Wednesday 28 June 2023


Today's Navigations : River Avon, Kennet and Avon Canal

A shortened navigation day today as this morning we took part in an online Zoom training course, still sat at the Bath Quays mooring.

As soon as the course finished at 1.30 after which we needed our lunch! It was around 2.30 before we actually set off, leaving the converted warehouses behind us. 

Although only a short distance, the  rest of the river to the canal junction is crossed by many bridges, rail, vehicular and pedestrian. This is the last one.

We tied firmly to the pontoon lock landing as it takes some time to prepare the lock and. as we found on the way down, the currents can easily pull the boat out into midstream and unless well tied. Th#e time as also extended as, a boat appeared from Bath Deep Lock just as we were starting to empty the River Lock. By the time we were ready to come in another boat had joined us on the pontoon and we shared all six locks today.

As soon as we came out of the first lock, the dark abyss of Deep Lock loomed in front of us. Actually, it is quite a bit easier ascending this lock with another boat as securing a single boat to the risers is barely possible with only the steerer on board.

On the way down we missed taking a picture of the mechanism to open the bottom gates - so here it is. Can we just mention again that each gate takes 110 turns of a windlass either to open or to close! That's 440 turns altogether, before even starting to fill from the top! At least this time we shared the task with the boat that had just come down and our partner crew!

We also failed last time to work out the origins of the chimney alongside the Pump Shed refreshment stop. This time we spotted a recently installed information board.

You may not be able to read the text so here it is: "The chimney is all that's left of the pumping station that once pushed water up to the pound above Bath Top Lock. This kept the canal flowing smoothly. Posh Bathwick Hill residents insisted on an ornate, not an ordinary, chimney."

The pound between the top two locks is short and direct, unlike those below. Hence the two boats could transit in close formation.

Just before we reached open country between Bath and Bathampton we spotted this house. We noted elsewhere to Bath Human Society life belt on the lock cottage beside the top lock. At the distance from the boat it was a bit difficult to read all of the dark blue sign but the first part says that it is Bath Humans Society's Station for Lifebouys and Drag Poles. A photo taken from much closer distance can be found here along with a bit more about the Society and the social conditions of its time.

Not long after leaving Bath we found ourselves behind a very slow hire boat. We found that we had to drift out of gear for much of the time to avoid running into them. OK, so there was a long line of moored boats and it is good to slow down past them but . . .

We guessed that they were looking for a mooring and spurning the few rather rough ground openings. They too were heading for bathampton as they pulled onto the good visitor mooring where we stayed a few days ago. Fortunately for boating neighbourliness there was still room for us as well even if we are on the bend part!

3.3 Miles - 6 Locks

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