Monday, 11 July 2016

Where did that week go!

We are sat here in Devizes pondering our next move. This will be on the morrow we hope! The Caen Hill flight is closed, now due to a damaged gate. There was already a closure scheduled for a lock chamber inspection, so at least both job's should be undertaken at the same time. Hope they can complete the fix soon.

But, as we are heading east now, there are also problems with water levels near Crofton, we may well have to tarry a while.

After our wonderful stay in Bristol, our time was up. We decided to make the hop to Bath in one go. As ever this year, it was very quiet. The river passage is very pleasant and we took our time to enjoy it. The locks are not hard as such, but they are large and wide, so take some time to work through. Arriving in Bath, we managed to moor up on the railings prior to the locks back onto the canal and went for a wander.

Sue and Baz had arranged to meet us in Bath the following day, en-route in their motor home to the south west. Not easy parking a motor home in Bath, but they managed to squeeze in at the cricket club car park and we had a wander around the city with them for a few hours, before they resumed their journey. Great to see you again.

The following day, we tackled the Bath flight, including the deep lock! We were alone, but ascending did not prove to be any problem and we were soon up.

Bath deep - going up

 As ever, the next section is slow. There are miles of moored boats and travelling at tickover for so long can be a tad wearisome. Not for some though! As we were leaving Bathampton, a boat pulled off behind us and quickly caught us up. The steerer was either inebriated, or high as a kite, we could not decide which! He charged past moored boats, giving everyone a view of his derriere (as he had taken sagging to the extreme) but strangely, elicited no comments. Obviously a well known local "character". We pulled over and let him pass, watching him zig zagging along, at speed! Strangely, half a mile on, he was moored up, in a winding hole! Says it all really...

After watering up at Dundas, we crossed the Aqueduct and began the wooded stretch, free of moored boats, towards Avoncliff. Time to put a little more power on. No. We got behind a wide beam hire boat. We spent the journey either in neutral, drifting, and occasionally in reverse. Frustrating. But when he crawled over the Aqueduct, we moored up.

The following day we hopped to Bradford on Avon. Up the lock and moored for a shop stop. Whilst Ali went to Saintsbury's, I had a trim in the floating salon, so a bit less hirsute now. We then moved on a mile or so to visitor moorings for the night. The next day, the half mile to Hilperton and moored up at The Boatyard, ready for a service. This is a brilliant place. Cheapest fuel around and a great couple running it. The prices are very competitive. We would highly recommend it.

After this, a somewhat wild mooring at Send. We could not get near the bank. The next day, it was up the locks and we were lucky to find a good mooring at Sells Green. Ali had walked ahead from the last swing bridge and arrived just as a couple were pulling off the visitor moorings. In went we.

Later in the afternoon, Lynda and Ken arrived on N.B.Dionysus, having descended Caen Hill. They managed to moor up, but again, with only the bow to the bank. The visitor moorings were full and just not wide enough to breast up.

That evening, we retired to the Three Magpies for a catch up and meal, then back to our boat for a few drinks. I cannot take my ale anymore, tis my age! Hope you enjoy the trip into Bristol, we are sure you will. Was great to catch up.

Saturday dawned and the flight awaited us. We arrived at the first of the 29 at 9am. There were two boats sharing ahead of us, whilst we were alone. But, despite being well crewed, they were very slow. So much so that we caught them up! Arriving below the main flight, we had a break, in order to give them some space as much as anything. Kindly, as they ascended, they cracked one of the bottom paddles for us, making our ascent all the easier. Not many boats descending, I think five in total on the main flight, two pairs and a somewhat eccentric lady.

Obviously not going anywhere for a while! 
(look closely on the stern deck)

The pair ahead of us moored up by the pub after the main flight, whilst we carried on. It is a relentless flight, but after five and three quarter hours, we were able to moor up in Devizes. After settling in, time for a drink and food. Hard to find anywhere still serving food late Saturday afternoon, so we ended up in Pizza Express. Probably because we were famished, we both really enjoyed our meal.

Sunday was literally a day of rest. We chilled out, had a walk around, visited the museum and ended up having a wonderful late lunch in The Peppermill, followed by watching Andy win Wimbledon!

Devizes has an array of different buildings many being Georgian

And so, washing completed, off on the Wadworth brewery tour. And very informative it was too. Well worth a visit if you are in the area. The several samples of their Ales at the end, finished it off a treat!

The old - the open copper

The new - Steinecker

The sign shop - very similar to canal sign writing

all signs for the Wadworth pubs are hand painted on site
directions, toilets, food, etc

It is looking like Caen Hill is going to be closed for at least a week as the damage caused by a boater is not confined just to a gate, but also to the keystone holding it in place. The joys of boating! Really sorry for the hire boaters and the companies, with boats stuck on the wrong side of the stoppage. A nightmare for all.

This has to be Ali's ale!

the detail painting of the cabin sides is amazing

Total 39 miles (22 miles of broad canal, 17 miles of river)  50 locks.  9 moveable bridges, 2 tunnels and 2 aqueducts

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