Sunday, 29 August 2010

More Problems.

After a walk round Newbury on Thursday morning we set of to the first lock. As we arrived it was filling up with young people in kayaks. While waiting another narrow boat arrived, so when the lock was empty we locked through with them, the lady, being new to boating didn't think the lock was wide enough for two boats. As the lock was filling Marlene told me a warning light and bleep was on, when I looked at the top of the lock I found we were over heating, we moored up to allow it to cool.
Once I had topped up the system with water and anti freeze we finally left Newbury in the afternoon. The next lock up we linked up with a couple from Shefield on their boat Poppy. Traveling with them for the rest of the day we moored for the night at Kintbury.

On Friday we did the three mile and three locks to Hungerford. This is the Berkshire town where in 1987 27 year old Michael Ryan Massacred 14 people, including his mother. It is a nice town spoiled slightly by the rail bridge crossing the main street(see picture). Being Friday we found a supermarket and did some shopping.

Leaving Hungerford on Saturday we had a hard day with ten locks in five mile. It is only hard because the locks are so stiff and on most you had to empty them after you had gone up them. Three and a half hours later we found a mooring at Great Bedwyn. It was about a foot short when we tried getting in the gap, however after asking the owner of the boat Soulmates he agreed to move back slightly to let us in.
Moorings are few and far between on this canal. The banks are over grown and the water shallow at the edge, so you can't moor where you like as we do on most canals.Today being Sunday we are staying at Great Bedwyn another night, before moving on on Monday morning. Pictures are main street and the water front Hungerford.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Bad day.

We left Thatcham around 10 o clock, it was fine. After the first lock,( which was the second turf sided lock on the Kennet) it started to rain. At the following swing bridge Marlene hit something rather hard and cracked the glass in the cratch.
Leaving the swing bridge the canal got very shallow. At the next lock things got a little better, although the rain got heavier. Three hours, five locks and two swing bridges later we arrived at the boat yard in Newbury where we topped up the diesel and gas. With all the river work we have used more diesel than we do on the canals. Going against the flow costs money. We are now moored opposite the boat yard and it is still raining. On our way up here we past several trees that were blocking half the canal, in other places the reeds had reduced the canal to one boat width. Then just before Newbury a boat was half under water having been burnt out.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Shortage of Good moorings.

We have been on the kennet and Avon since Saturday and are not impressed with the canal/river. Leaving Sheffield lock on Sunday we moved up to Aldermarston to pump out, however the boat yard was closed. On Monday morning we pumped out then moved through the lift bridge and lock. Mooring at the top of the lock Marlene did some washing. The mooring was a bit shallow at the edge so we used the plank. In the middle of the afternoon we suddenly tilted to an acute angle, jumping ashore I pushed the boat back into deeper water. We then decided to move to a better mooring for the night as we didn't want to wake up at an angle.

Before we moved Stephen joined us again minus the boys. At Woolhampton lift bridge and lock there is a strong currant from the left, moving into the lock took alot of power and strong rudder movement to stop being pushed into the right bank.
The moorings at the top of the lock were full so we moored at the end of the line of boats, using the plank again. In the evening Stephen went home.

This morning Marlene and I woke early at an angle and the mattress sliding of the bed. We left around 8 o clock heading for Thatcham. at the first lock Stephen arrived and sharing the locks with another boat we moved up to Thatchem, mooring on a good mooring at 10 o clock. We are staying here tonight and should have a better night.

The locks on the kennet are strange and every one different. We have had one earth sided, two with scoloped brick sides and two or three with strong currents. All are quite deep andeither have ground paddles or gate paddles, never both. The ones with gate paddles are the worst as they create strong flows until half full. we are told things get better after Newbury, lets hope it's true.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Kennet and Avon.

On Wednesday we moored at Maidenhead at a cost of £8. Had to stop there because of na tree blocking the exit to Boulter lock. I was on my own with the boys as Stephen rode to his flat. Our mooring on Thursday was at Marlow, where Marlene re-joined us. we were lucky to get a mooring, some one was leaving as we arrived. After tea Marlene and I had a night at the pub.

Moving on on Friday we went through Henley on Thames, Taking the classic photo of the bridge and the Angel Inn. Mooring at Wargrave Marlene me and the boys walked into the village but not much there. Today we finally arrived at the Kennet and Avon Canal. After replenishing supplies at Tesco we went through Reading, through the Oracle. Our mooring tonight is at Theale swing bridge, the first decent mooring on the Kennet.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Royal Windsor.

On Sunday we traveled past Sunbury and Walton on Thames finally mooring just before Chertsey. The mooring was on a grassy embankment. In the evening the boys collected blackberries and played cricket, while Marlene and I went for a walk joined by Max who ran to catch us up. While on our walk we picked even more blackberries.

