Friday, 27 June 2008

Return to Bath

Since we wanted to be back in Bath for the weekend we decided to have a really early start on Friday morning. We had ascertained that Netham lock would be open from about 7.30am so we set off at 6.30 and had a gentle trip up to the far end of the floating harbour before departure proper. We passed another good place to moor with plenty of space. It would have been much quieter but further from the centre and far more importantly no close park for Ellie!!

Far end of Floating Harbour

We went almost as far as the lock at the far end which gives entry back onto the Avon and thence the Severn. This is the route we would have taken had we decided to brave the Bristol Channel. We met a couple of boats on the way who were planning to do this. One was making his own way to Portishead and then picking up a pilot (compulsory), the current cost of this being £160. He hadn't found anyone to accompany him when we met him so he would have to pay the full price himself. Someone else who was delivering a boat was picking up a pilot to Portishead (£100) and then another to Sharpness (£160). He wasn't bothered about the cost as the new owner was paying!!

We passed through Netham lock at 7.30am. Both gates were open as it had been on our trip down. Apparently this is it's normal position except on spring tides and if the Avon is very high. The lock keeper told us that this is the only flood defence for Bristol, if the Avon becomes too high the lock is shut.

Approaching one of the river locks, note the weir!

The trip back was straightforward but long. We reached the top of Bath at 4pm after negotiating 13 locks. We had only passed two boats going in the other direction and no-one to share the locks with going our way. At one stage we picked up a motor boat just ahead of us and hopes were raised, but they stopped before the lock so we remained alone.

One of the bridges en route

Most of the river locks going up were quite gentle as they are very long and much wider than the double locks on the canal. The Bath 6 however needed more care as their filling action seems to differ from lock to lock and I do dislike being thrown around! The deep lock on entry seemed innocuous enough, albeit I had to climb on the roof to attach a line to the sliding poles. However once filling it was quite exciting and not to my taste at all.

When we reached the top there was one space on the 48hr moorings( some of the moored boats looked as though they were longer stayers!), but I walked up to the next mooring place where we had been on the way down. Sure enough there was space for us so Geoff came on up.

By then we were both exhausted, Geoff should have been more so than me as he worked all the locks, but I managed to cook supper and retired to bed just after 8pm completely wiped out.
We will have to stop these long days!

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