To leave a comment, scroll to the end of the post,click on the word " no comments" and it will open the comment option for you. Type in your note and choose your Profile. If you don't understand the choices under Profile then choose Anonymous but PLEASE type your name and location at the bottom of your comment so we know who you are!

Friday, 4 September 2015

Back on to the Shroppie

Up to a bright morning a we leave our last night mooring back under the the M54 motorway as we head towards Autherley junction and it's not long before we reach it and turn on to the Shropshire Union canal. 

A stop lock meets us first then we top up with water  before going under the M54 again, a little bit further on we stop at the village of Brewood, pronounced brood for the night. After mooring we change our clothes and take a walk into the pretty village, here we visit a few shops to top up our provisions before returning to the boat to chill out.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Down the Staff and Worcs

Up early again to a grey morninin, breakfast first then we set off and a lock greets us straight away, a deep,old lock but the gates are quite light and are easy for Denise to operate. We then pass the town of Acton Trussel a modern development with lovely manicured gardens reaching the canal side.Open countryside again now as we continue to cruise, a few locks  and bridges before we reach the village of Penkridge this village has grown around the Cross Keys which was once an isolated canal pub but now surrounded by houses.

We had already decided to take on water at the water point just above the lock, but as we arrived another boat had beat us to it, so we had to wait, and not in the best of positions as the stand post was located right by the lock, so we waited and waited, this boat had to have a leak because they took ages to fill it,after about  half an hour they had finished, so it was our tour and in about ten mins we had filled up to the brim and off we set again.
 Gailey  wharf with its round toll keepers watch tower and boatyard are now passed  and Leaving the village behind the canal again opened into countryside with the exception of a big chemical works once known as the 'black works' as lamp black was produced here, with the canal side warnings of 'no stopping even if the alarms went off'.

Then we decide to moor up as the sky above has gone black and threatens to rain, we moor opposite Calf Heath marina and speak to another boater who was from Maesteg before settling down for the evening .
See you soon ...

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

On to another stretch of new canal

Up to a bright morning as we leave our mooring,and straight away we need to operate a lock just outside  of the village of Little Haywood with its two pubs and one shop, and then we cruise on to Great Haywood passing the house and grounds of Shugsborough Hall.

At Great Haywood we stop at take a stroll into the town and pay a visit to the local shop for some supplies, thier was not a lot to buy but luckily for us just by the canal is a farm shop where we wished we visited first as the vegetables, meat and others grocery bits are a lot better than the village shop.
Back to the boat and off we set again through another lock and then a turn left on to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, we have been on this canal before but not on this stretch. The canal is a lovely canal, engineered by James Brindley at opened in 1772 at the cost of £100000.00 it stretches 46 miles from the Severn to where we are at Great Haywood.

We pass Tixall Wide a stretch of the canal made to look like a lake as not to compromise the view fro the grand Tixall house, the canal then narrows with  twist and turns making this part an interesting journey.
We skirt around The village of Baswich
 and the heavens open so we decide to moor up opposite Stafford boat club for the night. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Suns back out

We leave Hopwas to a beautiful morning we pass Whittington firing range although no firing this morning,so we leave the woods and it open farmland again we pass the villages of Whittington and Huddlesford before we approach the famous Fradley junction, prior to joining  the Trent and Mersey canal we take on water then it's through the swing bridge and on to T&M and our first lock where we are helped by a Vlockie ( a volunteer lock keeper ) then another 2 locks before another clear run on the canal.
At Armitage the canal becomes industrialised with factories producing the product which most of us have used at one time or another ."......the toilet.

We pass Hawkesyard house which was once known a Spode house home to,the famous pottery family

and then on to the market town of Rugeley with its Hughes power station, its was also  home of  William Palmer or as he was known the Rugeley poisoner

The area of outstanding beauty Canock Chase is on our left with its exceptional flora and fauna, also home of fallow deer whose ancestors have grazed in this area for centuries.The site of Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof is also here, and contains graves of 2134 German servicemen from WW 1 and 2786 from WW2.
A little bit further on we moor up for the night, in a lovely spot over looking the chase. See you tomorrow.......

