We spent four weeks in the United Kingdom visiting cousins. As well, we managed to visit eight confluence sites to add to those we've visited back home in Canada and some in the United States. This is the first of eight visits in the UK.
We were on our way north from the Windsor/Ascot area to Lincolnshire. It was warm and sunny when we stopped on the outskirts of Buckingham at Cox and Robinson, a large farm and country supply store. Alan went inside to make some inquiries. The girl he spoke with suggested he contact the farmer to find out if it was safe to enter the field because there was a bull in there with the cows. They are "bulling", she told Alan. This advice seemed wise so Alan got directions to get to the landowner's farm.
About two miles up the road we found Radclive Farm. Alan spoke to the man driving a tractor who soon appeared on the scene. When asked about the presence of the bull, the man felt it would be safe enough for us to go into the field to look for the confluence. It was interesting to hear that this farm has been owned by one of the Oxford University Colleges since about 1400.
With the knowledge that it should be safe to venture into the field, we drove back, parked our car, climbed over a gate and entered the grassy field. When the cows spotted us they formed a group and in unison began walking towards us. The bull went the other way and stood over near the fence. Suddenly I recalled some BBC news reports I had read on the Internet about cows charging and killing people who were out walking their dogs. I hoped those events were connected to the dogs and since our dog was back home in Canada, we kept walking forward towards them. Thinking that a gentle voice would keep them calm, I spoke to them. Onward they came! As the gap closed, Alan talked to them and they ran off. It turned out that they were merely curious. They kept their eyes on us from a distance all the while we were in their field. The bull spent much of his time lounging in a mud hole next to the fence.
After finding the confluence point and taking photos, we walked around the perimeter of the field which is bordered by the River Great Ouse, a joining tributary, fences, trees, bushes and hedges ripe with Blackberries. The source of the River Great Ouse is only about nine miles from here so it is still a small stream rather than a river at this location. By the time the river reaches The Wash at King's Lynn it has travelled 150 miles, making it the fourth longest river in the United Kingdom. From here it is hard to imagine the 17 locks, the rowing races, and the internationally important wildlife areas of the washland of the River Great Ouse further downstream.
In the historic market town of Buckingham we visited the Old Gaol circa 1748, now a Museum and Tourist Information Office. It is said that Buckingham was founded in the 7th Century AD by Bucca, the leader of the first Anglo Saxon settlers. Buckingham means "meadow of Bucca's people".
Of course, as a Formula One fan, what came next for Alan was a stop at nearby Silverstone to see the famed race track and a few moments to enviously watch race driver "wannabees" taking part in a driving school experience.
Next we visited 53°N 0°