Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Hungerford - Pewsey

Wow that was a marathon day almost up to Amy and James' standards on nb Willow.
We started the day with another look around Hungerford. 

Around the market (not much cop), around the antiques shops (loads of interesting stuff), it's a really pretty little town, with a great individual flavour, lots of family run and independent shops, not many big names here, except Boots and Tesco (of course). I'm sure that used to be Somerfield!

So it wasn't an early start travelling, just before 11, I think, and in the first lock, a family of four in a hire boat joined us.
 They were very experienced boaters and efficient with working the locks and so we spent the rest of the day with them which was a great help to us in these double locks, mostly with notices asking you to leave them empty. So as we were going up, that was another job to do. (Not sure what this really achieves, apart from making the journey even slower on the way back.........)
The church is close to the canal and a swingbridge, still looking wintry in this picture but there were lots of daffodils in the churchyard.
A lock house in a very sad state, broken windows, looking rather uncared for. It would be a great project to take on and bring back to life.
Our companions for the day. "Shall we walk or ride to the next one?" We were often able to send one crew on ahead to set the next lock, most of them were in our favour, due to the above regulations, but they could be opened up ready, and as it was quite a windy day, that was a great help to go straight into the lock.
At the Crofton flight is the magnificent pump house, steam driven and still in working order which pumped much needed water from the Wilton Water reservoir to the summit level, a few locks further up.
The two skippers having a natter on the way up.
The summit level is not very long, and the Bruce tunnel is part of it. Named after Thomas Bruce the local landowner at the time of the canal's construction. It is wide enough to pass another narrowboat, but there is no towpath and in the days of horse-drawn boats there were chains on the inside of the tunnel for the boatmen to pull their boats through, while the horse walked over the top.
The summit was long enough to do a load of washing and prepare the dinner, so as we did the last four locks of the day down the other side our tummies were rumbling with the smell of lamb hotpot wafting up from the galley.
We tied up at Pewsey just before 7pm. Tired and hungry, but satisfied that it had been a good day's work.  Beats a day in the office anytime!

14 miles, 24 locks, 1 tunnel, 2 bridges

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