Monday, 28 October 2013

Bath

Map reference  ST 75937  65644
     
Distance 4.5 miles

Total 210 Locks 7 Tunnels

Running total mileage 198.6 miles

Here we are, moored on the outskirts of Bath, ostensibly to wait for the forecasted ‘storm’ to pass over before continuing our journey to Bristol. The ‘storm’ passed over last night and, for all its hype, was a bit of a damp squib here in Bath.  It got a bit windy for a while overnight but I can’t even say that it kept me awake (although a fine bottle of red wine may have assisted sleep).

The one thing that the passing weather has done however is raise the river levels of the Avon above what I would take a narrow-boat out into. The current seems to be between 3 and 5 knots which would make controlling the boat a bit of a problem, and turning under control almost impossible. The current plan is to move further along to the 48 hour moorings above Bath Top Lock to see if the river levels fall over the next few days, if not then we will turn around and head back towards Bradford on Avon to cruise the canal whilst the weather settles down. At some point we WILL get to Bristol, it might be just not yet!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Dundas Aqueduct



Map reference  ST 78562  62501
      
Distance 3.2 miles

Total 210 Locks 7 Tunnels

Running total mileage 194.1

Well during our week’s mooring at Avoncliff we left the boat to complete our Cotswold Way walk from Chipping Campden to Bath. This last section was from Stroud to Bath which we completed at a, fairly leisurely pace, in 6 days. For the time of year the weather held up reasonably well (better than the first half of the walk in March in which it snowed and was generally pretty dire. The Cotswold way is a fairly challenging 102 mile National Trail but has some pretty good scenery en route (when it isn’t snowing or rainng!!).
We are now back onto the boat moored at Dundas Aqueduct and slowly making our way towards Bath although watching the weather forecasts carefully since a severe storm is forecasted for next week and I’d rather be on a Canal when it hits than on the River Avon which could cause us problems if it goes into flood. 

                                             The famous Crescent at Bath

                                                The end of The Cotswold Way

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Bradford on Avon



Map reference  ST 81199  60218
       
Distance 6.1 miles

Total 210 Locks 7 Tunnels

Running total mileage 190.9

We have now moved on from Semington to (and through) Bradford on Avon and on towards the Avoncliff Aqueduct, currently moored on the 14 day mooring before the Cross Guns public house. Bradford is a pleasant two built using the same stone that is used in Bath. It's claim to fame in recent years is that it is where the iconic 'Moulton' cycles are made.

 Whilst at Bradford on Avon undertook a bit of maintenance on the boat, checking the water trap in the fuel line (fortunately clear) and servicing the air filter. This should have been just cleaned out and re-oiled however when the old filter was put into a cleaning solvent it disintegrated and so had to be replace. I suspect that it wasn’t doing much of a job of filtering the air entering the engine since the element was rattling about loose inside its housing which would suggest that air would just pass through without going through the filter element. Changing the filter does seem to have made the engine smoke slightly more than previously, hoping it will clear as the filter settles down.

Not sure how long we will be staying here at Avoncliff but when we do move off the next stop will be Bath.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Semington



Map reference  ST 89877  61044
        
Distance 2.1 miles

Total 209 Locks 7 Tunnels

Running total mileage 184.8

Today has been just a short hop because of inclement weather, and the fact that I wanted to watch the Japanese Grand Prix on I-Player. The distance is just over 2 miles but with 4 Locks it took over an hour to get here in miserable rain which started almost as soon as we set of from Seend wharf. We are now at Semington  which according to my canal map is where the Wilts and Berks canal currently under restoration will join with the Kennet and Avon, hope that I’m still on the Canal system when that happens for the opportunity to explore another section of canal.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, it should be onto either Hilperton, near to Ttowbridge or possibly Bradford on Avon, even if raining it will involve a move somewhere since the morrings that we are currently on have a 24 hour limit.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Seend Wharf



Map reference  ST 93161  61399
         
Distance 4.5 miles

Total 205 Locks 7 Tunnels

Running total mileage 183.7

You may notice a significant increase in the number of locks completed since the last posting, this is accounted for by the prodigious number at the Caen Hill flight that we have now completed. It wasn’t too bad actually even though we had to pass through with the ‘worst’ possible conditions in that we were the only boat travelling so we had to operate the locks on our own (but with a very capable Canal & River Trust volunteer to assist) rather than buddies up with another boat (and crew!). All of the locks were against us since the last boat through had also gone down the flight and just to add a little frisson it was pretty windy. Despite all of the above we still managed to complete the flight in about 4 hours with another 1½ hours to cover the remaining locks beyond the flight. All in all quite a pleasant experience. 

We are now moored at Seend Wharf opposite The Barge public house and have just enjoyed a pleasant lunch at the pub whilst meeting with my sister and her husband.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Avebury and Silbury Hill



Map reference  SU 00448  61832
          
Distance 0 miles

Total 173 Locks 7 Tunnels

Running total mileage 179.2

Today was a day off from Narrow-boating for a trip to Avebury, and a fascinating trip it was. Unlike the more famous Stonehenge which seems to have been fully sanitised in that you walk around the boundary fence dutifully admiring the stones, at Avebury, a far bigger construction, you actually walk among the stones. This give a far greater feel for the size of them and the enormity of the task of constructing them into a circle given the limited tools that were available at the time (4,400 years ago). The full walk that we made encompassed the Avebury stone circle, Overton Hill barrows (not quite so impressive, West Kennet barrow (which WAS impressive and more than made up for the disappointment of Overton Hill) and finally Silbury Hill alongside the A4 road. This looks like one of the old coal mining slag  heaps but the work that would have gone into building it almost defies belief, again given the limited tools that were available. It seems amazing that during this period (over 4000 years ago) throughout the world different cultures were all apparently pointlessly moving massive stones around, Egypt with the pyramids, France with the standing stones at Carnac and here in the UK at Stonehenge and Avebury, what WAS going on!


 Also included in the walk, as a sort of by-product was a stroll along part of The Ridgeway National Trail (OK only about  1 mile of it out of the 87 available miles).  Hope to return later to complete the other 86 miles.

Tomorrow will be a chance to look around Devizes before moving on by Friday towards Seend taking in the impressive Caen Hill Flight.