Saturday, 29 March 2014

Bradford on Avon (for the last time)

Map reference  ST 82482 60386
Distance 8.3 miles
Total 262 Locks 7 Tunnels
Running total mileage 422.4 miles

After a week’s break in Torquay we are now all prepared to travel back up the canal, starting on Monday. My son and his family brought us back to the boat and to thank them for the lift we took them for a trip up the canal from Avoncliffe aqueduct to Dundas aqueduct and back. It bucketed with rain as we got back to the boat but fortunately cleared for the outward journey to Dundas so they had a pleasant view of the canal system. The rain came on again for the return trip but I think that they all still enjoyed the trip.

 At the moment it seems that the limiting factor on how far up the canal we will be able to get is the flood state of the River Kennet which is currently making Newbury impassable by boat, the Thames however is improving all the time with only about 8 ‘red’ boards still displayed, hopefully they will all have gone by the time we get there.

With our final stop in Bradford on Avon we have stocked up with food so should last for a few days before needing to re-stock, so Monday it will be on towards Devizes and the Caen Hill flight.  

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Bath (for the last time!!)

Map reference  ST 75919 65586
Distance 9.5 miles
Total 262 Locks 7 Tunnels
Running total mileage 414.1 miles

So here we are after a winter on and around the Bath/Bradford on Avon section of the good old Kennet and Avon Canal, tomorrow we leave Bath for the last time and head east back towards Reading and London. The ‘red’ boards on the Thames are starting to come down and hopefully the same will start to happen with the river Kennet which still remains in flood but it will be a couple of weeks or so before we reach there so that gives it some time for the flood to reduce.

Spent the last visit to Bath sightseeing the places we have so far missed, the Roman baths and William Herschel’s house, so now we can say that we have well and truly ‘done’ Bath.  Now looking forward to seeing some more of the canal system.

The Roman Baths

Bridge decoration in Sydney Gardens (Sabrina Spirit of The Severn)

Another bridge decoration in Sydney Gardens (this represents Old Father Thames)

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Widbrook Wood (Bradford on Avon)

Map reference  ST 84000 59532
Distance 5.4 miles
Total 261 Locks 7 Tunnels
Running total mileage 405.6 miles

Well the Thames ‘Red’ boards are starting to come down but another problem seems to have arisen in that the River Kennet between Kintbury and Reading still seems to be in flood, despite the lack of any significant rain over the past few days. Our plans still remain to set off at about the end of the month and hope that all of the stoppages have cleared before we reach them.

The canal here is starting to get busier and I dread to think what it will be like in the middle of summer when another 50 hire boats join all of the liveaboards and other narrow-boat owners starting to come out from their marinas, I wold think that finding a mooring in Bath would be almost impossible. The plan for this week is to move on tomorrow back to Dundas overnight and then on to Bath for Monday where we have arranged a reunion with our daughter before we head off back up country.

Managed to watch the last three 6 Nations rugby matches, the only one that seemed to have an uncertain result was the France v Ireland match which was close and deservedly won by the Irish, even though that prevented England from winning the Championship, at least they have the compensation that they have beaten the team that won the title!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Dundas Approach (once again)

Map reference  ST 78561  61999
Distance 9.2 miles
Total 261 Locks 7 Tunnels
Running total mileage 400.2 miles

Well we’ve now completed over 400 miles on the narrow-boat although it’s taken nearly 3 months to add the last hundred miles to it. Looking at the weather and the forecast it is possible that we may soon be able to get on the move again.  Whilst the Thames remains ‘Red boarded’ I am starting to get optimistic that things may soon start to improve (provided the rain stays off!). Current plans are to remain where we are until Tuesday then travel back to Trowbridge for another Blood donor session then to turn around again and make towards Bath, arriving early the following week. This will hopefully be our last stop at Bath and once we leave on the Wednesday the intention will be to continue up the canal. The stoppage at Hungerford lock is due for completion on 4th April and, provided that the River Kennet levels continue to fall we should be able to get to Newbury to wait for the Thames flow to become manageable.

Only other point of interest was that I was able to watch the England v Wales 6 Nations match this afternoon, great match, brilliant result!

Interesting little fellow at the Canal side

Wednesday, 5 March 2014


Map reference  ST 89821  61047
Distance 5.5 miles
Total 260 Locks 7 Tunnels
Running total mileage 391.0 miles

So we took advantage of some non-rainy weather to come up as far as Semington to where the Wilts and Berks Canal is due to meet the Kennet and Avon Canal. No sign of much happening here at the junction but looking at the Wilts and Berks website it seems that construction is going ahead on the route with hopes that the link to Melksham will be completed by 2020.

We’ve stayed here for a couple of nights and will return towards Bradford on Avon tomorrow, took a look at Lock 19 which is under repair and is the reason that we can’t go any further at the moment, looks promising that it may be completed on time (next Tuesday) so next time we come this far we can continue towards Devizes. Unfortunately all the boards on the Thames remain on ‘Red’ so still can’t progress in that direction yet.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Bradford on Avon

Map reference  ST 82321  60416
Distance 13.1 miles
Total 259 Locks 7 Tunnels
Running total mileage 385.5 miles

Well here we are, back at Bradford on Avon again, still waiting for the rivers at the Reading end of the canal to abate. At the moment all the boards on the Thames are still on ‘Red’ so we will be going nowhere anytime soon. As stated in the previous post we are now starting to get a bit impatient to be moving again although there are other blockages besides the Thames being closed to us at the moment. The Seend flight of locks are due to be closed from 4th to 11th March and Hungerford lock repairs are not due for completion before 4th April so we are going to remain ‘trapped’ at this end of the canal for a while. 

On the plus side, at least this end of the canal has been a bit resilient to the rain we have had which has enabled us to move within the limited range of about 15 miles, had we been at the Reading end of the canal we would have been static since the rains came (back in December!!!) and would have either gone insane by now or abandoned the boat in a marina somewhere. Not much more to report until we are able to start moving, just keep watching those Thames warning boards, when the ‘Red’ changes we will be off!