Saturday 22 July 2023


Today's Canal : Kennet and Avon

When we awoke, quite early, the rain promised for later in day had already arrived. It was only a light drizzle at first but gradually, as the morning wore on, become more persistent. Not heavy rain, but the sort that tends to get in everywhere.

We had a little think about how to diminish the impact of two or perhaps three, wet days. We came up with a possible plan of breaking our journey in order to go home for a week, at Frouds Bridge Marina. As we cruised down to the first lock, Christine gave them a call and they are able to fit us in and so we have booked it from Tuesday to Tuesday. Gives us a chance to at least dry out in the afternoon after a morning in the wet.

A reminder that we started today still on a river and the weirs get larger.

The first lock, Widmead, was well-behaved and we were through in just 11 minutes.

In addition to the locks we had a couple of swing bridges to operate. Both turned out to be really easy.

Monkey Marsh lock is the special turf lock and we had to wait for a hire boat that had just arrived. They were fairly inexperienced and needed some support (like pointing out that the lock would not fill with a bottom paddle half open!)

The section we have just come through is canalised but the river joins just below this lock. 

The sign is a reminder of just how the flow affected boats when we came up and moored close by on the visitor moorings at Thatcham Station.

The first problem we encountered at Coltrop Lock was that a hire boat was tied up on the lock landing (which in any event is confined by a large wide beam moored as close as it can get). Mike warned them that we might need to walk across there boat when we had finished - there is no other option. Their excuse was that they were sheltering from the rain (despite it being obvious that it might last all day - it did) and that they were having a bacon butty whilst waiting for the weather to clear. They knew that they should not be there but . . .  

Fortunately we did not fall out over it as we needed their help when it came to opening the top gates for jus to come in. The leakage at the bottom was so great the top gates would not make a level. After some time with the level static, Mike opted to demonstrate a technique for gaining better leverage that we should not perhaps talk about in case CaRT are listening, but the work Spanish is in there somehow! At least it worked without causing any damage . . . Overall,  it took over half an hour to fill and then empty this lock (most of it filling!)

With lunch looming, we now agreed to go down the next lock and then look for a mooring that might also do for overnight.
Despite having to turn the next lock it was much speedier and was followed by a swing bridge. We tried three times to get alongside the bank to moor without success. However, we could see that the edge just below the bridge landing was a bit deeper and we indeed did moor. It was fortunate that we had our new longer gangplank as even when against the reeds we were still some way from firm ground.

Lunch - special sausage sandwiches thanks to the Hungerford butcher and a lazy afternoon followed - heating was needed.

3.7 Miles - 4 Locks

No comments:

Post a Comment