Strange Place to Scull

The magnificent Stowe Landscape Gardens, which are run by the National Trust, are not far from our home so we visit the regularly. Last weekend they opened their long-awaited new visitor centre that is based at the southern end of the garden near Chackmore and Buckingham. The new centre is based on the New Inn which was an historic inn formerly used by visitors to the famous Stowe Estate.

Because it was half term, and the weather was fine but cold, the new centre was very busy on Sunday . The world, his wife, his children and his dog were there and the new car park was full. We enjoyed a very good walk but it was quite different approaching the gardens from a new direction.

However, we were in for a bigger surprise when we got to the lakes. A sculler was practising on the larger of the two ornamental lakes (simply called The Lake). This is the first time in over a decade of visiting the property that we had seen any evidence of rowing on what is a very small section of water. It can only be around 350m at its longest - even shorter than the old Llandaff Regatta sprint course! It looked like the sculler came from Stowe School. I suppose the water is very handy for some light training.

Sculling at Stowe School

Map of The Lake, Stowe

Bingley Five Rise

Maggie went to college in Bingley so we are very familiar with the Five Rise locks. It appears that this year they are having a major makeover with new gates. The BBC film below describes what's happening and includes a few minor gaffs - who ever said talking to camera was easy?

It appears that around 7,000 people visited the locks when they were drained and BW opened them to the public; what a good idea.

We have yet to boat through Bingley on Albert. Maybe this is the year?

Blog Milestone

Recently Albert's blog passed the 50,000 site visits mark since I started the web counter back in November 2006. It took a couple of years for the the blog to generate enough interest to pass the 10,000 visits mark, but since then rate of visits has increased and the 25,000 mark was passed in July 2010. Over the last few years the number of bloggers that are now actively posting about the waterways has dramactically increased and I have met readers of our blog all over the country. I have also had queries from abroad about UK boating.

Our site has been part of the UK Waterways Sites ranking since 2009. It has rarely reached above the 30s in the ranking and it has mostly resides in the 40s.  The UK Waterways Sites ranking system, which by no means covers all bloggers on waterways subjects, now has 154 participants. There are currently 90 in the blogs section of the ranking and Albert is today sitting at 23.

So there you are - some blogging data trivia. The main thing is I hope you find some of what appears in our blog site of interest.

Recently I changed the format of the blog to indicate some of the most popular posts. As you will see posts about Albert's Ruston engine, Tunnel lights, Tom Rolt in Ireland, and Roses & Castles appear to be popular. However, Maggie and I are particularly pleased that the story of Ken Tremain's conversion on former working boat Lion continues to generate interest. Ken was Maggie's uncle. This last year we were very pleased to received good news of Lion.