Friday, 22 May 2015

Just a perfick day.

IMG_0138a   IMG_0141   IMG_0142 B1nr Pewsey

This was one of my favourite cottage views with that lovely ancient tree standing in the field. We passed a nice straight stretch where soft edging had been installed and the sign said Bank Repairs No Mooring.  Good solid moorings are in very short supply along the Kennet and Avon Canal.

IMG_0149 IMG_0150 Picked Hill IMG_0155a

Wild mooring seems to be the only solution sometimes, but the bottom of the boat scrapes on stones damaging the boat. Also with the operation of the large double locks moving vast amounts of water boats tip at a jaunty angle as you can see here. Hammering mooring pins into the soft high banks can rip the earth out as boats pass by too. We could see Picked Hill in the distance, then looking back, Gary having a Titanic moment on the front of his boat!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Leaving Crofton.

IMG_0122  IMG_0123  IMG_0125

This hired wide beam saw us coming and hastily pulled out in front of us, we had met them the day before and they were not very communicative! Anyway we caught them up when they were in the 502 yards long Bruce Tunnel.

IMG_0126 IMG_0128 IMG_0129a IMG_0130

There is a crumbling plaque on the tunnel mouth and the remains of the chains on the walls which were used to pull boats through. Nb Inca followed us through emerging back out into the bright light the other end. We met a C&RT man who was checking water levels and we told him it was low further down. He told us that the pump they had hired two weeks previously at Crofton had broken down and awaited repair. Meanwhile water was being pumped up from Claverton, expensive water we thought! The wide beam boat was waiting for another to exit the top lock when we arrived at Wooten Rivers, allowing us to tie to the lock landing.

IMG_0131c                    IMG_0133

The Railway buffs had been gathering to photograph this engine back at Crofton and had tipped us off it was coming. Hurrah, we were able to see it from here quite well, how lucky were we? Below the lock was just a dreamy countryside scene with large houses, farms and barns.

IMG_0137    IMG_0134    IMG_0136

An immaculate red David Brown Tractor was resting with it’s trailer by the orchard. Opposite was a beautiful large barn with a curved corner wall with round openings at the top.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Crofton Beam Engine.

IMG_0114 IMG_0109 IMG_0111

What a fabulous tranquil spot this was right between the old pumping engine and Wilton Water. The beam engine  site is open at weekends and sometime in steam,. The entrance was through a little tunnel under the railway line and up some steps.

IMG_0101a IMG_0115 IMG_0119a

Wagtails were busy catching flies to feed their hatchlings, ducks were diving and House Martins were collecting mud to build their nests under the eaves.

IMG_0118 IMG_0120 IMG_0121

Next morning we left in more brilliant sunshine. Above the lock Gary left Hamish in charge while he went below to search for his sunglasses.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Cruising on.

IMG_0091  IMG_0094  IMG_0095

Leaving our lovely mooring spot right near the town we cruised on with locks and swing bridges about every mile. Yes, that is Gary doing his first couple of locks, then he was worn out. Girls have more stamina I think!

IMG_0097        IMG_0098       IMG_0100

We spotted these mystery metal boxes bolted to some of the lock gates, any idea what they are please? Many lock landings are only log enough for one boat which makes life difficult when the loose one catches in the current from the lock gates and strong by wash from one side. These chaps were cutting down whole trees and hurling them onto a huge bonfire. The smoke was drifting across the canal and railway, causing a bit of a hazard we thought. Why weren’t they recycling the wood I wonder?

IMG_0102 IMG_0103 IMG_0108

We saw some lovely roof gardens on top of a couple of wide beam boats before we found a decent mooring spot up at Crofton.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Hungerford Antiques.

IMG_0077  IMG_0082  IMG_0084

A boat had just left the town moorings and a lady on a small boat kindly moved along to allow us to moor there. Hungerford is an extremely busy place traffic wise and it all goes via the bridge and one main high street. Anyway we set off to explore the town and half way up on the left we found this fabulous Antique Shop with all kinds of interesting things beautifully presented. Wooden ladders are a rarity today, my family were carpenters and turned the rungs on a lathe to make their own ladders. They were much heavier to manoeuvre than the Aluminium ones too.

IMG_0083 IMG_0079 IMG_0080 IMG_0081

On the opposite side of the street was a narrow alleyway with an upstairs overhang. It opened out into a cobbled yard where 400 horses would have been fed, watered and rested overnight from their days travel. At the same time their riders also rested in the Greyhound Inn lifting a tankard or two before bedtime. All this was back in the time of ‘Good Queen Bess’.

IMG_0088  IMG_0085  IMG_0089 Granary

The railway crosses the man street about half way up on a splendid green bridge with gold lettering ‘GWR 1862’ There was a Tesco and a Co-op for those boaters who were in need of supplies. We could sometimes hear the town clock striking from down on our mooring by an old Granary.