Monday, 31 August 2015

Guess what it a bank holiday and its raining

Absolutely tipping down with rain this morning, we wouldn't normally travel in this kind of weather but we need to get to the new marina sooner than later, so wet gear on and off we set.
And soon we are at the village of Polesworth a busy town that was once built around the coal industry, and now is a great stop for provisions, but we don't stop and  pass Pooley Hall which was once home to Edwin Starr before his death, a singer of the seventies with great disco hits like War and  Eye to eye contact, then next  we head toward the M42 motorway  bridge.
We then pass Alvecote marina who are holding a festival of old working canal boats but aren't very lucky this year with the weather,

 suburban housing of Tamworth now meet the the canals edge and we have 2 locks to negotiate before stopping at Fazely junction where one could turn towards Birmingham for water, but we carry on Northwards and then stop at the village of Hopwas for our overnight mooring.
A bit of a strange tale where the local paper reported a sighting off Bigfoot in the woods near here 
The woods dates back officially to the 11th Century and the Domesday Book, and further back still, with many historical tales emerging from within.

Fascinating tales of witchcraft and occult activities have persisted for many years, especially after the arrest of 16 people who were taking part in a naked occult ceremony in 1984.

They were members of a secret group called the Silver Star Society, and the arrests led to fines totalling £2,000 for cannabis possession.

More recent headlines appeared in the Herald after a mysterious copper plate with magical symbols was discovered by paranormal investigators. Shortly afterwards an Egyptian figurine was also found buried in the woods by Tamworth man Andrew Lee.

The woods have also been the source of other colourful tales including sightings of big black cats and even reports of a ‘large sandy-coloured animal’, feared to be a lioness.

Ghosts have also been reported there, with one report of a small orange light appearing there before falling to the ground.

Further back there was a ‘great fire’ in the woods in 1976, and controversy in 1986 after plans were revealed to lease part of the woods for “war games” activities.

In 1999 the Army were called out to help round up nine Limousin cattle which had escaped from a farm in Hints and taken refuge in Hopwas Woods. Four were shot dead, but after a public outcry the remaining five were caught and taken to an animal sanctuary.

The woods were also the location of the Woodhouse, which dated back to the 1640s and the time of Oliver Cromwell, and was the only house in the now defunct parish of Hopwas Hayes.

The house had been home to many people over the years, including George Bryan, founder of Drayton Manor. It was demolished in 2010 after being declared a health and safety risk.

The Woodhouse also hit Herald headlines in 2003 when armed police swooped, after reports of a pool of blood, a severed finger and a gun toting man in Hopwas Woods. What they actually found was a tea bag, a rolled piece of bacon and a man with a walking stick.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Grey morning

Today we set off to a grey old mornining , the promise of heavy rain means we set of reasonably early,the canal have been quiet and last night even though we were moored right next to a pub not one other boat was moored near it.
So we head North toward Atherstone, the landscape here is man made with the spoils from the now abandoned quarries making large mountains of waste and glimpses of views towards Anker valley.
the village of Manceter with its old roman village on the outskirts
Also in 1555 Robert Glover was arrested and taken to the stake as a victim of the reign of Mary of Tudor where he was executed.

So onwards to Atherstone and its 11 locks and it seems that every boat on the canal has turned up to use them at the same time the first 5 locks are close together and its slow progress as we wait for one boat to go up and another to go down but eventually we get through them. In the 17th century this town was know for it Felt Hats and employed well over 3000 in this industry but with the influx of cheap imports this fell into decline.
Open countryside now as we negotiate the remaking 6 locks before we moor up just outside of Polesworth for the afternoon and night and right on cue the rain comes down, so it's a shower then Sunday dinner before settling down in front of the telly.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

On to the Coventry Canal

Another lovely morning as we set off from last nights mooring, the M6 motorway is the first bridge we navigate under noticing how tranquil and peaceful the canal is as to the hustle and bustle of the motorway.
We leave the  noisy drone of the motorway as we travel towards the village of Ansty a tiny village that grew up alongside the canal, with its church of St James and Ansty hall which dates back to 1678.
Then it's on to Hawkesbury junction a busy junction with its stop lock, a lock where the water only drops a few inches but still needs to be operated and its sharp bend onto the Coventry canal, which seems to always cause problems to experts and novices alike.
Upwards towards Nuneaton with loads of allotments on the canal side where gardeners are working on them to produce fruits, vegetables and flowers.
We reach Nuneaton where pretty gardens flowing to the the water, and parkland reach the edge of the canal. 
Famous people from this area include 

The Novelist George Elliot,
  • Dean Richards, former England Rugby Union player and Rugby Union Coach (born inNun Eaton 

We leave the town behind and we are back in open countryside again before we moor up for the night outside of  a canal side pub by bridge 29 where we partake in a few shandies in the afternoon sun before back to the boat for the night see you tomorrow.

