Saturday, 15 June 2013

Kingfisher delight

After so long on the Thames with the lock keepers doing the majority of the work, it was quite a strenuous day yesterday working the double locks and negotiating the flow on the Kennet.  The weather was ok if a bit chilly in the morning but it did brighten up in the afternoon.  There were a number of swing bridges along the way, a couple of which caused traffic hold ups, 28 cars/lorries and 2 motorbikes at one!  The weirs adjacent to the locks also make life interesting, non more so than our destination for yesterday, Old Woolhampton Lock.

Its recommended that you prepare the lock for entry before operating the road swing bridge, this is because, the flow is in itself severe and this is compounded by the river entering just below the lock entrance.  This provided a bit of a white knuckle ride as the boat swung about in the flow, before almost catapulting into the lock, we found it challenging, goodness knows what the hire boats that set off during the afternoon from Aldermaston thought about it, after an hours cruising, something of a baptism of fire, me thinks.

The weather forecast for today was for high wings accompanied by some quite ferocious gusts.  Dave and Angie had managed to get onto the 48 hour moorings above the lock, and we were in the trees and nettles beyond the designated moorings, because of the weather we decided to stay put today, this morning after one of the boats had moved from the moorings we reversed back and are now secure and free from the movement caused by the lock being operated as we were somewhat grounded overnight.  Whilst it has not been quite as windy as forecast and we are a bit sheltered from the wind, there has been some quite torrential downpours.  We will review our plans in the pub when we go for tea tonight, but it looks like we may pop into a marina in Newbury for a night or two in order to do a wash fest (and visit Newbury!).
The further we proceed wet the more hire boats we are seeing, which is something of a change from the lack of boat movement on the Thames.

Whilst John was having a vape on the rear deck, he saw a kingfisher land on the roof of the boat moored in front of us.  Reaching for a camera (our back up one) he got managed to capture a couple of shots, not the best quality, but they do show the brilliant colours of this lovely bird, often only seen as a flash of blue.  This kingfisher seems to particularly appreciate narrowboats as a convenient perch as it has returned to the same boat on a number of occasions.
Garston lock, turf sided, although its more vegetation covered sides than turf now

Its good to be able to walk the towpaths again

Waiting for the bridge to open at Woolhampton

Ali trying to pinch a cocker spaniel puppy

This little evening number, (not my style) brought us to a halt
 at a swing bridge , where we had to stop and clear the prop, its now a little shredded!


 10 miles, 10 locks, 6 swing bridges and 1 lift bridge

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic view of a Kingfisher, a real treat to see them at close quarters.
    Bob and June
    Nb Autumn Myst


Thank you for your comments