I had hoped to make contact with and arrange to meet up with Richard (aka NikonD70 from the SongofthePaddle forum) to paddle with him during the half-term holidays, but as things turned out we only managed to find time for a lunchtime paddle from Hunston to the canal basin in Chichester and back. Very pleasant it was with the two boys enjoying themselves very much and teas and ice creams at the basin to refuel for the return journey.
Charlie looked a little uncertain here, I can't remember why but I know he soon settled in to the paddle. You can make out the spire of Chichester Cathedral on the horizon. A landmark that all who grew up in the area will be very familiar.
Yellow flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus)
Charlie and Will settled down to enjoy the paddle.
A tree! Not sure what variety - looks as though it could be a Poplar, whatever the variety though - we liked the look of it.
Charlie shows how a cross-bow draw should be done.
Moor Hen chicks are just so cute - this lot were pretty brave too.
Just a little further Mum, I'm nearly there! Will is completely fearless - he'll happily hang over the side with his arms in the water up to his elbows. Maybe we overdid the familiarising the boys to the boat in the garden. Still, we can now work on getting them to respect the water without having to overcome the fear of it first.
Passing Padwick swing bridge you can't help but see the daisy's growing on the wall.
See what I mean! A lovely cheerful display.
Around the corner and into the basin with the promise of teas and ice cream. Charlie was into full on questioning mode by now "why is this here?" of the basin. Trying to explain how the canal was used to transport things before we had trains and lorries I remembered that the boys great great grandfather worked at the gas works that used to be nearby and described how coal was brought to Chichester by ships and barges to be processed to produce gas that was used to cook with and light houses. This brought a quiet thoughtful look which usually indicates information being digested and stored away. I also explained that another great great grandfather was a police sargeant and lived close by where the bus station now stands. More thoughtful looks, but I think he's getting the idea that he has lots of family history in the area.
Whistling Will! Having found the whistle on his buoyancy aid Will made sure everyone had heard how it worked. Jus Chillin in the background rubbing gunwales with the hire boats.
Charlie with the Padwick swing bridge behind him. The original bridge disintegrated many years ago, the one you see behind Charlie was taken from the Poyntz swing bridge site at Hunston.
Will at the same bridge.
Heading back to Hunston we spotted even more wildlife with this Coot on her nest and chicks close by.
This heron was stalking along the shallows. I wonder if it's the same bird seen by Richard and Megan. The boys were impressed at seeing such a large bird and we decided he should be called Herbert.
A nice gentle paddle back to Hunston on this lovely quiet canal.
All in all a very pleasant little trip. If you are in the area and have a canoe I can thoroughly recommend it, if you don't own your own boat then hire boats are available at the basin for a modest charge.
Hmm, where should we go next. Keep an eye on this site and see where we end up!
Written by Al Girling