Today's ghost stories 


Location: Nuneaton - A5 between town and Hinckley (Watling Street)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1926 (wearing jacket), February 1927 (riding horseback), 1979 (shimmering shape)
Further Comments: One version of this tale says that, wearing a jacket with sleeves of bright crimson, a phantom highwayman lurks along the roadside with a tricorn hat hiding the face. Another version names him as Dick Turpin and when last seen, he was riding his horse across common land. It may have been the same entity seen in 1979, reduced to a shimmering shape which swirled like water. The witness to this event had an accident close to the spot later in the day.


Location: Nuneaton - Railway line and bridge near the Bomb Hills
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Circa October 1986
Further Comments: Two people walking home spotted steam coming from under a bridge. Looking down from the bridge they could see a stationary steam locomotive and dozens of people laying across the tracks - the scene was semi-transparent. The witnesses ran off to find someone, and returned several minutes later, by which time the scene had gone.

Mrs Stubbs 

Location: Nuneaton - Stubbs Pool, Camp Hill
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1970s?
Further Comments: Mrs Stubbs is said to have be caught up in weeds and drowned while swimming in this pool (alternatively, according to other stories, she had her face bitten off by a horse). She now haunts the area.

Another sunny morning

Today we set off from our mooring to a lovely bright sunny morning,the canal was at its best with green hedges lining both sides and the  straight water That stretched in front of our boat was like a shiny mirror.

We cruise on till we reach the outskirts of Rugby where we have three locks to operate at Hillmorton, here the locks are set in pairs so it feasible for two boats to go up or down at the same time or one boat up and one down. Then we are in Rugby where the moder game of Rugby football was founded when Webb Ellis a pupil in Rugby school decided to cheat at football ( soccer) and picked up the  ball in his hand thus started the game of rugby union. We don't stop and visit Rugby as we have been here before and we are just tryinig to g et to our new marina as quick as we can with out rushing.
We were going to do a shop in Rugby but missed the bridge where the Tescos store was so we stopped at Newbold on Avon and visited the local Co- op where we topped up provisions before taking on water again. We left Newbold with out any mishaps this time as last time we were here I fell in the water up to my waist.
So it's through the 250 yds tunnel pass Brinklow marina and pass Stretton Wharf before mooring up,for the night by bridge 26. See you tomorrow 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

On our way

So up to a ok morning, the last few weeks have been grey and rainining so it was a bit of. A shock to have a dry morning, so wash,dress, breakfast and then we topped  up with water, next we took a reading 05350 of the electric and handed it back in the office before setting off.
So we say goodbye to Wigram marina as we turn left on to the Grand Union canal as we head on towards Braunston junction, this as most of the canal is very pretty with open countryside and mostly agricultural with just a few house in sight.No locks, no villages and the bridges are well spaced making this a pleasant stretch of the journey.
At  busy Braunston junction we turn left, here there are lots one moored boats, making most of the village and the pubs. We are now heading towards Rugby again open farmland on both sides and it's not long before we decide to moor up for the night opposite Barby hill on our right and on our left Her Majesty prison Rye Hill so we hope that all of the prisoners are well locked up tonight.

A ghost story.

In the late 19the century a house in the village of Barby had a reputation of being haunted by a widow who could not rest until her estate and debts were settled in full. The case appeared in Glimpses of the Supernatural (1875) by Dr Frederick George Lee (born 6 January 1832 – died 22 January 1902) a Church of England priest and was quoted directly in by John Ingram in The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain (1897).

