Monday, 6 June 2016

A river change. Off the Thames, and up the Kennet.

We are still moving, but very slowly, enjoying all that this area has to offer. As we have only covered this route once before and some years ago now, every twist and lock is almost new.

We had arranged to meet friends Sue & Quentin in Goring. They are fellow boaters, presently moored on the Trent, but we're visiting family and so popped to see us. Of course, that meant a trip to the pub! Quentin is a very bad influence on me and I suppose me on him! That said, we enjoyed a meal and a drink or three together before they made the journey back to the boat to resume their travels.

Nice place Goring. We even walked past George Michael and friend on the towpath! Only problem, they had decided on resurfacing the main road and the bridge, overnight! Luckily, this also coincided with our meeting with Sue and Quentin, so nothing disturbed us .

John found this a little ironic (poster in the window)

Our next hop saw us travelling for our final day on the Thames for a while. It was really unseasonably cold and by the time we made the turn onto the Kennet at Reading, we were chilled to the core. So a farewell to manned gentle locks for a while. As usual, the flow on the Kennet was not inconsiderable. Plenty of revs required, then up the lock, swift right and we were in the Prison loop. Last time we visited, this was closed due to a festival. Better luck this time and we moored up as advised by Doug & James. We spent the afternoon having a wander around the town. Not an unpleasant place at all.

An Alpaca Farm - everywhere you looked fields of them

Little 'pad'

All sorts of boats on the Thames this is a sailing yatch

and the fabulous welcoming entrance to the K&A!

A statue of a fisherman on Chocolate Island, erected when the Huntley & Palmers factory closed to represent a well known Reading fisherman, one of the ordinary people who worked in the factory.

As our journey now takes us through the centre and there are challenges with the flow and traffic light controlled passage, we decided to make an early ish start, before the crowds descended. The weather was looking up, so off we went, not another boat in sight. The traffic light gave us the green light, so through town, under the bridge and to the lock beside the weir. Pretty uneventful really. Then up river, to Fobney lock, which is big and entered just off the flow of the river. Seemed to take an age to fill, but at least a boat arrived to descend just as we were rising. The journey now is mainly river, with canalised sections. Quite a flow at times.

We decided to make a stop at Aldermaston. If we could! Luckily, just after the lift bridge there is a winding hole. This has a service block ( or had!) , and mooring for a boat or three. Nothing moored up, so in we went. The service block was closed apparently because of antisocial behaviour by males, using it as a meeting place. The facility was council owned, so they closed it! There is still a tap, but that's it. Anyway, we were in and enjoyed a few days relaxing, doing housework!!! ,and of course, Sunday lunch in the pub as a reward.

On our own

Sunday roast was good, but pudding was better!

By Monday, our time was up and time to move. Beautiful weather. But...there was a problem. The lift bridge was faulty. We were the right side of it, but not the hire boats returning to the Wharf. From 0700, they began to gather, descending the lock with nowhere to go! By the time the council arrived to sort out the problem, there was quite a jam. But it allowed us to shower and fill with water.

and a few more this morning waiting for the bridge repair,
there were also another 3 boats above the lock

The locks here are big, deep and can be vicious when travelling up alone. Many of them have only gate paddles and no ground paddles, so it took a while to work out the best technique. Just when we did, ground paddles reappeared!

And of course, there is Woolhampton. More challenging than any other on the system. Bum burped a bit!!! but made it!

And today, before mooring up in Thatcham, we saw one boat moving...

Eight not so young cygnets

These were tiny

Total distance is 32 miles, 6¾ furlongs and 21 locks. There are at least 9 moveable bridges.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, looking forward to following your progress along the K&A.
    nb oakfield


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