Sydney Wharf Bridge 188 to Murhill Straight to Avoncliffe Aqueduct
Having picked up all the bits I’d be needing next week we decided to move on today rather than staying put and then travelling in the rain tomorrow.
The moorings had thinned out considerably, all the hire boats heading back towards their bases for a Friday morning return. C&RT were busy working on the new towpath. One chap sat dredging the canal and back filling behind the new armco whilst another two chaps were adding the coir sausages and securing them. Further on a team of volunteers were doing a great job of cutting back the undergrowth and brambles, making Bath look pretty again.
We trundled our way out of the city, so much space on the visitor moorings. At Bathampton there is a small stretch of 1 hour visitor moorings, possibly long enough for a 30-40ft boat, we wondered what it could be for. We also noticed more of the blue topped posts. These appear every now and then with other posts noting information, but they also appear on their own. Does anyone know what they are please?
Soon we were following a couple of hire boats, this would mean that if all went well the first boat would open the first swing bridge, letting the other boat through then us. At the second bridge the next boat would open it letting us through ahead of the pack therefore having first dibs on the moorings at Dundas Aqueduct.
The first bridge worked as hoped, even if the boat in front of us held back a long way before going through the bridge. We passed a mooring with a low towpath, suitable for painting, but passed it before we could make our minds up whether to stop or not. The second bridge was opened by a boat coming towards us, a shame in a way as I’d wanted to have a look in the little community shop.
Approaching Dundas there were more boats than we’d remembered. On the west bank all the visitor moorings were full and as we turned the 90 degrees to face the aqueduct there was an Anglo Welsh boat pulling in on the last space on the other side. A few minutes earlier and it would have been ours, oh well, onwards.
Round the next bend where a hire boat pull out just as our bow was level with their stern. When they noticed us they did apologise. Thank goodness they moved that bit quicker than the boat we’d followed along here the other day.
Round the big bend and we decided to try to pull in. Bingo we got close to the side, this would do us. The back doors were opened and Tilly was given four and a half hours.
Wow!!! Trees, loads of trees, all needing to be climbed. A bench. Friendly cover. The Perfect mooring. Well that was until Tom and She sat down for their dingding! No internet, none, zilch, no phone signal either. They weren’t happy. I didn’t care and headed off to explore, making the most of my hours.
I resigned myself to no internet, life can continue without it. So I set too on the starboard side gunnels, scrapping back loose paint, sanding it down a quick rinse and then applied some fertan. This side of the boat was in much better nick than the port side, most probably because I’d managed to paint it last autumn.
Mick walked up the towpath to see if he could find better signal. There was a touch further on where boats were moored, maybe we should move on.
We loitered for a while as Mick had spotted a coal boat heading our way. An empty gas bottle was brought out from the locker ready for replacement. NB Aquila pulled alongside, gas, 2 bags of coal and when we noticed the diesel price we had a top up of that too. 72p not to be missed.
I came back to see what was going on, a lady was feeding our boat. It was quite interesting so I decided to loiter for a while. But then She picked me up and bundled me back inside! Excuse me I still had another hour and a half!!
We quickly pushed off, hoping for somewhere a little further on that might just have some signal of some sort. With phones in hand we pootled along an occasional noise suggesting signal. Here we would try pulling in, but the deep shelf made it next to impossible.
Onwards now getting close to our aimed mooring for the weekend. The visitor moorings before Avoncliffe Aqueduct had lovely rings and some bollards, but also a sign mentioning shallow margins. They were right about that, we couldn’t even get within three foot of the side, yes we’d need the gang plank, but to get off in the first place! We continued.
Over the aqueduct round the bend there was a space. We pulled in a little out from the edge, but this would do us.
‘Sorry Tilly’. SORRY!!! I’d not finished in that outside, then you go and move it and take far too long doing so. Now that hour and a half had been left behind and by the time they’d finished tying this one up it was deemed too late!
Having the port side on a handy stretch of low towpath I quickly got a coat of primer on the bare bits of gunnel. This side won’t look pretty, but at least it’s one step closer to being protected for winter. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will hold long enough for me to get a coat of paint on it, we’ll see.
Signal here is a touch better, but not good enough for photos still. They’ll get added at a later date. Now done.
0 locks, 7.42 miles, 2 swing bridges, 2 moorings, 40kg coal, 1 gas bottle, 57.1 litres, 4.5 hours reduced to 3, 1 starboard side ready, 1 splish splash of primer, 1 annoying ledge, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.