Friday, 28 June 2013

Bristol, in the wind.

A lazy start this morning.  We could not progress past Hanham lock until the lock keeper at Netham lock had been consulted.  Due to the tide, our passage down this section and into Bristol could not commence until 1300 at Hanham. So we left our mooring at 1130 and chugged down, arriving just before 1300.  A quick phone call by Ian to Netham Lockkeeper and we were ok to go, arriving about 1345.

This is a very benign section.  The tide only really impacts when it is high.  Today it was not, and so after dishing out the dosh, collecting our guides and having a natter with the very helpful lock keeper, we were off into the harbour.

Our mooring last night

You really would not know you were on water in any way affected by tides at this time of year.  In fact the Kennet flowed considerably faster by some margin. Ian and Helen led the way, and we followed. The approach, as with so many urban areas, progresses through light industrial areas and then into the more residential and leisure areas.  The once mighty hub of commerce that was the docks is now given over to pleasure and leisure, with only the remnants of industrial buildings evidence of it's past, interspersed with new development.  I may be somewhat partisan, but Liverpool still has the edge over Bristol I am afraid.

Passing under Temple Meads and then under the somewhat vertically challenged Redhill bridge, we entered what to me was the old harbour proper. We moved from a gentle breeze, to suddenly gale force winds and what Ali called "waves".  It was blowing a hooley, but we pressed on  doing an anti clockwise tour of the dock area, eventually entering  Cumberland basin, were after a glimpse of the Clifton suspension bridge, we turned around.  We then stopped at the Harbour masters offices at the extreme west of the docks, and purchased some cards in order to extract electricity.

Twas then the fun began......

We were advised by the lock keeper and by Doug and James, and others, to head for the floating pontoon nearly opposite the SS Great Britain. Ian and Helen we could see had already moored up to the entrance of this small inlet, on a pontoon. As we approached, the only space I could see was at the back of the inlet and battling the now gale force winds I managed to reverse in and semi secure to a very short pontoon. (Ali here - I have to say with the wind and the angle John had to negotiate to pass the bows of moored boats, even I was impressed and so was the Harbour Master).

It seemed no sooner had the adrenalin rush subsided, than one of the many " Harbour masters/mistresses" approached and asked us if we would consider moving to the inlet I think is called the Amolfini Quay. This is lined with bars and is extremely noisy, so I declined the offer, but said I would move if she would indemnify me from any damage caused to other craft if blown into them due to the prevailing conditions. We stayed put!  It is a nice quiet mooring so we are well happy.  Ian & Helen however, did battle to wind again to moor on the pontoon at the side of us as they had moored on a 'ferry' pontoon.  Selfishly this has helped us as we have tied the bows together which has given us some stability.

Tonight after another natter to Ian and Helen over a cuppa, Ali and I walked around the cathedral quarter and thence to The Old Pump House, were we partook of a little sustenance and liquid refreshment.

Brilliant day.  Sorry to Ali if at times she felt a little sea sick! (Me again - yes I did, however it was worth it!)

The harbour by night

Miles 10
Locks 3


  1. Hi, have a great time in Bristol - we moored on the pontoon next to the ferry 2 years ago and had an absolutely great time - the best city moorings anywhere!

  2. Hi Both

    You seem to be mooring in the same places we did!! Enjoy Brizzle.

  3. Think my pink Lifejacket would have been on and Daves blue one as well we are in Bathampton watching the stag and hen parties go rushing by

  4. Hi Paul and I didn't realise canal boating was an extreme sport for adrenaline junkies, enjoy!

  5. Yep, it was on a par with the bungee jumping from the crane over the harbour we saw on Saturday! x


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