Day 39 now back at the top of The Caen Hill flight

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Totals to day 39 Thursday are now 188 miles, 181 locks, 33 lift/swing bridges, 11 cappuccinos and 3 events. ( I have a problem on cappuccinos as we are now going back over the same ground - I am not counting the places I have already found - only new locations- that seems fair to me).

We are now back at Devizes wharf after coming up the the 28 locks associated with the Caen Hill area.

This was greatly helped by our friends John and Eve who came especially from Tiverton. They wanted to see us and the boat- we said how about a nice day at Caen Hill - I am not sure if they really appreciated how much they helped us. Anne's back side is getting better slowly, but is definitely not helped by doing the locks. She has been doing a lot more steering- and very well indeed-the confidence is growing all the time. I am lock wheeling ie using my Brompton fold up bike to travel between the locks and also work the one in front at the same time.This speeds us up through the locks when they are close together.Unfortunately as we move along the canal the locks move to one every mile or so I will not be able to lock wheel so much.

The local cool swan who was swanning around the boat this evening with one leg up out of the water and the other just gliding him around- he would look good with a pair of Rayburns!

John having mastered the locking gets us to the top of the flight.

Anne teaching Eve the mysteries of locking and which way to push the gates open and shut!!!!

Another example of the weird and wonderful craft that people use on this part of the canal-it looks like an old lifeboat.

When they restored the canal between Bradford on Avon and Bath they relined it with concrete to ensure that it did not leak like the original canal. They have the ramps every so often- my only guess is that they are to let ducks/moorhens etc get out- Anne's not so sure but has not come up with an alternative.

A heron that refused to fly away as we approached. We think he had his eye on some ducklings. In fact when we were in Bath I saw a heron being mobbed by a gull I think he had taken a chick or an egg.

The team- Anne at the helm and me near my trusty Brompton stead.

Our mooring the other evening at Claverton which is within the Avon valley and is just such a lovely spot.

The old mill at Limpley Stoke on the Avon, it has been converted to small business units.

Rennie's magnificent Dundas Aqueduct.

Our last night mo0ring at Sydney Gardens in Bath.

Day33 Still in Bath

Friday, 14 May 2010

Well we are still here. Anne has come back from seeing her dad who is much much better and has been let out from the hospital and is now back in the care home. None of the jobs on my list have been done as I had more pressing things to deal with as the domestic alternator had packed up. A call to RCR (River Canal Rescue) soon had an engineer with me. He confirmed that a new one was required. A quick call to Beta and a replacement was on its way. They now do a 100amp alternative but it is about 2cm taller. The engine area is very tight and this small increase would have required a major rebuild, so I stuck with the 70amp, which I thought would be quicker. It with the engineer arrived promptly by 10.15 on Thursday morning. All was going well until he discovered that the brush assembly was not wired for the battery management system anymore.After a call to Beta he used the old one which was still OK as they had stopped this arrangement some time ago. All seems to be working ok now,time will tell as the warranty is no longer valid.

When Anne was away I did the Bizarre Bath Comedy Walk on Tuesday evening. If you are ever in Bath for a night this is a must. Its very different and very funny. The man in action-

You don't see many Thames Launches away from the river. This lovely example came passed towards Bath top lock.

We a going to stay Friday night and then set sail for the return down the K&A. Depending how Anne's bum/leg/muscle gets on will influence us when we get to Reading. Will it be the easier trip back up river to Oxford and the narrow canal or the longer trip via Brentford and the wide locks of the Grand Union!!!!!

Day 30 Bath- home alone

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

To day 30 162 miles,144 locks, 26 swing/lift bridges and 8 cappuccinos- latest being Bath.

We are now in Bath and the last 6 miles where we were above the River Avon valley were magnificent in its full spring colour. The final few miles as we reached Bath and saw its houses on the other side of the valley in their ruch creamey brown colour made all the trip worthwhile.

The only thing now is that Anne has strained a musle in her buttock which is making walking very dificult(although I get to rub in the ointment). Her dad has also gone into hospital although I have just heard that he should be out tomorrow. We hired her a car and she has gone back to see him for a few days.Leaving me a list of jobs to do including fixing the sink waste which doesn't flow out!!!. I have added it to my list of external painting jobs - it will be interesting to see how much gets done,or will the attractions of Bath be irrisistable!!.

Due to Anne's muscle problem we have decided not to go to Bristol which involves another 13 locks including some larger ones on the river. Hopefully this will enable it to get better ready for the trip back down the K&A. It may also mean that she will need to do the steering into the locks and I will do the gates.Something she is not looking forward to- although it becomes easier with practise. I have done this entry with now check by my checker so apologis for hany mistacks.

My mooring tonight by bridge 188 Bathwick Hill which is a 10 minute walk into the centre of Bath.

Looking down the river from Pulteney Bridge to the weir which we will not be going down to moor near.

Latest thing for fast moving boats in Bath

Looking back to the iron bridges as you enter Bath. The local land owners wanted something more than just bridges on their land.

This figure head was on a wooden boat as we entered Bath.

