According to advice on the web C&RT were saying County lock in Reading was closed, but as it was not locked up and yesterday we knew of 6 boats that had come through we made a plan with Peter from nb Parson's Passage last night to have a go this morning.
So at 8am we walked up to the lock and to see if we could manage to open the lock, and although there was still a lot of water coming over the top gates it was surprisingly easy to get a level and open the bottom gates. With the lock set ready we walked back to our mooring by the prison and set off. Peter and Janet on Parson's Passage would give us time to get through then follow behind.
Turning onto the main river from the prison moorings, the rapid flow made our progress slow, but Ian managed a safe course through the bridges and along the winding route through the Oracle shopping centre.
We were glad the lock was ready to go straight in, with the flow from the weir it was a tricky manoeuvre round the tree, along the lock landing and into the lock, just a bit of a bump as we the back of Tacet was pushed onto the lock landing.
We worked through, then tied up under the bridge and prepared the lock again ready for nb Parson's Passage.
They took a bit of bump on the way in too, but nothing too dreadful.
Progress was slow all the way to the next lock where there is a problem with a broken gate and C&RT men are attending between 10-11 o'clock and 3-4 o'clock each day.
Only problem we had was what to do when we got there as the lock gates were closed, the weir was running fast over the lock landing which was under water and there is no lock cut giving slack water. It made for an interesting task to tie up and secure the boat. But with a bit of luck and of course skill, I managed to get the front and centre ropes over the handrails and back with a boat hook to tie up.
At one point I did think that this was the moment our record of no 'falling in' was going to be broken!
Fortunately 'the men' soon appeared as Peter and Janet arrived so they went straight in, it was another tricky manoeuvre through the bridge against the flows and their chimney took a bit of a bash, it matches ours now.
At the turf sided lock the gates were open so we sailed straight in and had to clamber up the ladder, rope and windlass in hand. From now on the navigation changes from river to cut all the time, meaning you have to keep up the concentration all the time.
We made good progress sharing the locks and swing bridges up to Aldermaston with Peter and Janet, they made good cruising companions, we look forward to meeting up with them again.
By the time we got above Aldermaston lock after using the services it was 3.30pm and we were ready to stop. Not really a relaxing cruise, but a good day nonetheless.
Reading to Aldermaston
10 miles, 11 locks, 6 bridges