Sunday, 31 July 2011

Outside Bradford-upon-Avon

Set off with the destination of Bradford in mind, but about a mile short of the town we saw a nice looking mooring spot, proper bank with rings and vacant.........just waiting for pulled in, hung out the washing, and sat on shore in a delightful temperature, not too hot, wide towpath so Barney was happy........what more could anyone ask for.....and they are 48 hour moorings so we shall stay over tomorrow.
1.64 miles, 0 locks, 54 minutes

Saturday, 30 July 2011


Hilperton probably means little to anyone as a place name, but it is really on outlying suburb of Trowbridge......
Below bottom lock at Seend Cleeve
We left our secluded and peaceful mooring just before 9am with the first destination of Semington in mind.  We had arranged to wait here for friends Alan & Karen.  They were en route to Gatwick and had never seen Petroc so it seemed a good opportunity to put that to rights and to have a catch up.

Some of the sign posts en route were very new and smart.
Our own bit of dual carriageway on a small aqueduct
Quite a new aqueduct over the newish A350
Alan had brought his bike so after coffee we set off again with the possible destination of Hilperton in mind.  Our book showed 2 mooring places there so we thought we should be OK.
Alan had fun steering Petroc for most of the way whilst Karen and I were able to sit up in the cratch and watch the world go by very slowly(and gossip!!)  After lunch on board Alan cycled back to collect their car and they continued their journey to hotter climes.........mind you it cleared up very nicely today and I am not complaining about the temperature here........just the mooring!!!!
The mooring is not a patch on last nights, rough bank and we can't even get the bows in, never mind the stern.  It is also a very narrow towpath which is very busy with cyclists so Barney cannot lie out and he is not pleased.   Admittedly it is the same towpath we have had for the past few nights, busy with cyclists, but the grass area has not been so narrow............plenty of room for Barney to lie safely.   Some of the cyclists go far too fast (in my opinion).  Geoff did a recce this evening and it seems we are in the best place hereabouts (all things are relative)  Anyway the result is we shall move on tomorrow to Bradford-upon-Avon and not stay over as we normally do for the weekend.  
4.25 miles, 2 locks, 2hrs 43 min(in two stages)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Still at Seend Cleeve

No, we have not exceeded our permitted 24 hour stay, well only by a few hours, not overnight.
We were expecting visitors for the day, Mary and Ivan, who duly arrived at coffee time.  Sadly the weather of yesterday was not repeated and we had several showers of fine rain, so no sitting out leisurely watching the world go by.  At one point as a shower started I went to close our swan doors but couldn't....the water had dropped a good foot.  There didn't seem to be any reason for this, at times it rose a little but generally stayed low for the rest of the day.  It did not seem to be linked to the rising and falling in the locks.
Geoff had to get out all 3 of our hoses to reach the water point but though we might as well fill up before we left.  Since there is not a sign saying 'water point only' boats use the space for general mooring.  There is also a pump out and elsan here and that is positioned adjacent to the lock moorings. The fellows needless to say had a pint in the pub at lunchtime.  After lunch we moved down 2 locks to the moorings just after the bottom lock.  Geoff bravely let Ivan loose with a winch handle, last time when he helped us up Tardebigge he managed to drop one in the canal!!.  There are 24 hour mooring here also, space for 2/3 boats. They don't seem over popular but are in a lovely peaceful spot and still well within walking distance of the pub.
We had booked an earlyish supper there at the Barge Inn and had an excellent meal at a reasonable price.
0.33 miles, 2 locks, 32 min   (Big Trip!)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Seend Cleeve

Geoff did a walk up to the village this morning and came back via Seend Cleeve to check if there was space on the moorings......there was so on his return we set off.  By this time (10am) it was getting hotter. I don't seem to do well in excessive heat so wanted to be finished before the 'mid day sun'.
Beautiful morning
There was plenty of room below the 3rd lock so objective was achieved
The rest of the day was spent trying to keep cool (I know we shouldn't really complain about good weather) and also watching the various antics of the passing boats.  This included one hire boat, smaller than us, who tried to turn in front of the Barge Inn.  Despite several attempts he failed..........
Thoughts of an evening drink at the pub fell by the wayside as we were too lethargic, but Pimms on board were just as good.  The pub is very popular but was not rowdy and we were moored at the far end not directly in front so we were OK.
1.2miles, 1hr 11 min, 3 locks