According to Dr Lee, "An old woman of the name of Webb, a native of the place, and above the usual height, died on March 3rd, 1851, at 2 a.m., aged sixty-seven. Late in life she had married a man of some means, who having predeceased her, left her his property, so that she was in good circumstances. Her chief and notorious characteristic, however, was excessive perniciousness, she being remarkably miserly in her habits; and it is believed by many in the village that she thus shortened her days. Two of her neighbours, women of the names of Griffin and Holding, nursed her during her last illness, and her nephew, Mr. Hart, a farmer in the village, supplied her temporal needs; in whose favour she had made a will, by which she bequeathed to him all her possessions. 

"About a month after the funeral, Mrs. Holding, who with her uncle lived next door to the house of the deceased (which had been entirely shut up since the funeral), was alarmed and astonished at hearing loud and heavy thumps against the partition wall, and especially against the door of a cupboard in the room wall, while other strange noises, like the dragging of furniture about the rooms, though all the furniture had been removed, and the house was empty. These were chiefly heard about two o'clock in the morning. 

"Early in the month of April a family of the name of Accleton, much needing a residence, took the deceased woman's house the only one in the village vacant and bringing their goods and chattels, proceeded to inhabit it. The husband was often absent, but he and his wife occupied the room in which Airs. Webb had died, while their daughter, a girl of about ten years of age, slept in a small bed in the corner. Violent noises in the night were heard about two o'clock thumps, tramps, and tremendous crashes, as if all the furniture had been collected together and then violently banged on to the floor. One night at 2 a.m. the parents were suddenly awakened by the violent screams of the child. 'Mother! Mother! There’s a tall woman standing by my bed, a shaking her head at me! 'The parents could see nothing, so did their best to quiet and compose the child. At four o'clock they were awakened by the child's screams, for she had seen the woman again; in fact, she appeared to her no less than seven times on seven subsequent nights. 

"Mrs Accleton, during her husband's absence, having engaged her mother to sleep with her one night, was suddenly aroused at the same hour of two by a strange and unusual light in her room. Looking up, she saw quite plainly the spirit of Mrs. Webb, which moved towards her with a gentle appealing manner, as though it would have said ' Speak! Speak!' 

"This spectre appeared likewise to a Mrs Rad-Dournc, a Mrs Griffiths, and a Mrs. Holding. They assert that luminous balls of light seemed to go up and towards a trap-door in the ceiling which led to the roof of the cottage. Each person who saw it testified likewise to hearing a low, unearthly moaning noise, ' strange and unnatural like,' but somewhat similar in character to the moans of the woman in her death-agony. 

"The subject was of course discussed, and Mrs Accleton suggested that its appearance might not impossibly be connected with the existence of money hoarded up in the roof an idea which may have arisen from the miserly habits of the dead woman. The hint having been given to and taken by her nephew, Mr. Hart, the farmer, he proceeded to the house, and with Mrs Accleton's personal help, made a search. The loft above was totally dark, but by the aid of a candle there was discovered, firstly, a bundle of old writings, old deeds, as they turned out to be, and afterwards a large bag of gold and bank-notes, out of which the nephew took a handful of sovereigns and exhibited them to Mrs. Accleton. But the knockings, moanings, strange noises, and other disturbances, did not cease upon this discovery. They did cease, however, when Mr Hart, having found that certain debts were owing by her, carefully and scrupulously paid them. So much for the account of the haunted house at Barby." 

The circumstances detailed were most carefully investigated by Sir Charles Isham and other gentlemen in the neighbourhood, and the conclusion they arrived at was that the above facts were completely verified by the evidence laid before them. 

The above description does not give the exact location of the house in question and only mentions surnames of those involved. There was a widow named Sarah Webb who lived and died in Barby on 5 March 1851 (nor 3 March 1851) who’s will was dated 11 May 1849 and proved on 17 April 1852. It would I assume be fairly easy to identify the building by checking her death certificate and the census returns for 1851, but as the building has remained anonymous for 150 years and is very likely to be no longer haunted, I see no reason in trying to track it down further, especially as, if it still stands it will be somebody’s private residence.

