Day 73 back in Banbury

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Our mooring Tuesday evening above Kings Sutton lock- what it does not show is the hum from the M40 about quarter mile away. sorry about the underlining-its doing it again

Totals to date are now 360 miles , 268 locks, 16 cappuccinos and 7 events. Only a few days left of the trip now- ahaaaaaa.

The 7 events in no order are;-

1.Going up and down the Caen Hill flight- I have just seen that they are currently closed until further notice as a boat has hit a gate and they need to assess the damage- if a gate collapsed when it was holding back a head of water it would be a problem.
2.Going through the Reading Oracle shopping centre when the K&A was still in flood ie we were going against a still strong current.
3.Going along the side of the Avon Valley as we entered Bath in spring time.
4. Steam days seeing Crofton Pumping Station in steam and seeing Tornado go through Great Bedwyn both on the same day.
5. I always wave at passenger trains that pass us and we have been close to the railway during this trip. In April I waved at a train as we came out of Aynho Weir lock. We moored near a boat at Pewsey the owner of which said I saw you wave to the train as I was on that train.
6. Mooring alongside Mike and Dini's GRP boat outside Tesco's at Reading on the Thames. A GRP boater moored near us at Goring had seen it and was amazed.
7. It continues to be the people we have met and talked to all the way along our journey- it really makes the trip so enjoyable and interesting-long may it last as it confirms that the UK is still a great place to live.

The ultimate driving seat!!!! not sure if it was fixed down so could be interesting if you got the boat on the plane.

As we came towards Aynho Weir lock we saw a Black Prince hire boat come out. As they got near they all shouted at us. It was the Atterill tribe from Battle out cruising for a week. They had only mentioned us yesterday when hey presto we appeared. A quick stop and a lovely chat in mid channel. A very pleasant surprise to a great days cruising in glorious sunshine.

The South Oxford canal is famous for its lift bridges. This is No 193 Chisnell Lift Bridge - they all have names but don't know why its called this. Its in a lovely location and just connects two fields.

Somerton Deep lock is at 12ft one of the deepest. The lock cottage like all the others is a private dwelling. This one though has no road access and the property comes with its own boat as the nearest road is about a quarter mile away.

We had to stop again at one of our favourite places- Somerton Meadows where we were greeted by the locals again.

Our first night's stop on the canal was at Thrupp which has a very good community spirit and a great bunch of people. There was a gathering of boat bloggers who met in the Boat Inn on the Saturday evening. They were Sue & Vic nb No Problem, Maffie on nb Millie M, Bones on
nb Bones and Sheila and Bruce on nb Sanity Again . It was great to meet you all and thanks for a very enjoyable evening.

We had decided to go back on the Oxford canal through Oxford and this is the first lock -Isis lock which is the other name for the Thames.

Just a lovely building as we approached Folly bridge on the Thames at Oxford.

As we left our mooring at Sandford lock on the River Thames we passed this 3 storey tuppaware boat it was really tall. I do need to add that narrow boats are also refered to as ditch crawlers which is just as bad as tuppaware boats.

Day68 Sandford on Thames

Friday, 18 June 2010

Day68 Friday- I found the dot in the sky so thst Anne can watch the England game whilst I update the blog.

To date we have now done 329 miles, 248 locks, 48 swing/lift bridges , I have found 16 cappuccino places and 6 events.

The trip back up the Thames has taken 5 nights and the weather has been good to us again although there has been that chilly wind at times. The wildlife has again been excellent with buzzards, red kites, various unidentified raptors and kingfishers. We stopped in mid river to watch one fishing for about 5 minutes - it was brilliant.

Tomorrow we go the final 4 miles to Oxford and then go onto the Oxford canal to do the part through Oxford that we haven't done before. We have always bypassed it via Dukes Cut and the Thames. We really need to do it to tick it off the list. It will be slow with many moored boats and more lift bridges.

We are moored above Sandford lock which is the deepest above Teddington and 3MIAB
went past.

Radley College Rowing Club.

BB moored amongst the "tuppaware" at Abingdon in brilliant warm sunshine. A very friendly boat town.

Salters still operate ferry services along the river in their elegant boats. One of them approaching Abingdon bridge going downriver to Wallingford.

Coming into Abingdon .

We had been recommended to stop above Days lock by Mike and Dini. This is our mooring from which it was a 25 minute walk into Dorchester on Thames- which was well worth the effort it was lovely.

Dorchester Abbey built in 1140 which has a great tea room run by volunteers who serve the most lovely home made cakes- they made £16000 last year which went to local charities.

Rotton Row Dorchester.

A view towards Castle Hill from our mooring above Days Lock.

We moored below Goring lock which has a huge weir arrangement.

Whilst we were moored at Beale Park we took the opportunity to go round the bird sanctuary which was set up by Gilbert Beale who died in 1967 age 99. It is really worth a visit as there are some real surprises, I really like owls and their collection did not disappoint.

A spectacled owl- good name.

I cannot remember the breed but the face and look is just wonderfull.

There is also a great model ship collection of which this is but a small sample.

Day64 Beale Park River Thames

Monday, 14 June 2010

Our mooring tonight looking out of the side hatch - today we did 10 locks and 15 miles.

We left Theale at 09.00 and cruised down to Reading and then stopped at the Tesco right next to the River Thames-its a mere 100yds into the store. The best part of it and to the amazement of the other grp cruisers on the Tesco moorings is that we moored against the side of Mike and Dini's ( friends from Bexhill Sailing Club)lovely grp cruiser Lisendell- I think thats the correct name but apologies if I am wrong. Something thats not done at all!!!! A very pleasant few hours was spent going over each others boats and the telling of various boaty stories.

