A Fleet Visit. 16th June

Barley Mow Bridge Moorings to Eelmoor Bridge Moorings

Mick got our two hoses out this morning to see if they’d reach from the water point. They did. A topping up of the tank required for day to day use, but also needed to weight the bow down for the low bridges.

Everyone was on the zoom today, Sean back from keeping the sound working at the tennis in Paris. Subjects included ground up bricks, half sharing detectorists, Trump versus King John and Now We Are Six.

Gabions pinned into the bank

Time to carry on back towards the locks. We passed Tundry Pond, only just visible through the trees, more of a lake than a pond. Along the bank here gabions were used to shore up the cutting side, creating a terraced bank in 1983.

A rather fine house

NB Olive sat at the end of the Double Bridge mooring, it nearly got a stamp of approval from Tilly the other day and might be the most cat friendly mooring on the canal. A short distance onwards is a wonderful house. A lady sat in the conservatory. Try as I might I cannot find out who the architect was or it’s history, I just know it is a very fine house. There is however a photo of it on the website for RW Armstrong. Their website is worth a nosy at, some huge expensive houses that they have worked on.

North bound, hopefully

As we rounded the most southerly bend on the canal we turned towards the north east, now heading north for the remainder of the year, dependant on what happens with the problem at the locks tomorrow!

A buzz, a big buzz. Following and buzzing around us was what looked to be a 2 inch long orange bee. You know how sometimes a big Bumble Bee takes you by surprise, well this was twice as big! Maybe a Queen Common Carder Bee, but they don’t seem to be big enough.

Padlocked shut

The swing bridge padlock opened easier than on the way up, I suspect I was the last person to use it. A walker assisted as I pushed it back to open up the footpath by locating the big hinge over the padlock loop.

The Fox and Hounds was doing a roaring trade today, all outside tables full, one small cruiser on their moorings, later this sped past us when we were moored up, heavily laden with passengers.


Today the fishing season has started again, quite a few rods across the canal some at moorings. Thankfully as we came in towards Reading Road Bridge the mooring was clear, just a family feeding the swans.

With a shopping list of sorts we headed into Fleet to stock up on a few food items and to visit Screwfix, we know how to spend a Sunday afternoon. Mick was in need of some more gloves for engine servicing and I’d noticed that they sold castors with bolted on wheels that we might be able to use on our pull out cupboard.

Fleet Road, the main shopping street was a bit of a surprise. Lots of restaurants, Turkish barbers, Waitrose, M&S Food and Sainsburys. There was also a Millets. I’ve been trying to find a present for my brothers birthday, here was the perfect thing, just as on his wish list. With National Trust membership we also got 15% off.

Castors and a new fishing rod

Next door was a pet shop. I pop into them frequently to try to find a wood handled fishing rod toy for Tilly, the present one mended many times and currently held together with gaffer tape. Not one but four to choose from!

Sainsburys was used for a top up shop, then we crossed the road to Fleet Essentials. This we thought would be your typical stuff shop with plastic boxes and plant pots out the front. Inside it was a tardis of just about everything, no bananas, but everything else. Tools, circular saw blades, wool, a plastic box for our new hose, WD40 in three sizes, lamp shades, picture frames. Well worth a visit should you come to Fleet.

A walk round Waitrose to see if there was anything worth having with a reduced yellow sticker on it. Nothing jumped out as a good buy.

A different route back to the boat took us past an area cordoned off by Police. The 70’s building on the corner had sections of brick façade at first floor level. One of these sections had fallen off, a huge pile of rubble on the pavement below. Really hope no one had been underneath!!

Would her smile get under?

Back at Oleanna, I stowed our purchases as Mick flattened everything on the roof. Ahead of us Reading Road Bridge, 6ft low. We approached slowly, would Oleanna’s smile fit under the bridge? It looked tight, but we managed it. But would we fit under Pondtail Bridges? 2 inches lower?

Heavy thoughts time

I headed to the bow to help lower it that bit. Maybe 2 inches spare. From the stern Mick thought the previous bridge had been lower.

Today our chosen mooring was at Eelsmoor Bridge. Right at the end of Farnborough Runway. We pulled in to the furthest end of the moorings. I did a cat recky check. A path headed through the trees and friendly cover towards the runway. Here sat in amongst traffic cones were cars, plane spotters. I could see the buildings of the airport in the distance, my brother Andrew having had quite a lot to do with the buildings here in his previous architectural life. The mooring passed, but we knew Tilly wouldn’t be keen on the planes taking off.

At least they’re not big jets!

Mick checked flight radar, the last flight due out at 8pm. Over the three hours prior to 8pm we must have had around 10 jets take off, one for Palma, Nice and Paris, others unknown destinations. Tilly had given up on the mooring long before the third plane took off.

We sat down to enjoy roast pork as the skies turned silent. As this happened other noises cranked up. Cars with their music thumping away came and went across the bridge behind us. Then motorbikes would arrive, crank up the revs and zoom off down a service road as fast as possible, returning at great speed, crossing the bridge and zooming off up the road. So not the quietest of nights. We won’t choose to moor here again.

0 locks, 7.2 miles, 1 swing bridge,1 giant bee, 2 limbos, 4 castors, 1 stick, 1 fishing rod , 1st day fishing season, 10 jets, 6 motorbikes, 1 expanding and contracting car, 1 minus a Mrs Tilly stamp of approval mooring.