It may be worth noting that Sir Charles Edmund Isham, 10th Baronet (born 16 December 1819 – died 7 April 1903) who investigated the case was a spiritualist so that he may not have been totally unbiased. He has also been described as being eccentric and was responsible for introducing garden gnomes to Britain

The Other World or Glimpses of the Supenatural Vol II of II

 By Various

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Ready to leave

We are back on our boat in Wigram marina, and we have decided to relocate to just outside of Nantwich in Overwater marina, so we will be leaving tomorrow to start our journey.
Yesterday we arrived, unpacked and a quick tidy of the boat before popping to the shop for topping up of provisions, and today we awoke had breakfast then we moved the boat for a pump out and a filled up with diesel before mooring up again. We then drove over to my sisters,Kathryn  house where we are going to leave our car for a couple of weeks as we change marinas. She with her grandson Josh then drove us back to Wigram marina and a quick stop in The Bridge Inn, Napton for a shandy and lunch, the meal was okay and it's a lovely location right on the the Oxford canal.
Kathryn then dropped us bak to the boat, where she had a quick coffee before returning back home , a big thanks Kathryn it's much appreciated.
So tomorrow off we set again so stay tuned .

Monday, 24 August 2015


first of all sorry for not updating this blog for awhile, truth is just haven't had the time.
we obliviously finished our trip in May and set off back home to Cardiff, where we decided to put our house up for sale,which we did thinking that it would take a while to sell, but after one day on the market it was sold subject to contract.
We decided that it would only take 6 to 8 weeks to all go through and complete, and we could be back on the waterways again, that's where we were wrong. First of all our solicitor went on holidays leaving the sale of our house with one of her colleagues to deal with who unfortunately went sick, so three weeks into the sale and nothing had been done, this was the start of a disastrous episode of mistakes and error but eventually we sold and moved.
 And so we reach today, we have moved into a sheltered accommodation flat. so that we can spend more time away with the knowledge that the property will be safe.
So tomorrow it back up to the boat with the view of relocating our marina from Wigram Turn to Overwater marina and hope to start the journey on Thursday, so please start reading our blog again .

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Lower Heyford to Banbury

Up early today and the Suns come back out.........hooray so off we set again a heavy lift bridge is our first obstacle the canal wanders through water meadows as we head North along the Cherwell valley.
As it enter Somerton it enter a short cutting before it opens to into open pastureland before we reach Somerton deep lock at 12 ft deep. We then pass Anyho Junction and more lock and lift bridges but luckily for us the lift, bridges are left in the open position.
The M40 crosses the canal and its drone of traffic is noticeable, then the houses of the outskirts of Banbury come into view and gradually more and more urban then it's a lock and a lift bridge before we moor in the middle of Banbury for the night.

Thrupp to Lower Heyford

We left Thrupp to a grey windy day a electric lift bridge was. Our first obstacle to over come,pass the moored boat of Thrupp canal cruising club.
Into open countryside again as we pass the little villages of Hampton Gay, Shipton on Cherwell, and Gibralta with is pub the Rock of Gibralta.
A few locks and lift bridges again as the canal opens onto country farmland we pass the village of Tackley which is about a mile from the canal  and Rousham house which dates from 1635 and was once a royalist garrison during the civil war and the doors still have the shooting holes preserved from the conflict.
We then decide to take on water and have a little wait whilst two other boats take on water, and the weather changes so we decide to moor up for the day at Lower Heyford, a lovely spot except the main railway runs adjacent to the canal and the roar of the trains spoil the quietness of this spot, no internet tonight as no signal will have to load tomorrow.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

200 yds move

Today we set off in terrible weather rain, wind and more rain but their is a gap in the rain so we set off and then it bucketed down so we moor up and stay put for the day in Thrupp, we will. Move tomorrow hopefully 

Monday, 4 May 2015

Bank holiday Monday

We leave Abington and straight away we have a lock, the lock keeper isn't on duty so Denise must push the buttons to operate the lock, we pass on through and then takes on much needed water before carrying on our journey towards Oxford.
As we. Approach Oxford the river gets a lot busier with lots of rowers, canoeist and other pleasure crafts on the waterways, also the footpaths have a lot of activities cyclists, joggers, and walkers.
The side of the river now has the rowing club houses for each university situated on the riverbank,as we reach Osney railway bridge with its touching memorial to Edgar Wilson who on the 15 th of June 1889 saved the lives of two boys here, at the cost of his own.
We don't turn on to the Oxford canal straight away but stay on the Thames as its skirts the city, here we pass Pot Meadow a expanse of meadow land which has wild horses grazing upon it then we pass the remains of Godstow Abbey which was found in the 12-C then we turn onto Dukes cut which then joins the Oxford canal and we are back on still water, and narrow locks we carry on to Thrupp where we moor just before it rains.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Away and back to Abbington

