Monday, 30 September 2013


Map Reference SU 38419 67142

Distance 5.1 miles

Total 147 locks 6 Tunnels

Running total mileage 150.2 Miles

Now breaking new ground on the Kennet And Avon Canal having moved on from Newbury to Kintbury, about halfway between Newbury and Hungerford. The scenery has been very attractive the only minor grumble would be that there are very limited places to moor on this section of the canal since the towpath is quite overgrown and the canal can be shallow in places. 

It has been a fairly quiet day on the canal, we only met one boat all morning, to such a degree that I felt fairly safe taking lunch on Lock Moorings, not exactly ethical but we didn’t ionconvenience anyone. After lunch the canal got a bit busier, although all of the traffic was travelling in the opposite direction to us which meant the locks were set right for us when we reached them. Would expect to pass through Hungerford tomorrow but not sure where we will moor for the night, whether it will be in Hungerford or beyond.

Sunday, 29 September 2013


Map Reference SU 47852 67324
Distance 6.8 Miles
Total 139 Locks 6 Tunnels

Well we are now back on the cut having returned from our walking and sailing break. My sailing around the Ionian was interrupted by unseasonal weather on the Monday during which the wind whipped up to 35 knots which was rather unpleasant so it is good to be back on a far more placid narrow boat gently chugging up the cut. We are currently back at Newbury, which is the location that we previously reached prior to returning to Frouds Marina near to  Aldermaston. We will now be pressing along the Kennet and Avon towards our destination of Bristol but at the moment uncertain when we will reach it, probably towards the end of next month. Once past Newbury it will be good to be purely on the canal rather than the canal/river mix we have had so far since we have been going against the river current making progress particularly slow. It is not that I’m in any rush, it is just that it is particularly slow.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Back to Aldermaston

Map Reference SU 58939 66437

Distance 14.9Miles

Total 130 Locks 6 Tunnels

Once again a bit of a quiet spell so combining several days cruising into one blog. Travelled from Aldermaston to Woolhampton to leave the boat for a day for a day trip to Bristol to visit daughter and collect some essential belongings (this was all on Monday). Tuesday to Wednesday saw us get as far as Newbury before winding (turning around!) and returning back to just outside of Aldermaston where we shall be remaining for a couple of weeks (break from cruising).

It seems that the wonderful autumn weather that we have been experiencing so far has broken as whilst I’m sitting writing this the rain is beating down on the narrow-boat roof, hope it isn’t going to keep us awake tonight.

Saturday, 7 September 2013


Map Reference SU 59957 67152

Distance 6.4 Miles

Total 120 Locks 6 Tunnels

Making fairly slow progress along the Kennet and Avon (even by our standards!) but this is partly due to the slowness of the locks as they are broad locks so take twice as long to fill, not assisted by the fact that some of them leak quite badly. Over 2 days now we have got from Burghfield to Aldermaston. Picked a bad day to do Aldermaston since Saturday is the changeover day for the hire fleet based there and there were a few crews of limited experience making their first moves on the canal this afternoon, and at Aldermaston their first ‘practice run’ involves a powered lift bridge over a main road immediately followed by a lock. It made it interesting going through Aldermaston Wharf but one or two didn’t look as though they were enjoying it as much as they should have been

Thursday, 5 September 2013


Map Reference SU 67992 70771

Distance 3.6 Miles

Total 112 Locks 6 Tunnels

After a peaceful night in the shadow of the, soon to be closed, Reading Gaol, we have moved on to Burghfield which is just a short hop along the Kennet and Avon Canal. It is different to be back on the canal again after a week on the River Thames as there is much more resistance to forward motion on the canals as compared to the river.

 Passing through Fobney Lock proved to be something of a challenge since the purified water being returned to the River Kennet is discharged from the water treatment works at the lock landing stage which makes unloading the crew to operate the lock somewhat difficult. The first attempt nearly ended in disaster as I stepped off the narrowboat onto the landing stage with a mooring rope in hand but due to the force of the water coming in from the treatment works was unable to bring the boat alongside as it was being pushed sideways and backwards. The ‘near disaster’ occurred as the stern of the boat caught the landing stage and trapped the rudder against it with the risk of breaking it off altogether! Managed to get back on the boat and power it forwards to take the pressure off the rudder so ultimately no harm done. The boat that came behind me as I returned for a second (successful) attempt at landing advised me that this was a particularly challenging lock, don’t think I would disagree with that!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

From the Thames onto the Kennet and Avon Canal

Map Reference SU 72061 73390

Distance 13Miles

Total 109 Locks 6 Tunnels

This account again covering two days of travel from Cleeve Lock on the Thames onto the Kennet and Avon Canal where we are now moored on the Reading Gaol loop, literally in the shadow of Reading Gaol. It is something of a business area so hoping for a reasonably quiet night, if so may stay for more than one night, if not we’ll move on tomorrow out of Reading.

Only real point of interest here was being moored behind a Humber keel called ‘Daybreak’ whilst we were at Pangbourne last night. Looks a fairly sound sea-going vessel and the owner was intending to take it under sail along the next pound to Mapledurham Lock, would have been quite a sight under full sail however when we left Pangbourne the owner was still out sailing in his dinghy and there was very little wind, and what wind there was would have been directly against him. Point of interest to me was that when the keel was operating commercially from Hull to Doncaster in the South Yorkshire Navigation, my own grandfather was operating commercially on the same waterways so would have undoubtedly have seen this boat regularly.