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Caen Flight

Yesterday we met John and Sandra on a hire boat who were planning an early departure for the flight so decided to team up.   They had their 12 year old grand daughter twins, Laura and Rebecca staying so plenty of crew.  In fact the girls played a blinder rushing round doing paddles and gates.
We watered early (far too early in my opinion as I didn't really recover from my rude awakening all day)
We then went up to the start of the locks to wait for Serenity the hire boat.  Eventually set off about 8am on a fine and beautiful morning.  
What better day could we have asked for
Bottom of the main flight of 16
Just 7 more locks to go now and it was getting very hot which I don't find ideal.   However we were doing well time wise.  We had met 1 pair of boats and 3 singles on the way up, not exactly busy.
Some of the upper lock gates on the earlier locks were leaking badly
We managed to find a space to moor at Sells Green and after lunch crashed out exhausted.   I was disturbed from a wonderful sleep by the chap on the boat in front who knocked on the side to ask what time we were planning to move on tomorrow...Grrrrrrrr......needless to say Geoff did not hear him!!
The next to disturb me was Geoff who wanted to move back a bit to see if we could get a satellite signal, we couldn't so it was revert to original now I decided to call it quits and get up.......
Later we were hailed by the solitary diner from the restaurant last night.   Steve had just moved into a house in Sells Green and came bearing a gift of apricots from his garden so he was invited aboard for a tea and chat.....pleasant interlude.
3.49 miles, 29 locks 5 hours

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Layover in Devizes.

Out early for my hair appointment, and then Geoff went seeking the same treatment so we have both been shorn.....
Another wander round this very pleasant market town and after lunch some more painting for me.   I have inveigled  Geoff into rubbing down some of the bad bits on our blue paint and treating with Kurust, ready for me to do the painting....he only grumbles a that was my afternoon job.
In the evening we tried one of the Indian restaurants.  We had a very good meal but mostly all alone which I find a little unnerving.  Just before we left one solitary man came in but otherwise we had the personal attention of all the staff........they told us they had been very busy the previous two days.......

Monday, 25 July 2011


Departed early so the Barge Inn looks peaceful.........normally a seething mass
Just after the pub there is a long.................................long line of what look like permanent moorers, or do I mean non-continuous cruisers...........the first few of which are on 24 hour moorings.
Makes for very slow going
Interested to know what they kept in the kennel affair
There are several very narrow passages due to the reeds
Enlarge this one and you can see that sod's law prevailed again

We passed a strange looking back door
and a nice welcome to Devizes
As we reached Devizes a boat very conveniently pulled out of the end of the mooring so we slid gently in.   Geoff had a look further up as there was space but decided this was closest to the shops and also had a line of sight for the satellite.......
Moorings here are 72 hours which is very convenient, although we shall probably only stay 48hrs and move down the flight on Wednesday.
Since we were here early I set off for an explore of the town and to find a hairdresser as my hair is beginning to feel heavy!!  Eventually managed to make an appointment for the next day.
Whilst Geoff was siestering I managed to paint the gunnels down one side so felt very virtuous.
The mooring is extremely pleasant as we can watch all the activity going on in the basin here.
7.81 miles, 0 locks, 3hrs 24 minutes.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Sunday at Honey Street

This morning Geoff decided to take Barney and see if he could reach the White Horse.........he was defeated by the barbed wire......
He visited the tiny church of Alton Barnes, no service here until this evening.
He also found an RAF connection
Just after 12 our guests arrived, Anne & Keith Hall with two friends of theirs Jan and John.   After pre lunch drinks on Petroc we repaired to the pub for lunch.  It was once again very busy and a fairish wait for our food but it was worth the wait as it was delicious.

Whilst whiling away the rest of the afternoon sitting in the sun we saw a delightful wooden launch pass by, so nice to see a well kept boat in these parts........we seem to be in an area of very scruffy liveaboard boats.........
During this time Petroc was rammed by a canoe (with it's pointed end), skippered (I use the term loosely) by a rather drunken lady.  I was leaning out of the side doors as she went past but there was no apology, just averted her eyes as she went past me.......
Nevertheless it was a very pleasant Sunday in good company........
Onward tomorrow, probably to Devizes unless we find a very good mooring just before.   The chances of this are not great as we don't seem to be able to find any of our nice moorings out in the open away from everything, at least not where we can get into the bank easily.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Scraping over the Summit

Another catch up as my 3 mobile broadband signal is not at all good along this stretch. 

Literally scraping the bottom.    Everything looked fine when we departed for Crofton Lock on Friday morning but the trouble started as soon as we left the lock.  The water levels were considerably down and we crawled to the next lock, debated calling BW but Geoff let some water down from the following lock and it made a slight difference but by the third lock we were just looking for the phone number to call BW when miraculously a man in blue top appeared.
We waited half an hour for him to try and rectify the problem and when he came back the water levels had risen slightly.  So we carried on with the warning that the summit pound was still quite shallow....
We actually then shared two locks with another boat....hooray!
A diddy little boat called TITANIC 2

This shows how much the water was down.
.he was not was a tedious slow passage and we nearly called it quits at the entrance to the Bruce tunnel as we had great difficulty getting in.  However we persevered at snails pace and of course sods law operated......we saw a boat approaching from the other end.  Whilst in normal circumstances we could have passed quite happily we did not want to risk both of us being wedged aground in the tunnel with no phone signal!   So we hooted madly and eventually he got the message and stayed put until we were through.