We left them about 3pm and cruised up river and saw some lovely wildlife- a kingfisher, little grebes, heron, moorhens with chicks and loads of canada geese with all their goslings in creches!

There are also some big cats on this part of the river.

This bowls club is on Fry's Island and can only be reached by the blue ferry- great place.

Anne abandoned ship to enjoy Mike and Dini's grp cruiser- next stop the Med would be nice.

Coming down the last section of the K&A after Blakes Lock we saw this moorhen's nest built on old rubbish - thats recycling in the extreme.

I had time this trip to take a picture going through the Oracle in Reading which shows how narrow it is. Its one way traffic only controlled by traffic lights.

As we left Aldermarston the other day we went through Padworth lock on the K&A which used to have very large barges coming up from Reading - note the size of the bollards.

Day62 Still at Frouds Bridge Marina

Saturday, 12 June 2010

We have spent 5 days in Frouds Bridge Marina which is a really nice and friendly place. We had the engine serviced by Richard Poole Marine Services who did an excellent job. We have also both been back to Fleet for a meeting in connection with Anne's father. The level of care has had to be increased which hopefully will help them through this difficult time with him.

We will leave the marina tomorrow and head for the Thames at Reading. The plan is still to go the short way back to Wigram's via Oxford and the Oxford canal. We will save the lower Grand Union for another day.

We continue to meet boaters that make it part way along the K&A and then decide its not for them and turn round. It is not the easiest of canals - the locks can be difficult, the paddles are hard or are difficult to use unless you lean over the canal- which is not good for the back, the beams are at different heights which makes getting on and off them very awkward and the mooring can be difficult and problematic. There are only about two places that have any armco at all, which is a favourite for narrow boaters from the main system. But and its a big BUT its worth persevering as it does get better from Hungerford onwards. The scenery near Honeystreet,Crofton,Claverton and the Avon Valley going into Bath is just wonderfull.

There are also a lot of wide beams of various types but this is one that actualy looks nice with it.

Just before we came into the Marina we moored near Woolhampton lock and I walked into the village.This is a water fountain erected in 1897 for Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee. Its a listed monument that is due to be restored soon.

Day58 Frouds Bridge Marina

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

We are now in Frouds Bridge Marina which is watched over by this wise old owl carved on an old tree trunk.

Cumulative totals to date are now 283 miles, 225 locks, 42 swing/lift bridges, 15 cappuccinos and 4 events.
(its doing that underlining thing again- but now stopped)

Today we had a really busy day as we did 1 swing bridge, 1 lock, 1mile in 1 hour - time to rest for the rest of the day.
We are in the marina for a few days primarily to get an engine service tomorrow but to also charge the various batteries fully and have a shower where I can stand under it for 10 minutes without worrying about the water.

This was our mooring the other night at Froxfield which is only 500 yards away from the A4.

The scenery on this canal is lovely- this is Dunmill Lock near Hungerford.

This moorhen spent 10 minutes in front of the side hatch cleaning itself and then drying his wings.

Day 56 Sunday at Thatcham

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The last lock we went through today was Monkey Marsh which is one of only two turf sided locks left on the river section of the K&A. It was cheap to build and the fact that it used a lot of water didn't matter.

It did make me wonder how this sign got like this- who hit it!

To date totals 279 miles, 221 locks, 39 swing/lift bridges, 15 cappuccinos and 4 events.

We are now only a few days away from the Thames although the forecast for the next few days is rain which may delay us a bit. We are going the short way back to the marina. The Grand Union route means another 90 wide locks and an extra 90 miles. Although the backs are feeling a lot better we can save it for another day and take the strain away!

Photos as we go towards Thatcham

Some images of the journey from Devizes back towards the Thames. They reflect the great mixture of things on this canal which is well worth the struggle to get on it and to come to terms with it.

This female mallard befriended me at Kintbury and sat in the shade of my chair for about half an hour.

We went for a walk across Hungerford Marsh and then along the River Kennet.

Another boat name not sure about the licence though!

The lovely Somerset Hospital and almshouses near the canal at Froxfield.

BB moored next to Crofton Pumping Station which was in steam over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Anne and Janet on the old Roman road above Crofton.

The local fisherman know how to live when fishing.

Our mooring at All Cannings with the Vale of Pewsey in the back ground it was very hot.

A nice Dutch barge that came past when we were moored at Bishops Cannings.

Our mooring at Bishops Cannings which was very rural.

Nb Beverley a good name- those who know RAF aircraft will appreciate it.

Day 54 now back in Newbury in sunshine

Friday, 4 June 2010

To date 276 miles,215 locks, 36 swing/lift bridges ,14 cappuccinos and now 4 events (latest was seeing Tornado)

The 3g signal through the Vale of Pewsey has been terrible- we are now back in business in Newbury. The weather has been great and the cruising lovely with some very lazy days. We have had many visitors over the last 2 weeks ie Simon, Janet, Sue, Graham and friends.

This is Tornado she is a new A1 pacific- yours for a modest £3m- it sounds and looks brilliant.

Saw this in Crofton village is it the smallest post box?

This is a view of Crofton Pumping Station set in the Vale of Pewsey

Janet and I walked up Woodborough Hill which over looked the canal, Anne rested in the boat but she is now feeling much better and is back on the locks but taking it very steady.

This is our mooring near Woodborough Hill looking towards Picked or Pickled Hill depending on which book you read.

When we were moored at Bishops Cannings this whole reel of tape used to cover cable buried in the ground was floating in the canal. Luckily it didn't get round any ones propellor.