Well another week has gone by and we are now at Devises. On the way we have visited Hungerford, Great Bedwyn and Crofton, where there is an old beam engine that used to pump the water up to the summit,( it still does at certain times of the year,) and Pewsey. We travelled through some very rural parts of Wiltshire, some of which we were very glad that we didn’t meet another boat it was sooo narrow! We have now completed just over half of the locks from Reading to Bristol. We have been enjoying the lovely sunshine, but at the moment there are signs of rain! Ah well it was good while it lasted. In front of us now are 29 locks in 4 miles, which include the Caen Hill Flight. We walked down yesterday to have a look and the view down over is amazing. Think coffee is called for before we start.
Friday, 20 June 2014
Whoops didn’t realise how long it had been since my last entry. We have gradually been making our way westwards. Jane and Kelly, friends from Plymouth, met up with us at Aldermaston. They have a camper van and we found a site for them right by the canal, so we were able to spend a couple of days together. On the second day they were on board whilst we worked through a couple of locks. Also a lift bridge but that was already up and we were waved through. Yesterday 5 locks and 2 swing bridges brought us to Newbury. We are moored just above Greenham Lock. Greenham Common is not too far away from here. We had a walk around yesterday and the canal goes right through the middle of the town and its is very interesting with lots of old buildings. Off to Tesco now! Then tomorrow moving on westward to Kintbury where we are meeting a new friend Max who we met on the Basingstoke Canal.
Saturday, 7 June 2014
Well it is now nearly a week later and we have passed through Windsor, Marlow Henley and Reading all on the Thames and are now on the Kennet and Avon. Actually Reading is the start of the K&A where you have to use a traffic light system to go through the Oracle, a large shopping complex in the middle of Reading which is quite narrow. So our easy life on the Thames with electric locks and lock keepers is now over and it is back to working the locks ourselves. The Thames was interesting some bits quite remote and wide, we wore our lifejackets all the time. Hopefully now on the canal the water should be ‘quieter’ although this is river in part. We have done 4 locks here so far and all were fairly heavy so I suspect that Paul will have to help me a few times. At the moment we are moored at Burghfield and Lorraine, Paul, Addison and Brogan have been to see us which was wonderful. We all went off to the nearby pub for lunch before coming back on board for a cuppa. It seems very quiet now they have gone.
Sunday, 1 June 2014
Well we spent 3 days pottering about by Frimley Green. Luckily though only a small place there was a car spares place there so Paul was able to order us a replacement fan belt. He replaced ours last week when we were on the Wey and he likes to keep a spare. We can run the engine without it, so not like a car, but we don’t charge our batteries. Although this time of year our solar panels do a very good job of recharging. He also bought several fuses as we had a problem with our water heater! Ah well nothing too major! So on Friday we again paired with the same boat to travel down the locks. The boat was called Lady Linda of Pryford and on board were Linda, Lindsey and Max. So for 2 days Paul had his own harem of 4 women!! Friday we had 17 locks although thankfully this way no rain. With another 11 locks yesterday. There was a lot of weed, the canal had a green surface with all the duck weed. Lady Linda cut a course but it was all back by the time we followed her through. Last night we moored near Weybridge and had a walk into the town. This morning we have come out on to the Thames and tonight are moored at Laleham. We only did 2 locks on the Thames but decided to stop about 3.30 rather than mooring overnight in Staines.
Navigators Notes:- The Basingstoke is almost a canal of two halves, from the start at Woodham to the top of Deep Cut it is very shallow, beware if you are more than 2’6” draught and Very, Very, weedy, but from Frimley it is weed free and very pleasant. It is such a shame that it is such an effort to get up and down the lock flights with so much effort. Don’t be put off trying though, especially if you are shallow draughted and don’t carry anything on top.