Monday, 1 June 2015
This is what I found when I zoomed in to the unusual abode high up on the hillside. Wouldn’t mind living there, lovely place isn’t it? Anyway, we made a couple of trips to the nearby Sainsbury's to stock up. Then, we left our mooring among all the newish houses lining the canal and set off down the lock. There were two friendly, helpful volunteer lock-keepers to see us safely down, hurrah!
Anyway, she hopped off when we reached Avoncliff Aqueduct where we saw The Crossed Guns Inn behind the houses. Looking down I could see what used to be a substantial Watermill beside the River Avon. It is now in the process of being turned into residential and holiday accommodation.They have a website www.north-mill-avoncliff.co.uk
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Alas our time was up and we wanted to reverse onto the water point and it was drizzling with rain. However there was one of the many wide beam boats already on there. So we got all togged up in our wet weather gear ready for the off. Eventually he moved off and we pulled over to fill our tank. We didn’t add our rubbish to the two small wheelie bins that were overflowing each side, but took it with us to the next stop. The day before was nice and sunny when I walked down to the top of the flight. Plenty of customers at the small cafe there and a couple of cyclists mending a puncture. So, we came down the six locks to the top of the Caen Hill flight of sixteen with their side ponds. Here we stopped for a short break before the onslaught began. The rain was clearing away but the wind was doing it’s best to blow us off course.
Here we go, looks tranquil here as we leave the lock, doesn’t it? There were lock keepers on duty with life jackets and windlasses but not doing very much. However this one on the quad bike appeared to be sweeping bits of the towpath. Non of them spoke to us so we just carried on down by ourselves! At the bottom lock we met a wide beam hotel boat waiting to come up.
The lady steerer seemed to have plenty of controls to use to manoeuvre the boat aside to let us through. The skies were continually changing from bright sunshine to dark clouds and still blowing cold, but it stayed dry luckily.
We went on through the other seven locks to find a space for two at Sells Green. So, how did we feel after doing twenty nine double locks? Well not bad at all except for the knees being a bit creaky! We had completed a fall of 237 feet over a distance of two and a quarter miles altogether, phew!
Monday, 25 May 2015
Of course the town is best known for it’s brewery where they still use their heavy horses and dray to deliver the beer. There are many interesting old corners around the town too, if you take time seek them out.
I visited the museum on the Kennet and Avon Canal Wharf and found a couple of interesting photos. One is a barge transporting a cargo of carboys filled with acid considered too dangerous to be taken by train! In the other one an Archimedes Screw is being used to lift water up from the canal bed, an amazing device.
An ornate bill from 1911 and a table of charges for all the various goods carried on the K&A Canal in 1868. A large sack on display, one of many I suspect, that were hired out from the busy Gloucester Docks area.
Sunday, 24 May 2015
The next day turned out fine and clear after a day of rain which made for beautiful clear cruising. There were only two swing bridges to negotiate, so we did one each. Then went on to moor on the 72 hour moorings opposite Devizes Wharf which meant three days of resting and exploring the town, hurrah.. En-route we passed this lovely large vessel with a herb garden covering the bow. I spotted a water Vole swimming on the right-angled bend just before we moored up.
We had landed on W’s Fish Friday so off we went to the Silk Mercer for lunch. After wards we ambled around past the lovely Castle, which was private.
Walking along the narrow St John’s Court we came to a beautifully carved cross in the churchyard. This is one of the scenes on it depicting the wool trade of the past in the town. On the way back to Oakfield we called into the small Sainsbury’s for a few things.
Saturday, 23 May 2015
The Heron was watching for fish and kept taking off to move along right in front of Oakfield enabling me to get these lovely action shots.
We could see a shy cow peeping out behind a stile, then the White Horse came into view up on the hillside.
There were a couple of moorings right outside The Barge Inn at Honeystreet so we quickly took them. After a long hot days cruise we sat in the garden with a cooling well deserved pint, perfick. The next day it rained all day and the pub was busy in the evening. Every now and then smokers came outside to chat and cough, then all was quiet again for a while!. I think someone was living in this orange lifeboat, it must be hot in there as there seems to be a lack of windows!
Friday, 22 May 2015
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.