Monday, 21 July 2008

Return to Reading Gaol

After a quiet Saturday afternoon (we were both exhausted after 3 days on the trot with early starts and lots of locks!) we walked into Theale for Church at 10am Sunday. A large church with good choir and organist but very small congregation. At coffee afterwards one of the ladies gave us a present of 1/2 a dozen of her eggs she was selling.

Shortly after our return to Petroc, Strathmore appeared. They had been on the go since 7 but due to failure of the swing bridge at Woolhampton they had to sit for almost a couple of hours in the tail of the lock whilst BW came out to fix it.

After having the on board for coffee we walked the 1/2 mile or so south from the canal to the Fox & Hounds at Sheffield. The food was excellent and we couldn't understand why they were not packed out.

Monday morning we set off at 8am in company with Strathmore for the trip to Reading. It was a beautiful, mostly sunny, morning but in the patches of shade the wind was still chilly (only the middle of July!).
At Fobney lock we caught up with another boat, but both this lock and the next, County Lock, are large and all three of us fitted in. Quite a flow in the water now, but compared to what it can be, it is docile............

Three in a lock

The end of a two month sojourn

We came out last as we were planning to stay in Reading. The run through the centre (you pass through the middle of the big shopping centre) is interesting but one cannot stop because of the strong current.

Slightly further on we turned left into the small loop and moored adjacent to Reading Gaol, almost exactly where we had moored on our entry nearly two months ago.

Moored by Reading Gaol

We left here on 24th May and since then have travelled 188 miles, done 216 locks and negotiated numerous swing and lifting bridges. We can thoroughly recommend the K&A to anyone, there are some lovely places to visit and explore. We had no trouble finding moorings in most places, although it is more difficult to find suitable places in the open fields. We also found in some places that the 48 hours moorings were taken up with quite obvious long term overstayers. The worst place for this is Pewsey.

So tomorrow brings pastures new as we set off down the Thames. The forecast is good for the week so we hope the Thames stays nice and docile. We heard from Piston Broke that they had wanted to go down earlier on but the river was running too fast so they were stuck in Abingdon for 3 weeks. If one has to be stuck anywhere Abingdon is one of the nicer places to do it. After a while though, however nice a pace is, one gets itchy feet to move on.

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