First thing Monday morning we carried on as far as Staines, here Marlene caught a train to Grantham to accompany Pamela on her appointment at Peterborough Hospital. Stephen,me and the boys moved on to a mooring near Runnymede and walked up to the RAF memorial at the top of the hill. This morning after the boys had played in the near by park we left heading for Windsor. on the way Stephen took the helm while I did some washing. we were past by a large hotel boat. We seem to be attracting large boats at the moment, having locked through three locks with one on Monday. We reached Windsor at lunch time mooring on the Eton side of the river. This is the first time we have had to pay for mooring,but only six pound so not too bad. on the Windsor side is a big wheel.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

On a Rising Tide.

Since my last posting we have had a day out in London. A usual when I visit the capital I end up shattered. Taking the train from Brentford then the tube to the Natural History Museum. August is probably the wrong time to do this, however once we got in it was a very interesting day, that was Thursday.

On Friday morning Marlene did a large load of washing on the boat, then we did another load including bedding at the laundrette. We were waiting for the 4-15 tide so we could move up the Thames to Teddington which is as high as the tide goes. At 3-30 we dropped down Brentford lock and down to Thames Lock ready to go. On time we entered the lock with the NB Pendragon. The people had done the trip before, so once the lower gates opened we followed them on to the Thames on a rising tide. An hour later we were at Teddington Lock five mile up river. When we had moored up I went to buy a Licence. Due to the highest tide of the year we were unable to cross the lock to the office for the next 40mins.Once legal again we moved on to Kingston upon Thames where we moored for the Night.

This morning Marlene and I took a look round Kingston, then we slipped our moorings and did the short hop to Hampton Court Palace. Taking the last mooring we moored and had lunch. This afternoon we took a look round the grounds. Later Marlene and the boys went in the Maze. They had not been in long when the heavens opened. Outside the maze Stephen and I shelltered under umberelles, it was so heavy for so long every one of us ended up very wet. Can't beat a good English August day.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Nearly at the Thames.

We set off on Monday with Dave, Tracey and family, this would be there last day cruising. At Casssio Bridge lock they stopped for water at the top of the lock and we stopped to pump out and top up the diesel at Bridgewater Boats at the bottom of the lock. This done we all set off for Springwell Lock where they were leaving the boat. Mid-afternoon we moved on to a night mooring below the next lock.

on Tuesday we moved on to Bulls Bridge where once again we went shopping. We had intended to go into London from here on Wednesday morning, however I didn't fancy leaving the boat in that area. So on this morning we carried on to Brentford Lock where we are now moored for the night, right under the flight path for Heathrow. Tomorrow we are going into London then on Friday we will do the tidal section of the Thames. Pictures at Brentford Lock.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

boats blocking the canal.

Leaving Cosgrove we started the trip round Milton Keynes, it is a green city as advertised. Part way round we came across a boat blocking the canal. We put Stephen on board and got it to the side using the pole. Making it secure we continued on our way. It is about 13 mile round the city. Mooring for the night we discovered the tent pole had broken, so all six of us had to sleep in the boat (two had been sleeping in a small tent)a bit crowded.

On Thursday morning we stopped in Layton Buzzzard where we shopped at Tesco and bought a new tent from Argos. Today we came across another boat blocking the canal, after getting that secure we nearly lost Stephens bike of the top due to low tree branches. Moored for the night just past Church lock. A good few locks on Friday which was a house keeping day. Finally we moored at Marsworth junction. Along the way we met Dave, Tracy and family who we locked with. On Saturday we still traveling with Dave ,Tracy and family we did 20 locks in ten and a half miles, mooring for the night at Winkwell where the kids went Kayaking.

On Sunday we did 16 locks in six and a half mile through Hemel Hempstead. Mooring at bridge 74. More kayaking for the kids,a sunny evening with a bottle of red wine for me and some white for Marlene.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Two Tunnels.

Friday found us moored at Hawksbury junction again,we went for a drink at the Greyhound Inn at lunch time, to find out about taxi's for picking up the boys from Bedworth station. At 21-35 I got in the taxi and went to collect them. This done and Stephen following on the bike we returned to the boat.

Next morning after watering up we left on our journey south. Traveling for six hours we moored for the night at at the top of Hillmorton Locks. These locks are still narrow locks but have two chambers side by side. Moving on on Sunday we came to Brounston Locks, six locks rising 35ft 6 ins. Following them we arrived at our first big tunnel. Brounston Tunnel is a two way tunnel 2042yds long. Having completed this we moored at Norton Junction.

Day three we descended the seven locks of the Buckby flight dropping 63ft. On through Weedon we finally moored for the night across from the Wharf pub at Bugworth. Today we went through Gayton Junction, then on to our second tunnel at Blissworth. This tunnel is3057yds long and is also two way traffic. Emerging from the tunnel we arrived at Stke Bruerne, where we moored for a look round and lunch. This afternoon we descended the Stoke Bruerne flight a further drop of 40ft in seven locks. Tonight we are moored at Cosgrove just outside Milton Keynes. Pictures are of Stoke Bruerne.