It's  a bit of a dull start to the morning with grey skies, we are in Abbington an 18-C market town which grew around the Abbey which was founded in AD695, little remains of the original building except the Abbey gate.
We wait for our Old friends from Cardiff to turn up which they do on their bikes as they cycled from the campsite at Clifton Hampden where they are staying in their motorhome for the weekend. We have a coffee and a chat before we turn the boat around and take the pair for a cruise back to their camper van.
We arrive at Clifton Hampden moor the boat and with Gareth and Val go to the campsite  and view their motorhome which is a very nice vehicle, Denise and I are both interested in motorhomes as our plan is to have one after we finish the waterways in our boat. So we have a spot of lunch  befor return to the boat and back to Abbington, where luckily we find a mooring spot, so we moor and then with our friends we go off to the pubs for a few shandies.
Abbington has 20 public houses and we sample  a few of them before deciding to have something to eat in a lovely Thai restraraunt, and must say the meal was really good and would reccommend it to everyone.

Anothe pint before Gareth and Val get a taxi back to there campsite and we walk back to the boat and to bed.
On Sunday morning we decide not to move and during the night we noticed flash light every now and then passing our windows and this morning we could see it racers going pass they are in an endurance race from Reading to Oxford 100 miles long and have be running all day and night but best of luck to them.
On that note on Friday evening we could here people clapping by the side of the Thames and there were swimmers in it, some had wetsuits on but some were just wearing bathers and take it from me the water is bloody freezing.
So today Sunday, we haven't done much had a nice roast dinner and then watched an array of aeroplanes which have been flying over us all afternoon from the local air display.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Onto Abbington again

Up quite early this morning the weather is fine again, sunny but a bit chilly, anyway off we set a few locks to operate plus a few more with lockeepers of them to help.
The Thames is lovely this morning it seems that we are the only boat on it. Plenty of swans,geeses , herons, grebes, kingfishers, red kites and other birds keep us company as we cruise on to Abbington.
Our friends Gareth and Val are coming this way in their motorhome, we pass where they are going to site the motorhome but we are unable to find any suitable mooring space by there, so we carrying on to Abbington here we moor by the park, we arrange to meet up with Gareth and Val tomorrow so we are looking forward to that.
Speak to you tomorrow .

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Onward up,Father Thames

We left our peaceful overnight mooring to a sunny morning, the Thames is so wide compared to our last navigation down the Kennet and Avon, but this means we can ope the throttle and increase our speed from the normal 4 MPH to 8 MPH and this eats ups the miles. 
Straight away we have Whitchurch lock to negotiatate but with the help of a lockeeper so very easy, pass Basildon park and Beale wildlife trust with its collection of endangered species of birds and its collection of model boats.

Goring lock with its village is next passed, then Cleeve lock before the Thames open up to lovely countryside and it lovely houses whith manicured gardens down to the Thames, as we said before we wonder who and how the owners can afford these mansions?
We then reach Wallingford and moor just pass the bridge with its 17 arches, the town its self has an array of shops, pubs and restaurants. I go and have my hair cut as it was getting a bit long then we clean the boat and settle down for the night again.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Another canal finished

Up this morning and it's grey and cold, anyway we take on some water, and then we have to wait till after 09.00 am to lift the mechanically operated lift bridge so we can carry on pass Aldermaston Wharf.
The navigation remains close to the railway and the A4 road for a few miles.
Onwards pass Tyle mill and then it's the gravel pits that has now been turned into lakes  which are nature reserves and home to water activities.
More locks and swing bridges to operate, and then it started to rain and didn't it rain we were both soaked before we had a chance to put on our wet weather clothes, under the m4 we travel as we make our way into Reading, the currents are strong and the boat is whizzing along, make some turns a bit scary.
Then we need to push the traffic light button so that we can enter the fast flowing part of the canal,as it goes through the middle of reading with its plenty of pubs and restaraunts, then a couple of more locks and that's the Kennett and Avon Canal finished.
Back on the Thames and we stop by the handy Tescos for more provisions, and then distaster as the camer dropped out of my pocket bounced in the deck and the plummeted into the water never to be seen again, so no pictures today, though I still couldn't use them as I have no data left on my SIM card.
We carry on up the Thames and pass through two locks which have lockeepers on them so are a bit easy before we stop and moor at Pangbourne meadow, a bit late tonight but it's dinner and settle down in front of the fire for the night, and yes indid say fire as the last tonight it's gone really cold.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

