crew, here on holiday from the States gave me an enthusiastic round of applause while I was out 'litter-picking and even took the time to hale Ginny as they passed 'wilvir' to thank her too.
30th Mar 2011, 13:11   comments (2)

The Last 12 Days

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1. A 'rolling-hill' footpath to Church Stowe away in the mist.
2/3. Looking towards the ordnance depot's disused canal and entrance portal/facade at the far end. Take a look at the three links below.

After leaving Cracks Hill we moored for a days just northeast of Welton then locked down the Buckby flight (7 locks, 63'0") and continued south to moor at Weedon.

Weedon proved to be very interesting, because it's the sight of what was once a large Royal Ordnance Depot dating back to 1803. There is a permanence about old military establishments and what they stood for, although all to sadly, as in this case, the buildings have been mostly left to become near derelict.

What an opportunity missed by the owners/Weedon local authority/British Waterways, et al, who have had decades to put their heads together, to co-develop a heritage site to be proud of, but have instead done essentially nothing. Shame on those responsible.

Thanks to,,

We have since moved on to moor just north of Bugbrooke Downs and the Midshires Way.
27th Mar 2011, 12:27   comments (0)

"What have you done today to make you feel proud"

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1. Just the job!
2/3. Before and after. What a shame, the reed beds have been cut back with little thought and the cuttings left across the towpath, spreading seed even further!
4. Sunset this evening.

I made myself a decent folding sawhorse over the weekend from discarded timber I've found, over time, either adrift in the canal or on the towpath.
13th Mar 2011, 19:28   comments (1)

Cracks Hill

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1. Cracks Hill Footbridge.
2. Cracks Hill Beacon.
3. The narrowboat is actually 'beached' in a field.

The nearby village of Crick takes its name from 'Cruc', the Celtic word for 'hill'.

Cracks Hill was created during the last ice age when melt water deposited material underneath the ice. Once the ice sheet retreated it left this pile of silt and rock behind, the hill is properly called a moraine. Worked flints from the Neolithic period have been found on the hill. It has also been rumoured that the Romans used the hill as a sentry point.

(Thanks to Wikipedia and
12th Mar 2011, 11:49   comments (0)