Wednesday, 25 June 2008


We stayed in Bath until Monday morning in very pleasant surroundings, moored at the first set of meerings at the top of Bath. (Not the ones by the top lock) They were very open on the one side with views over Bath. The towpath is very busy with walkers and cyclists but as it is so wide did not cause a problem and provided lots of people who stopped to chat.
Bath was a lovely city to sight see in and much walking was done, although much more by Geoff than me. He loves to wander around cities but I tire after a while and much prefer to sit on the boat and watch the world go by!
On Sunday morning we went to Parish Communion the Bath Abbey, which had a choir full of youngsters and a reasonably large congregation. Once again several people including the vicar were very friendly, something not necessarily expected in a large church where they have a very high proportion of visitors. In fact when we went to visit the Abbey on the Saturday we found that they don't charge an admission fee but "suggest" a donation of £2.50 per person. We duly gift aided this amount and were told by the gentleman taking our money that Bath was the second richest church in the country because of the large number of visitors.......nearly asked for our money back to give to a more needy church!!
The Altar Frontal with the Vicar's matching vestments were very striking depicting water as the fount of life.
For Sunday lunch we went to The Boatmans Restaurant at Bathwick, which was about a 5 min walk from our mooring. Excellent lunch with choice of 2 or 3 courses at a reasonable price.

Daughter Boe arrived on Sunday evening. She had arrived back in UK on the Thursday morning after 3 months of travelling and she decided that a visit to Petroc would help her get over her jetlag!!

Monday we set off at 6.30 to water before doing the 6 locks down onto the Avon. Since the flow was not very strong it was gone 8 when we eventually started down. What we thought might take about an hours took nearly 2 1/2 hrs. This was due to going aground because of lack of water in one pound and a boat coming up the deep lock not checking to see if anyone was coming down and pinching the water! Since it is about 19 ft rivalling Tuel Lock on the Rochdale, which we went through last year, it took some time to empty for them and then fill again. Unlike Tuel Lane Lock this one does not have a lock-keeper.

We reached the bottom eventually and set off down the Avon with the intention of stopping close to Sainsburys to do a shop. However we couldn't find anywhere suitable to moor so that idea was shelved. There were some very pretty potential mooring spots but visiting boats were not welcome even outside one of the pubs.

We carried on down the Avon which was very benign and a pleasant run. Because we had heard of the high cost of mooring in Bristol we decided to stop short for the night as it would have been latish in the afternoon when we arrived and a waste of a night's stay. There was not a lot of choice of where to stop, although there were a couple of smallish pontoons we passed but it was not until we reached Hanham Lock that we found one that seemed congenial enough. There were also two pubs adjacent. It was OK for a night stop but we would not have wanted to linger. Ellie was not impressed as we had to walk her along the pontoon and up a slope to get to a small area of scrubby grass for her......

The two pubs were obviously very popular and full of young groups and families.....OK for a quick drink!!
We set off Tuesday morning and went through Hanham Lock where a notice told us to phone ahead to Netham Lock to check whether it was OK to proceed. We were given the go ahead and proceeded down the last 5 miles of the river. At Netham Lock we duly reported to the lock keeper to pay our money. We discovered that it is not exactly a mooring fee but rather a licence fee to be on this next stretch of water up to and including the floating dock which encompasses the whole of the Bristol Waters. It is controlled by Bristol City Council. For our length boat the charges were 327 for one day and £43.75 for 2 days. The next tier up was 7 days and when I said we wanted to stay 3 days he generously said we could have 3 for the price of 2!!!! For this we could moor anywhere we wanted he said except where it said no mooring or at the ferry stops. There are numerous small and medium ferried doing trips all around. However "anywhere we wanted" proved not to be so plentiful as we thought. We ended up on Bordeaux Quay which is where we had thought the only moorings were anyway. The lock keeper had said it was very noisy here at night as there are lots of bars and clubs but we have just had one night here and it was not too bad at all. We are in the centre of lots of activity and very close to the city. Once again it is not to Ellies liking but a five minute walk away is a small greened area, so she just has to brave the pontoon and steps several times a day.

Just before turning right to Bordeaux Quay there is a very low bridge which caught us out. As we approached we realised that we would not fit under without the satellite aerial being removed. In trying to back up whilst we did this we were caught by the wind and a lot of wellie was required to avoid bumping into boats and concrete piers!

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