Tuesday 30 May 2017

Kennet and Avon (Day 47)

Hi There

Quicker than normal post here as we've reached the end of the line that in this case is Bristol and are currently sat in the floating harbour.

Over the years we've heard loads of problems about boats seemingly moored for miles and miles along this canal and being difficult to moor, but we've not found this to be the case and have moored pretty much where we'd planned to along the way. In some places we've been lucky as there might have only been one or two visitor mooring spaces and an hour either way might have found them full, but then we do aim to arrive at popular destinations late morning by which time people would have set off and this seems to have worked for us. It also has to be said that it's not the height of the holiday season and whilst we've seen a lot more holiday boats these last few weeks there will no doubt be more around in the coming months. We've also used our gang planks quite a bit these past seven weeks as away from designated moorings can prove to be a bit difficult to get in tight to the bank. 100+ locks may seem a bit daunting, especially when you've got to do them again on the return journey, but when you do a quarter/third of them (29 at the Caen Hill Flight at Devizes) then the other 80 spread over seven weeks isn't probably much worse than our lock usage on other canals. That said though, we're planning to double back to Reading over about a three week period so Devizes aside will see us doing about 25 to 30 locks a week for our remaining time on here. So with that quick take on how we've found our time on here.

Anyway, back to our last few days.

Went for a walk along an old disused railway, but found that it wasn't completely disused! Not a sexy steam train, but it seemed pretty full each time it went past. It turned out to be a very popular cycle route as well with signage for Bath one way and Bristol the other.

Our peaceful mooring spot in the middle of nowhere, well two miles from the closest towns. Was it quiet though, no, as it seemed a magnet in the area and there were loads having a swim and a large open space above where Barbie's were in full throw. Weren't too sure about leaving the boat though, as we thought it might end up being a diving platform so Nicky took The Boys for a walk by herself.

Then the kids went, peace decended, had out tea, took The Boys out, but hang on what's this up in the open area at the top of a pontoon? Tent, music centre/deck of some thought, half a dozen people and boom boom rave music, I wonder how long this is going to go on for! So anyway went for our walk, got back, few more people now so just pulled the boat to the end of the pontoon and a bit further away from the access ramp and settled down to a bit of TV.

Then shortly after a couple turned up at our boat who turned out to be the ones that had arranged the gathering and were a bit worried about disturbing us and told us to come and see them if it got too loud. We thought that was nice and considerate so told them not to worry and just have a good time (that they did) and was still boom booming at half seven the next morning! Just as well I like rave music I suppose and Nicky just sleeps so no worries.

Early start the next morning in case we couldn't moor at the next visitor mooring at Hanham Lock as after that the river becomes tidal and you have to go right through to Bristol. The only lock of the day, assuming we can stop where planned and just so happened upon a holiday boat coming in the other direction who worked the lock for us.

And lucky us, one space that was probably where the holiday boat we'd just past had been for the night.

Early start the next morning as with the tidal section down to Bristol we had a window of leaving at 07:00 or midday and at £30 for a single nights mooring in Bristol Harbour we didn't fancy getting there half way through the day.

Whilst it wasn't raining it was a damp misty start, but quite quick as the tide had turned and was in our favour.

Netham Lock where we'd walked to the day before to speak to the lock keeper and stopping here to pay up for our stay.

Then it was off through Bristol to the docks to find a mooring space.

Only the one low bridge that gave a clearance of a little over two metres so we'll be fine.....

I think......

Yup, no problem, just a bend over job whilst going under.

Then aiming towards where we ended up for the night in the first couple of pictures.

So that's us once again up to date and as far west and we're going so it'll be about turn and back to The Thames now.

And so in signing off,

Day 1402 in the Badger Sett Narrow boat - 2993 miles, 1895 locks and 1499 cruising hours further on from when we started.

Friday 26 May 2017

Kennet and Avon Canal (Day 44)

Hi There

Onwards and upwards, or I suppose sideways when you're​ traveling East to West and Nicky's completed 105 of her 208 locks as well as 22 swing bridges so far. Now I say 208 locks as our book says there are 104 of them although they're numbered up to 107 that would make 214. To further confuse myself, I've logged us as doing 105 with 4 more to go that would then make it 109 so somethings not right somewhere. But then with having garbled on about it, do you really care???

Always good to see no mooring within 50' of a bridge, but I guess if you're a wider boat then it's okay!!!

The Boys walking with Nicky whilst moving forward, only a short hop to Bradford on Avon today.

And the aforementioned Bradford on Avon

The Tithe Barn with what almost seems like a waste of good woodwork for a barn.

And looking more like a church from the outside.

Off again, but only by a lock and two miles to our next stopping point at Avoncliff.

Sharp right turn up ahead

Onto the Avoncliff Aqueduct

The best bits of what you miss if you don't stop.

And of course the bonus of a walk for The Boys

Only a short one back towards Bradford on Avon though as it's a bit warm.

Then after tea when it's a bit cooler they get another one.

Plenty of sniffs about.

Sort of got lost and came across Freshford and then Limply Stoke before finding the River Avon and just followed it back until we found where we were.

Any guesses what this could have been?

Were you right?

And then it's off again on another two mile cruise, but no lock this time 😁

Turning towards the Dundas Aqueduct, but mooring just on the left before crossing it.

And once again missing what's underneath unless you stop.

All moored up.

Now these things are a pain in the arse and whilst I fully accept that the waterways and towpaths are for use by all, if you're going to continually hit my boat with your oars then either try harder not to or at least wave, acknowledge or say sorry and not just assume it's your waterway and we're just in the way!

Fortunately, for Nicky, she wasn't even onboard when I manage to foul the prop with our own rope, talk about scoring an own goal, so just had to accept muttering to myself instead of having someone else to blame and shout at.

Two and a half hours later and then a call out to River Canal Rescue who turned up the next morning and spent another hour or so and all was sorted, other than the need to replace a stern rope!

Made it to Bath and walked up to a bit of the Skyline walk with The Boys.

They're not interested with views though, they just want to have a play. Eight and nine now and still pups at heart.

Nicky went on a tour that took her up the Bath Abbey Tower

The Roman Baths

And when she got back we went down the six locks that'll take us onto The River Avon.

Then a drop of 19' 5" in the last lock but one that I think is probably the deepest we've done so far on the network with the exception of maybe the staircase locks that take you up onto The Lancaster Canal as part of The Ribble Link. (See page tabs above of this journey)

Then it's onto The River Avon

My sexy lock keeper

And just when your not expecting it you come across a visitor mooring (on the left) so it's a 180 so we're facing up river

And that'll do us nicely.

Great views.

Then there are if course Nicky's wildlife pics

So there we are, all up to date and sitting just down river from Saltford. Aiming to be in Bristol in the next  two or three days then I can start colouring in The Kennet and Avon part of our map as done. Then it'll be back track time although we won't be taking seven weeks to do the West to East journey.

And so in signing off,

Day 1399 in the Badger Sett Narrow boat - 2982 miles, 1890 locks and 1496 cruising hours further on from when we started.