Pictures from Hungerford

Thursday, 29 April 2010

We are now at Devizes Wharf and I have an Orange 3g signal so can post a few pictures of our travels this week. We have gone from Great Bedwyn to Devizes through some lovely Wiltshire countryside and villages mostly in spring sunshine.

This oak tree was the view from our galley just past Crofton Pumping station and before Bruce tunnel. There is something about English oak standing guard over the landscape.

Clare supervising Bill during the repair of her bike following its attack by hawthorn twigs- much glue and patches were consumed during the process.
The magnificent Crofton Steam Pumping station which has two beam engines the oldest being 1812. It was used in anger last year when the BW diesel engines which now provide the power to pump water into the top pound broke down and the steam engines had to be used to cover for them. The train engine is the private operator Hanson which runs one of the many stone trains that move upwards of 3000tons of stone per trip into London every day.

Couldn't resit this sign on the way into Crofton.

The old School at Great Bedwyn which is now the local Doctors surgery.

As we were proceeding in a westerly direction we came across several people in kilts.They were doing a sponsored walk- not something you see everyday.

Day19 now at Pewsey in the rain

To Day 19 Thursday 130 miles, 107 locks , 16 swing bridges and now only 4 cappuccinos- latest being Crofton pumping station and The Totti Pole by Hungerford bridge which is a boatman's heavon as you can also purchase BW pump out cards.

No 3g signal since leaving Kintbury so only a few pictures and words. We are at Pewsey Wharf and our first rain since starting our cruise- cannot be bad. The canal continues to get better and better although mooring can be a problem but you can usually get the bow in close enough to get on and off without too much difficulty.

We fed three visitors Monday night at Great Bedwyn- Dee and Mike (Debs family) and Simon.
Bill and Clare have been with us for the last few days which has been very good to have some extra people to help through the locks. They also provided a taxi service to the Co-Op in Pewsey which would have been a very hard walk back to the boat. Our own Rosie and Jim arrive next Tuesday to help us down the Caen Hill flight of 29 locks. We saw the locks in the early 1970's derelict so it will be good to go down one of the wonders of the UK canal system.

Had to have this picture of the shop near Hungerford bridge- need I say more.

Spyed this lovely little wooden craft as we neared Pewsey Wharf- called the Urchin.

Day 13 Spring is here its official

Friday, 23 April 2010

To Day 13 Friday 112 miles,81 locks, 15 swing/lift bridges and 2 cappuccinos ( although I did have a few in Newbury I have only counted one - other wise I think I am cheating myself)

We finally left Newbury after 2 nights, it is just a great boat place to visit. We cruised with nb Silvermoon to Kintbury. The weather was glorious and the scenery through the River Kennet water meadows great- it was just a perfect days boating. Spring has definitely arrived because we have heard a cuckoo and seen our first bunch of ducklings. Anne also saw the first kingfisher of the trip- I missed it-aaah.

We are now moored at the 48hour moorings above Kintbury lock and although next to the railway is now not too noisy. The only troule with the K&A is that you cannot just moor up as the banks are very shallow, it may improve as we move along it-I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Another old mill this time at Kintbury converted to flats.

The old Rectory Kintbury

Our mooring at Kintbury

Looking back at Hamstead Lock which is on the edge of Hamstead Estate in an area that used to grow watercress using the River Kennet.

A group of youngsters who were shooting the mill weir at Newbury.

First group of ducklings at Newbury- she had in total 12- I wonder how many will survive.

Day 11 Newbury

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

To Day 11 - 107 miles,75 locks, 14 swing/lift bridges and now 2 cappuccinos

We cruised from Thatcham to above Newbury lock today in superb spring sunshine. Newbury is a lovely town very boat friendly and we are moored at West Mills Wharf which is a 1 minute walk from the centre of town. The main excitement today was going against the current under Town Bridge and entering Newbury lock. We also found the launderette to beat all lauderettes in Boundary Lane - domestic bliss.

Our mooring tonight looking forward towards the cottages fronting the West Mills site

Our mooring back towards Newbury lock with an old mill building now converted to flats on the right.

Two ducks (not sure of the breed) asleep on the towpath- I was 3ft away.

NewburyWharf crane- this whole area was a hive of industry 200 years ago.

This lovely building which is now the museum used to be the Old Granary its in Wharf Road.

Looking back at Town Bridge with the River Kennet entering from the left and a mill stream on the right!

Approaching Town Bridge which narrows and increases the flow of the river- another good challenge- which keeps you on your toes. Who says narrow boating is boring- it ain't on the K&A.

As we approached Newbury we saw this lovely Dutch Barge with graceful sweeping curves to its cabin,I cannot remember its proper name.

One last picture of last night's sunset which also included cloud reflections in the river. Its evenings like this that make boating magical.

LTC Rolt

LTC Rolt one of the founders of The Inland Waterways Association was born on the 11 February 1910 and to celebrate this they are sponsoring his classic cruise on his narrow boat Cressy which starts from Banbury. Andrew on nb Granny Buttons is covering this in great detail on his blog. LTC Rolt was also instrumental in the saving of The Talyllyn railway in North Wales. What a visionary- we must all be gratefull for his vision to save these two pieces of our industrial history.

Day 10 Tuesday above Thatcham lock

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

To date 70 locks, 103 miles, 13 swing bridges and still only 1 cappaccino- this could change as its Newbury tomorrow.

Our mooring tonight

View down river from Woolhampton lock which shows the river entering from the right and the lift bridge just round the corner. The instructions on the lock side are to open the lift bridge before leaving the lock ( ie you then run the rapids)

The line of the K&A was used as a defence line in the Second World War and there are many pill boxes still to be seen.