Once on the other side of the tunnel, although the water was down, it was not as bad as the other side.
We went through our first 2 descending locks at Wooton and then saw a congenial mooring place just above the next lock so decided to call a halt for the day.  We even had someone to share the locks with...............can't remember the name but a live aboard who goes up and down this licence displayed!
We do pass some odd boats on the way.
4.1 miles, 4 hrs 5 min, 9 locks
Saturday we set off to find a congenial mooring as we were expecting visitors on Sunday.
Only 2 locks today and then a long pound without until we reach Devizes...and the Caen Flight.
One very leaky lock
We stopped at Pewsey for the Sani-station, but the moorings are dreadful.  There are 48 hour visitor moorings and there was one space we might have been just able to get into, but we would have been miles off the bank   There is no concession made for visitors, just a rough unfriendly bank, whilst through the bridge the permanent moorings have rings and a proper edge............there are parts of this canal that does not seem to actively encourage visiting boats........perhaps they prefer the liveaboards who cruise up and down a short stretch.......(My moan for the day)
We passed the famous White Horse.

Daleks obviously still reign in some places
When we reached Honey Street there was space on the moorings (rings and proper edge) so we decided to stop as there is a pub close by (just a little too close!).   We checked it out for a lunch time pint (1/2 for me) and booked for Sunday lunch as it looked OK.  It is obviously a very popular pub as it was heaving at lunch time and again in the evening although after the noise of the trains at Crofton it didn't bother us too much, however it is not a nice enough mooring to stop on the way back...........just hope it is OK for our Sunday lunch with visitors tomorrow......
7.41 miles, 2 locks, 3hrs 36min

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Back on the Air now at Crofton

Well 3 days with no Internet, nothing since leaving Hungerford, all of a sudden after lunch today I was connected, with no apparent reason why there was nothing in this same place all day yesterday and this morning.
So to catch up.
Moored behind us at Hungerford, a novel place to keep your spare pot plants and bicycles!
First lock of the day, Hungerford Marsh Lock with swing bridge over the centre.
A very patient barney always waits whilst Geoff crosses the lock
A  lot of restoration work has been done along the banks 
Nine locks today so was my crew getting weary?
There are some very `lived in` boats along this canal
We found a mooring just before the bridge at Great Bedwyn and Barney found a soul mate....they are both watching me intently as I am cooking!
4.61 miles, 9 locks 4 hrs 26 min
After availing ourselves of the sani-station it was after 10 before we set off, but not so far to go today far to go today. The goal was the moorings below Crofton Pumping Station.  Geoff had done an early recce and there seemed to be space for us.
At 2 of the bridges today there were these strange objects (blow up picture for better view).  Were they part of the WW2 defence system as were the numerous pill boxes?
And so to moor below the pumping station.  There was plenty of space so we moved right up away from the trees in the hopes of a satellite signal (successful!)
1.75 miles, 4 locks 1hr 43 min
For most of our journey thus far we have only shared 2 locks.   We would have been quite happy to wait the recommended 20 mins at a lock to share, but it would have been a lot longer than that.....maybe we have BO or something but there just have not been many boats around.   Today however we had decided on a layover day and this morning there have been numerous boats going both ways....sod's law or something.......
The weather over the last week has been very changeable and we have been caught in the odd shower, but luckily the worst seems to have been in the afternoon when we have finished for the day.   As I sit writing this at 1430 the heavens have just opened.  I was just in time to get in my washing, and close everything up.   I did a small amount of touch up painting to our dark blue earlier.  Geoff had very kindly (and not too willingly!) rubbed down the areas I wanted to do and applied anti rust stuff.  This he had done whilst I walked back to Great Bedwyn for milk and paper.   I had had a sleepless night...well not quite all night, but it seemed like it. so I decided that more exercise was called for......
After my return we climbed up to Crofton Pumping Station to avail ourselves of the coffee shop......they have delicious home made cakes but sadly the only one missing today was Geoff's favourite Coffee & Walnut.
Looking down on our mooring from Crofton.  You can see how close the railway is and since it is higher than the canal it is quite a strange feeling being moored so close.   There are a lot of trains both passenger and goods, the goods trains seem to go on forever.

