Woolfhall Bridge to above Froxfield Bottom Lock 70
Still needing to catch up, the alarm was set again this morning. Not sure what time the locks were unlocked, but we took C&RT at their word and waited until 9am. Well it did mean being able to upload a blog post and check through emails whilst we had signal, unlike this evening!
All the Crofton Locks are left empty which meant each and everyone one of them needed the bottom paddles and gates closing before we could start to fill them. This all takes time. I walked down to get the second one filling whilst the top one did too, but all the others were just that bit too far to walk to set ahead on a muddy towpath.
You are asked not to moor in the flight, but two cruisers have tagged themselves onto the end of lock landings. One was there when we came through a month ago, but neither of us remembered it being half sunk. I wonder if the C&RT notice went on it before or after it took on water?
Coming up in the last lock was Wessex Rose a hotel boat. Very smart it was and it’s thrusters proved to be useful as they let us past before carrying on up the flight.
The weather was foul, wet and very windy. I’d put on my padded waterproof trousers thinking it would be cold, but these made me just the wrong temperature whilst working down the locks. Later on I did feel the benefit though as the locks got further apart.
The engine pound was only six inches down today but no boats were taking advantage of it. This is where we should have been last night, so we still had some distance to go today.
No train obliged for THE photo as Oleanna moved thorough the pound. Maybe be a touch of manipulation for our Christmas card would be required!
The distance between locks now grew, the first few needing to be left empty still so necessitated being filled first. As we got close to Bedwyn we could see a paddle was up, then the figure of a less than enthusiastic person opened the gate and walked back to get their boat. I walked up to close the gate for them and shouted hello down to the helm. Concentration however meant it fell on deaf ears. The chap carried on as usual, once the center line was tied up he turned towards the gate and did a double take at me being there. We helped him up the lock and compared notes on available moorings before we carried on in our opposite directions.
By now we had bywashes, each of them only just coping with the amount of water flowing down them, it wouldn’t have taken much more water for them to back up.
At Burnt Mill Lock ( ?) sat on the curved structure where a swing bridge once sat was a floral tribute to a Grandad. Green wellies some roses and runner beans, he’d obviously been a keen gardener.
As we filled the lock we spotted a banana and a pineapple, we could make our own fruit salad! Why people throw their unwanted fruit and veg in the canal baffles me, earlier I’d seen half a butternut squash!
Lock 67 and another boat was heading uphill, they kindly opened the gates so I could hop onto Oleanna, the drop down onto her only just manageable still as the lock emptied.
Rain came and went. Emails regarding safety deposit boxes in the vault of the Bank of England came to and fro from Plymouth. My shoes squelched, we were damp and ready to stop. With fingers crossed we dropped down Lock 69, a couple of boats in view but long lengths of Armco available.
The wind had been very strong most of the morning so we chose a spot with the least amount of tree cover, found our nappy pins and moored up for the day. Internet intermittent at best, phone signal none existent and TV reception very poor, but Tilly was happy.
I spent much of the rest of the day making a new supposedly simpler version of the transporter bridge. My first attempt failed, but by the end of the evening I’d made the two horizontals, that would do me.
Mick found things to watch from the PVR and managed to find the 2 hour programme All Aboard showing two hours of cruising along the Kennet and Avon Canal. He thought it might be interesting now that we’ve been there. It certainly was. Starting at Bath Top Lock 13 it slowly moves it’s way towards Bradford on Avon. Sadly our internet coverage didn’t help and we gave up with it after half an hour. It must have been filmed on an electric boat as there was no engine noise, did Paul from Waterway Routes have anything to do with it? Amazing how many boats we recognized including the first one that came into shot on the Bath moorings, NB Chapmans Rusty!
Today we found out about those blue topped posts near Bradford. They have been put in for contractors, volunteers and staff to be aware of habitats in between the arrows. This could be newly planted small trees or quite often glow worms. It helps workers to not strim right back and decimate them. This explains why some of them have photos of insects stapled to them.
15 locks, 5.28 miles, 1 soggy day, 0.5 butternut squash, 1 banana, 1 pineapple, 2 wellies, 0 train when you need one, 2 many trains when you don’t, 2 horizontals, 0 internet, 0 phone, 0 TV, 3 hours of great fun!