Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Dredging the Aylesbury Arm
Aylesbury, the county town of Buckinghamshire, is at the end of an arm of the Grand Union Canal. Six miles long, it drops down through 16 locks from Marsworth into the Vale of Aylesbury.  
As it does so there are lovely views of the Chiltern Hills which the government has just decided to carve up by buuilding HS2 - the high speed rail link between London and Birmingham. This has been justified on economic grounds which assume that all time spent on a train is unproductive and by valueing the 20 minutes saved on the journey by every businessman who might travel that way over its lifetime then it will repay its costs 200%. It is obvious that no-one in the government has ever travelled  on a train and made use of the free wifi or his laptop. In 25 years time when it is built we will probably not be taking the train to meetings anyway.
Poto from  Arla !

 This may be the last time you see this particular view as ARLA have plans to build a giant milk processing plant here with 20ft high walls.  British Waterways supported this destruction of the rural view because Arla will improve the towpath for those who want to take their Sunday walk alongside a milk factory.

 The Aylesbury Arm is being treated to a spell of dredging.  I know it must be a treat because back in November when they started up at the Marsworth end the contractors unearthed seven unexploded WWII bombs.  So they can't have dredged that bit for about 60 years. Perhaps if they had not invested £2.6m in a pub venture which failed the treat could have come sooner.
Today there was much (sporadic) activity in the basin as Land & Water, the dredging contractors, were removing the shallow-draughted dredger to send to the Mon & Brec in Wales.

 First we lift the digger ashore


 Then we put the pontoon on the lorry

Then we put the big dredger into the canal

Then we find it is too wide to get out of the basin because we have left the floats out.


  1. Think of all the boats coming down there fully loaded with milk churns, that's probably why they have just dredged it.

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