To see the train in action click the link Train at Crofton

Croftons large chimney
Before lunch only 2 of us left
For more info about Crofton Pumping Station click the link.

Monday, 18 July 2011


We were up early (again!) this morning so reversed back to the water point.  A chilly, grey and windy it really July?
Eventually left just after 8 and through the first bridge are two lovely houses will rolling lawns.
I think if I lived here I would like a bigger boat at the bottom of my garden....
Still no company in the locks, but Geoff is filling them very slowly and gently so no major dramas.  Amazingly there were very few boats around, I think we passed 2 all morning BUT when we reach Hungerford the place we thought we wanted to moor was full.  We did attempt to get in the space you can see just behind the wide beam, but we were just too long.   So we continued through the lock and found plenty of mooring at the top which is actually much nicer and also better for Barnaby.
After coffee we decided to do the shopping and here you can see me with my multi-coloured shopping trolley which Geoff refuses to pull......can't think why.
Very useful for heavy loads
En route this morning Geoff saw his second kingfisher of the year, they seem very sparse this year.
Ducklings are more plentiful and there are still quite a few young families about.
The rain was kind to us this morning and it saved itself until after lunch  .....   and then it bucketed down, but by then we were all cosy below.
3.3 miles, 4 locks, 2hrs 30mim

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Damp weekend in Kintbury.

I have just walked back from seeing Boe off on her train back to London and as I walked back I thought what a thoroughly miserable evening it was and now I am sat below writing this and the rain is again pelting down.
Still we mustn't grumble too much as this is really the first washout of a weekend we have had for a while.
And it is not all bad, Boe has visited for the weekend so we were able to catch up with her doings, we went to the church this morning and had a good service, later we went to the Blue ball for lunch which was very good.
We had thought we would have to take down our pram cover for when the horse drawn trip boat came by, but Geoff saw them earlier on and discovered they were going the other way so that was a reprieve.   They came past just after we arrived but luckily we had not put the cover up by then.   There are notices all along asking people to keep their roof's completely clear in the day time but that is not always practical.  Some boats have heavy top boxes on and it would be quite a job to remove.
There are also numerous other notices around as shown below.
Now these are very interesting.  All of them have had the last line scratched out...what did it say???   I can only assume something like `between 8pm and 8am` maybe.  Well, most of us know that you shouldn't run your engines between those hours anyway.  It is obviously not practical as the engine has to be run to charge the battery.  In addition `residential area` is a bit far fetched.  On the offside the houses are well away from the canal and I doubt very much if they can hear the engines.  Closer to the houses are permanent moorings so I wonder what those boats do as I can see no sign of an electricity supply for them.
On the towpath side there are no houses at all, just the very adjacent busy railway line.  The trains come thundering past at many more decibels than any boat's engine.
So onward again tomorrow towards Hungerford.......forecast is not brilliant......

Friday, 15 July 2011


A very pleasant 2 day sojourn in Newbury.  We had originally thought we would be better mooring at the top of the lock but this proved to be far nicer........somewhat more public but lots going on to keep on amused...and much better access to park area for Barney.
Just up from our mooring is a water sports and youth centre and the kids were often out in force.
There were lots of swans and ducks and the inevitable families feeding them.  The only downside to this was Barney.  He was not interested in the animals, just the bread that they were being fed.........
The Kennet & Avon Trust cafe was directly opposite and we did pay them a visit on Thursday morning...they did a good line in coffee & walnut cake, Geoff's favourite.
In the evening we decided to try the cinema which is newly opened since our last visit through here 3 years ago.   I don't think either of us would recommend the film, Bridesmaids, but there were a few funny bits and we don't indulge in this habit very often.
The shopping is good here and soon will no doubt be better as they are building a new shopping complex, which is due to be completed next March...meanwhile it looks a mess.......

This morning we were off at 8 for what should have been about a 4 hour journey to Kintbury........
Under Newbury Bridge

Sign at the top of the lock
however at the 5th lock we picked up a wide beam.   He pulled out of his mooring just as we were entering the about bad timing.   It would have been OK if he had travelled at a normal speed but the water is down from the normal which does not give us a problem.   However he draws about a foot more than we do and was having big problems, only moving at all at ultra slow speed.
The culmination was when we reached Kintbury lock (having crawled from the last one at less than half a knot!) and now he couldn't get over the cill.  He was forced to reverse out and let us through.   Once through yet again there seemed to be no room at the Inn!!!  We pulled up on the watering point and I went on a recce.    When requested a very kind boat agreed to pull forward a tad and this just left us space.  So here we are for the weekend in a good spot.   Train station is adjacent which Boe plans to make use of to visit us.
5.71 miles, 8 locks, 5hrs 2min