On towards the Thames

So off we set again, our first lock is right in the middle of Newbury it follows its course with Victoria Park on one side and the old wharf on the other. Their is also a collection of old warehouses  and old stone buildings a relic of the old days.
The canal now runs through water meadows as it runs towards the rapidly expanding village of Thatcham, locks and swing bridges slow our progress, it's really makes a difference if the locks are in your favour but unfortunately today not one of them is. So it's stop the boat, get off fill the lock, open the gates, let the boat enter the lock shut the gate, open the other paddles to let the water out, open the gate move the boat out and then shut the gate.
Open countryside again as we carry on towards Woolhampton whith its tricky lock with a weir pushing the boat to one side and forward and then a swing bridge to hamper our progress .
We reach Aldermaston and decide to call it a day and moor up for the nightstand the same place as we moored on our trip a few weeks ago.
Keeping it short as our data plan for the Internet has been used so using my iPhone to upload this and will add pictures next week when my allowance kicks in .

Monday, 27 April 2015

Reluctany on to Newbury

Sunday we didn't move as we were on a 48hr mooring, luckily we made the push for Hungerford as one of the locks had to be closed so it could be repaired, the couple we shared the Caen Hill flight with let us know as they were stuck there, and no movement to at least Tuesday.
Anyway we left our mooring and stopped briefly to take on water, before on our way again, pretty woods on one side keep us company as we cruise a long, the river Kennet accompanies the canal past Dunmill lock  and we have a great view of Denford mill as we pass the village of Avington. 

The railway and the river are with us as we head to Kintbury, we were going to moor here but unable to do as no mooring space, it looks like the same boats are here as when we passed a couple of weeks ago, also a boat moored on the water point which is a no no.
As we leave Kintbury we come across a barge being towed by a Horse this is how the Narrowboats used to be powered in the old days , the horse was called Freddy.

So we carry on as we moan to ourselves about over stayers and head towards Newbury,this part of the canal is particularly attractive stretch, wooded rolling hills flank th waterway to the southas it passes through Drewetts Copse and Hamstead lock.
Then it's extensive water meadows and then we pass under the bridge of the bypass road then the canal has houses facing the canal and it's by here that we moor for the night.
Denise gives the boat a clean while I take a trip to the town centre  as part of our TV aerial had broken unfortunley we had to buy the whole aerial instead of the little part which we needed.
Back to the boat and we settle down for the night.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Off to Hungerford

Rain has been promised, but as we set off its dry, but very grey skies, we leave our mooring by the pumping station and the main rail line on our left is our companion for a while but again open countryside on our right hand side. fourteen locks we must negotiate today but not all together.
At our first lock unfortunately has a dead swan in it, so I pull it out of the water and put in the bushes by the side of the lock, after watching Bear Gryls on the television I did think of skin it and having it for Sunday lunch.
The villages of Great and Little Bedwyn are passed by still the Wilts railway line keeps us companion with its frequeny roar of high speed train flying pass. If you wold stop at Great Bedwyn  you could pay  the Stone Museum a visit, which include in its collection work from seven generations of stonemasons.
There are statues, tombstones, amusing plaques and a fossilised footprint of a dinosaur.
Froxfield is the next village to cruise by with is main feature The Somerset Hostpital founded by the Duchess of Somerset in 1694.
Then it's open country side and at Picketsfeild bridge the railway cross the canal and isn't seen again for a while, at Hungerford Marsh lock, right in the middle of the lock is a swing bridge, so not only have we got to operate the lock we must also swing the bridge out of the way so we can pass.
Then it a few more locks before we reach Hungerford , we thought that we would struggle to get a mooring but to our surprise it was quite empty. So we moor up have a bit of lunch and then off to the local Tescos to stock up before dinner and television.

