Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Monday, 15 April 2013

More Fun and Games

The Kennet and Avon is proving to be a bit of an adventure, and we've only been on it a few days. After riding the rapids through Reading on Saturday, we set off yesterday morning hoping that the river flows would be getting slower as we move up river and came to more canal sections.

It was a sunny, blue sky morning and feeling quite warm, however the bare trees make the scene still a rather wintry one.

Our first challenge came at the first lock of the day at Woolhampton.
Here there is a swing bridge close to the lock and we had decided to make sure the lock was prepared and ready before we opened up the bridge, the water was flowing fast and we didn't want to make any stops, just head straight into the lock once through the bridge.

I got the lock ready and went back to open the bridge. Uh oh! the screen was showing there was a fault with the wedges and using the key made no difference, we had to ring the number shown and report the fault.
Fairly quickly we had a message to say that someone would be out in an hour.
We moved Tacet back alongside a hire boat with a bunch of Italian lads on board, once we had explained to them what was happening with the bridge, this meant there was room on the bridge landing stage should anyone else turn up.

It was actually about 2 hours before all was sorted and by then there were 3 boats waiting to go up and one in the lock waiting to come down.  Once the bridge was opened the boat in the lock came out  and whizzed  through the bridge and past us, then Tacet and Daylight Monarch moved out into the stream and made their way through the bridge and into the waiting lock.  We would prepare the lock for the Italians to follow.

We ended up travelling with Daylight Monarch for the rest of our journey into Newbury sharing the locks and bridge hopping at the swing bridges.
Once we got to Newbury, we quickly made an early dinner and went off to the Baptist church for their evening service as we hadn't got to church this morning. Afterwards we wandered up the canal above town lock and the swing bridge and found James and Doug on nb Chance to say a quick hello.  They were entertaining on board, so we shall catch up with them somewhere along the way to Bristol.

Aldermaston - Newbury
7.5 miles, 9 locks, 5 bridges

This morning we had a look around Newbury........
Newbury Town Hall

Just in case you were thinking of taking yours!

Cloth Hall (end)

Cloth Hall (side), The cloth trade in the Middle Ages was big in Newbury

District Museum (closed for refurbishment)

Kennet and Avon Canal Trust HQ/tearooms on Newbury Wharf

Wharf crane

empty moorings at Victoria Park opposite wharf

After lunch we set off again, another tricky bit to negotiate just ahead, the narrow town bridge, with the fast flowing river and a weir coming into the channel just before Town Lock.
Once again I set off to prepare the lock and have the gates open well in time for Ian to bring Tacet in.
All ready and waiting

Just coming into view, moving slow against the flow

Keeping the revs up to get avoid being pushed about means quite a speedy entrance into the lock mouth.  And by now there were quite a few gongoozlers around.  All went well and one commented, 'He's done that before!'

Our next challenge was a pound that was a bit short of water, there had been a problem earlier, fixed by James from nb Chance. Thanks James, Ian got through fine but kept to the middle and I walked.
When we got to Benham lock a C&RT man drove up to 'sort out' the problem! I think he was going to let a bit more water down, as we had been stirring up the bottom on the way.

Along the K&A there are lots of pillboxes, guard-posts built during WWII for defence and used by the home guard.

At Hamstead I wandered over to the river and the weir, while the lock was filling, it was very pretty.

We've moored up in a quiet spot just outside Kintbury, it's been another interesting day on the K&A, I wonder what will happen tomorrow? 

And finally.....

                                                                .........just to show, Spring hasn't forgotten to spring.

Newbury - Kintbury (almost)
5 miles, 7 locks, 1 bridge


  1. Mind the horse drawn trip boat at Kintbury - the tow rope knocked our chimney off into the canal!