A boatmans view of the river rapids below Woolhampton lock.

K&A locks are large but according to Anne easy peasey.

There are now only 2 turf sided locks left on the K&A. This is Monkey Marsh lock at Thatcham
which has to be left empty I assume so that the earth sides do not absorb too much water and then subside. They are very unique and part of the pleasure of this canal.

Day 9 Aldermaston

We had a lovely afternoon cruise in spring sunshine from Theale to above Aldermaton lock with Annie and Clem on nb Adromeda who were heading for Frouds Bridge Marina. We moored above the lock near bridge 29.

The pictures below are in no order but reflect on the busy area around Aldrmaston which was a very busy inland area in the early 1800's with a large brewery and then in later years a rail/canal intercharge built by the Great Westrern Railway, which we are in constant contact with all the way along. This canal is getting better and better, it has so many idiosyncrasies in every mile. Most of the people we spoke to on the way down the Oxford told us about the heavy lock gates. In fact they are not bad at all, the ones on the Buckby flight on the GU are much heavy. Whats much more demanding/exciting on this first part is the river current that can easily catch you out. I went for a cycle last night and came across a hire boat that had been spun completly around. I managed to get them turned around again and moored up. I don't think the hire company had given them any info on the river and what to expect.

The old Wharf Managers house

Waiting for the lift bridge across the busy road to go up. In fact its switched off in the morning and evening rush hours.

Aldermaston lock which was originally a turf sided luck but was rebuilt before the canal closed with scolloped brick edging.

Nb Black Bess and Andromeda awaiting the lock to fill with the lift bridge behind.

The old brewery Malthouse now houses.

Upton swing bridge with an old lock of 1ft 9inches deep built in 1830 to maintain the deep of the pound

More pictures of the Thames

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Its gone into blue underline and I don't know how to switch it off- help the worlds against me ah well I will carry on.

A nice little launch run around

Its gone I didn't do nothing.

A house with your own light house as you approach Caversham on the outskirts of Reading

Big brother- the hotel barge The African Queen not quite like the film.

The lovely remote ferryman's cottage below Goring lock.

The ultimate summer house again down river of Goring lock but not for the feint hearted.

A nice new house at Goring

We had this unusual reflection in our bedroom on the Saturday morning a double reflection through one port hole. It was early morning with the mist being burnt off by the sun. Is the sun being refracted by the water and the mist giving this double reflection,as it only lasted for about 10 minutes.

Day 8 nearly a day of rest

To Day 8 Sunday 18 April - 60 locks, 95 miles and only 1 cappuccino-(although I missed an opportunity for one in Wallingford but due to my tight schedule, more later, I couldn't wait for the multitude of coffee shops to open. )

Well we have had a couple of very busy days of 9 hours boating each day which has taken us from Thrupp on the Oxford canal via the River Thames to Theale on the Kennet & Avon canal. The weather has been excellent although the wind on the Thames was very cold - I was in 6 layers and gloves, but it was clear skys all the way. I had been focused on getting to the K&A and therefore only had a one day Thames licence which allows for 1 night but two full days on the river. I should have got a few more days to really enjoy the spring weather, I am in the dog house again- DOH!!! The stream warnings had all been taken off from the Thames but there was still a pronouced flow especially where it went through a narrow section, but no real mishaps. It was very interesting though going through the Oracle shopping centre in Reading. It was Saturday lunch time on a glorious spring day the crowds were out in force and much to Anne's dismay I continued to wave to the crowds like the Queen- great fun. It was also very slow as we must have been going against a 4mph current- the warning board at the first lock as you enter the K&A was indicating a reducing stream. We made it to above Theale swing bridge at 17.00 on Saturday and have not moved today Sunday. A day spent polishing and tlc for BB she deserves it.

Our mooring near Wallingford 07.15 with a lovely mist which the sun burnt off by 07.45, we also had a hard frost.
The same mooring the night before which was a glorious spring evening as the cold wind had dropped- it was only a 5 minute walk into the centre of Wallingford.

A barge used by the colleges to watch the rowing on the Thames

The old Abbey next to Godstow lock on the Thames.

The unimposing entrance to Dukes cut which leads to the Thames above Oxford.

Day 5 Thrupp

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Day 5 34 locks, 40 miles and still only 1 cappuccino

The weather for us continues to be grey and cloudy with a very chilly wind, but more to the point for us no rain and therefore all the boards have been taken off the Thames. We are now at Thrupp ready for our dash down the river tomorrow and Saturday to Reading.

I spoke to Orange yesterday re my connection problems and they said to diasable the wifi function. I have done this and it seems to be working but I have everything of mine and Anne's crossed.

Our mooring last night at Sommerton Meadow- one our our favourites- it was also a washing day.

Aynho Weir lock which is only 1ft deep but is wide enough to get 3 boats in so that enough water is passed to the next pound to ensure that the Sommerton Deep lock at 12ft has plenty of water.

When we moored in the centre of Banbury we were behind nb Columbia which has an interesting history. It was built as an unpowered butty in 1907, converted to a motor boat and then shortened to 54ft. It was then rebuilt to its original 70ft but was then burnt out in early 2000, completely rebuilt and converted to a live a board and finally finished in her present state in April 2009. Unfortunately its gear box had failed- it will cost about £3000 to repair and has been at Banbury for 10 days awaiting its completion.

Will hopefully be able to get a connection on the K&A so keep checking.