On the note of the TV we been having problems tuning in the television and found out the aerial connection is broke so we had to resort to our old aerial  which worked fine.
No movement tomorrow as rain is promised.

Friday, 24 April 2015

A long day

Off we set again we take on water at the wharf in Devizes the canal now enter a long wooded cutting spanned by several elegant stone bridges, some are listed as ancient monuments. Houses with their well kept gardens that run to the canal edge  and the canal carries on to the landscape of the Wiltshire Wolds.

 Bishop  Cannings  church tower comes into view, and rolling hills climb steeply to the North while pastures fall away to the South. The canal is lock free following the co tours of the land, pass the village of All Cannings  and Honeystreet, with the 1812 white horse carving in the distant hill.
Next the villages Alton Priors, Woodsborough and Wilcot are passed by.

The countryside is very English with farmland and rolling countryside, next Pewsey with its wharf and canal side pub drift by as we aren't stopping for a while today, Wootton Rivers with it thatched cottages, then we start the first of our locks, four more before we reach Bruce tunnel, then we reach Crofton top lock then another six before we reach tonight's mooring spot, a lot later than we are usually moored up, but should mean that we will have an easier day tomorrow.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Lock after lock after lock and so on

Up early today and we and our fellow boater Stephen and Julie off the narrowboat Greyfisher wait for the lock keeper to unlock the bottom lock of the Caen Hill Flight.p
8.00 o'clock he unlock it and off we set, thats it for the next 29 locks, luckily for us all of the locks are in our favour, and we only meet three boats that are coming down. So we climb 234 ft in just over two miles, with the help of this marvelous piece of engineering.

Four hours later we are at the top, so we moor up for the night while our lock sharing friends carry on up the canal, as it dinner time I pop to the local Greggs bakery and get us a couple of pasties for lunch, then we get changed and go for walk around Devizes with a bit of shopping as well.
It's market day and the noise and hustle and bustle of the market are an assault on our senses after the quietness of the canal.
Devizes is a pretty market town, with wool being the dominating trade from the 14th to 18th century, brewing started in 1786 and the Brewers Wadworth  and co carry on the tradition today, where one can have a tour of the brewery, the Market cross recounts the story of Ruth Pierce whom the Almighty struck down dead after she lied about paying for some wheat.

We then head back to the boat to sit in the afternoon sun, as its promised that the weather is going to change for the worse tomorrow, hopefully not.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Back to the bottom of Caen hill locks

We were up early and the sun is shining again, a lock greets us first and once we are through this we are in Bradford Basin, again a long line of moored boats so we move a a slow tick over pace. We leave the residential area and once again in countryside, we have fine views over the Avon valley, to the west is the village of Hilperton, we have a few locks and heavy swing bridges to negotiate as we ascent to Devizes,

 the canal is crossed by the busy A350 more locks  and swing bridges before we reach the bottom of Caen Hill locks we operate another eight locks before we moor and where we are going to meet narrowboat Greyfisher and their crew Stephen and Julie,who we have arranged to share the next set of locks tomorrow. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Passed Moored boats again

We leave last nights quite mooring it's sunny but a bit chilly,, we then stop to take on some water, and off we set again open countryside which turns into a thickly wooded stretch as it passes Claverton with its village, Manor House and it's pumping station which pumps water from the Avon to the canal.
Now a side cutting takes the canal towards Dundas Aqueduct, with its junction for the Somerset Coal Canal.

The Aqueduct crosses over the valley with its main railway line set below, and the pass the village of Limpy Stoke which is scattered over the valleys side, the navigation runs through thick woods clinging to steep banks until the countryside opens on its approach tomAvoncliff Aqueduct, here we squeeze pass another boat, but unfortunlay one of my fender holder fittings hit the side of the canal and comes off, lost in the still water of the canal.

Then we are on the approach to Bradford upon Avon, where we stop and moor up for the day and sit and w arch the energetic runners, cyclist and dog walkers go by while we sit and soak up the sun.

We are contacted by text by the couple who we shared the Caen hill locks with a few ago asking if we want to meet and share the locks again as we go up on Thursday, which we readily  agreed with, anything to make life easier