Monday, 20 June 2016

Up, under and Down.

Finally, we have completed the ascent from the Thames . All down hill now to hopefully. Bristol. River and tides permitting.

Since last posting, we made our way back down four locks to Great Bedwyn, which was a lot quieter. After spinning around and watering up, we reversed onto the visitor moorings. 48 hours allowed here, so going to plan. The weather has remained ok, if a bit showery. Bedwyn itself is a pleasant little village, but has now lost its bakery. The building looks set for redevelopment. However, the post office come shop now sells a range of bakery items and does a mean sandwich.

The survival of the railway station here is a mixed blessing I think. Especially in relation to car parking. Cars are abandoned by commutets throughout the village. As I walked to the station across the car park behind the water point(CRT owned?) ,a chap pulled in then reversed back almost colliding with me! Then he walked to the station. Wouldn't mind, but I was wearing a bright red coat!

Anyway, we caught the train to Oxford. £15 return, so good value. When done, after raiding M&S, we journeyed back with the clouds building. Luckily, we were back on the boat before the heavens opened. A torrential downpour. We did think about moving on, but the weather finished any thought of that.

We are getting used to short hops to our desired mooring spots, so the next day , back up four locks to Crofton. We must be getting used to the trains now, as we hardly noticed them.

Then finally, we completed the Crofton flight and onto the summit pound. The longest lock free pound for a good while and then through Bruce tunnel, which is only 500yds or so and very high ceilinged and dry! Not a drip was felt.  This is one way passage, probably, due in no small part to the wide beam hire boats that frequent this area.

Down a few locks and by lunch time we were in Wootton Rivers. There was one space left and we managed to squeeze in. This is a 24 hour mooring, which suits us. It is actually also a water point, so we expect visitors breasting up to get water! That said, there has been since we arrived on the K&A, very little traffic  mooring thus far has not been an issue.

As we begin to descend to the rather more populated Western end, we will see if ease of mooring persists...

Sunday dawned a tad cloudy. The forecast for later in the day and for Monday, was not looking too good. With this in mind, we decided to press on, but moor up early before the onset of rain.

We watered up on our mooring, then set the rather deep  Wootton Rivers bottom lock in our favour. Our last lock before we hit Caen Hill. Once down, we were into the long lock free pound which ends in Devizes. The banks here are more reminiscent of a river than a Canal , lush and verdant. This also makes wild mooring a tad tricky. In places, even the trees and bushes are somewhat overgrown, but being a wide canal and so quiet, not a problem thus far.

At Pewsey we emptied the cassette, and were pleased to see that since our last visit, the visitor moorings have been repaired. They were falling into the canal then. 

That done, we wended our way through the rolling and rather beautiful countryside. I know not why, but Honey street has never appealed to us. There was even space to moor, but we moved on. The White Horse was now in view as we travelled on west.

By lunch time, it was clouding up. Reaching the visitor moorings at All Cannings, we spotted a space and hopped in. This was a good move. Ali had looked up the local pub, The Kings Arms. Good reviews, with lunch served until 2pm. Off we trotted, forgetting in our haste that it was father's day! But they had room, and we enjoyed a fantastic meal. Well recommended if you are in the area.

By the time we settled back on the boat, the promised rain arrived. We may well sit tight tomorrow if as forecast, it persists.

(It was correct! So sitting it out...)

15 miles, 18 locks, 1 swing bridge & Bruce Tunnel (502 yards long)

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