Lovely spring colours across the valley

This time of year is great.

Our mooring the other night at Claverton Pumping Station

The Tower House in the village of Claverton.

The Claverton Pumping station that is the largest water wheel that used to pump water from the River Avon to the K&A.

Dundas Aqueduct.

Avoncliffe Aqueduct

Day 26 Bradford on Avon

Friday, 7 May 2010

With Rosie and Jim's help, who we waved goodbye to at noon today, we are now at Bradford on Avon which is a lovely town with many buildings in mellow yellow Bath stone.

One surprise was this Roe deer we saw by the canal on our way back to the boat after looking at the Tithe Barn.

We have now done 156 miles, 143 locks, 24 swing/lift bridges and I have found 7 locations for cappuccinos.

The Roe deer that did not mind the people on the tow path very quietly watching.

The magnificent Tithe Barn built around 1350. The town in fact dates back to 1001.

Part of the oak timber roof.

I just could not resist this somewhat modified mini that was parked next to the canal at Bradford on Avon.

Another fine old building down by the river. It houses the Best Tea Room 2009.

An old mill converted to flats. At one time there were over 30 mills in town- a very rich town

Another fine building.

Bradford on Avon is well worth a visit but the canal is getting very crowded with long term moorers and it is becoming very difficult to find suitable moorings as it is very shallow in places. About 12 hire boats have gone through this evening heading towards Bath so I think we shall try and find somewhere to moor for the weekend and make our way into Bath from Monday onwards next week. Plan B may be to see if we can get a place in Bath marina for a few days. Its on the River Avon about 2 miles downstream. Its on our way to Bristol but also next to a park and ride so easy to get into Bath.

Bradford on Avon Wharf where we are moored.The bulding in the middle is the gauging area where they used to work out the loads that the boats could carry and therefore the toll charge.

Day24 and 25 Caen Hill flight

It has taken us two days to go down the flight. No we didn't overnight in it.Worse than that -we did the 6 locks on the Tuesday afternoon with Rosie and Jim when we had to stop before the main course at 13.30. The flight had been closed for the day as some brick work in lock 30 had collapsed. Frost over the winter had weakened it and it had finally given up the ghost. It would be back in action at 08.00 on Wednesday.

The empty pound above lock 30 Tuesday evening-it clearly shows the size of the locks on the flight.

On our way down on Wednesday. We had to pass each side of this widebeam hotel boat in a very short pound- much dancing around was performed. It reminds me of a big fat grouper fish.

Finally at the bottom of the main 16 locks of the flight. It was some day -3 hrs work to do a mile and about 200ft. We shared the flight with an English family who live in Delft, Holland and who have taken several canal holidays. One of their two daughters had brought a friend with her who has only been to the UK once- it was to Battle!

Day23 Devizes

Monday, 3 May 2010

We have only travelled 1 mile in the last two days- that should adjust our average per day-and make up for the long days during our sprint down the Thames the other week.

We are still in Devizes but we have gone into the local marina for a few days to chill out and charge up all the electrical bits on mains power and do a few jobs between showers. We all take electricity for granted and its only a luxury when you have to keep an eye on the battery bank monitor which tells you how much energy you have left available and how long it will last at your current usage. We are waiting for our real life Rosie and Jim who arrive tomorrow, Tuesday, for our trip down the Caen Hill flight. Hopefully the weather will be a little better. We have had heavy showers with sunny periods over the last two days with a cold wind.

A view down the main section of 16 locks to whet the appetite for tomorrow.

Devizes is a lovely town with all the essentials. Today they held a May Day fair in the Market Square organised by the local Lions Club.

Something different- a coffee bus- we didn't try it as we had already coffeed in Costa's.

Day 21 Devizes Wharf

Saturday, 1 May 2010

To day 21 Saturday (its doing it again) 142 miles, 107 locks, 18 swing/lift bridges and 5 cappuccino's latest in Devizes (which has several)

The above picture is of our mooring tonight at the Wharf- we are third on the right- and its stopped again- why me!!!

This canal continues to provide suprises like a lock with a swing bridge over the top.The original landowner refused permission to move a footpath a few yards so the builders had to let it cross the lock. Yesterdays journey around Picked Hill and the first of the White Horses carved into the chalk hill were breath taking.

Brewery building in Devizes.

The Market Hall

The K&A restored barge Unity built by Robbins, Lane and Pinniger at Honey Street Wharf.

A chocolate box cottage at All Cannings which has a community store from which I collected todays Daily Telegraph after ordering it yesterday- a great little shop and very friendly.

Our first White Horse after passing Picked Hill in the Vale of Pewsey.

The Trent & Mersey canal has "wides" caused by salt mining subsidence. The K&A has wides made specially for the landed gentry- Lady Susannah Wroughton who did not want a canal through her land. She would rather like to see a lake- so she got the wide instead and a rather nice stone bridge as well.

On the way out of Hungerford you pass the house that belonged to Eric Moorecombe-its his son's now. In the grounds is a large statue of them both, from a film studio- not sure of the colour though.

The lock with a swing bridge through the middle.