Cropredy Marina

10 miles 7 locks

In order to beat the forecast rain we set off just after seven again. Two other boats moored near us had the same idea. So there was a convoy of three heading for King’s Sutton lock. We were number two. Soon after the first lock the leading boat caught up with the single hander that had passed us at 6:30. So by the time we got to Banbury there were four boats. Luckily the two in front of us both stopped in Banbury, so we made better progress after that.

The weather gradually deteriorated during the morning and by the time we reached Cropredy it was cold and wet – such a change from last week.

 

The Pig Place

We are moored above Nells bridge lock, opposite the small campsite/smallholding/farm shop called “The Pig Place”.

The forecast for today was for rain this afternoon, so we set off at around our usual time (7:05), but actually the rain didn’t materialise. There were quite a few boats around, but no delays until we got to Somerton deep lock. There was an obstruction under the bottom gate, meaning that the lock wouldn’t fill to level because of the leakage. A CaRT guy was in attendance but it needed 3 or 4 people to force open the top gate each time. We were in a queue of five boats and it took just over an hour to get through, but we had a good chat to the couple on the boat in front.

 

Kidlington Green lock

26 miles 13 locks

A long day today, 10 hours. We started at 7:15 and didn’t stop until 17:25. We even had lunch on the move.

Sunrise on Wallingford church at 5:00 am

It’s been hotter today than the last few days, particularly this afternoon.

We were delayed for quite a while at Abingdon. We wanted a pumpout, but the boats in the queue for the water were blocking the access to the pumpout machine. Eventually, after a bit of boat shuffling, we had the pumpout and were on our way.

We shared the last 6 Thames locks wìth NB Aquatic Life, they are also on the way back to Cropredy marina.

It is a bit odd to be back on narrow locks after 5 weeks or so of wide ones.

 

Port Meadow, Oxford

Wallingford

15 miles 6 locks

We had a disturbed night. Some drunks were very loud by our boat around two o’clock in the morning. It sounded like one actually went into the water. Despite the lack of sleep we were still away by 7:15. We did the first Thames locks on our own as the lockies hadn’t come on duty. So it was Goring lock before we bought our licence.

At about 12:30 we reached Wallingford, luckily there was space on the visitors moorings, previously when we have been here they were all occupied.

Some shopping in tne afternoon, then just relaxing. After our evening meal we walked up to Benson lock and back, out 5 miles.

Wallingford bridge has 17 arches, though only 5 of them actually span the river
Our mooring

Reading

We are in our usual spot in the Reading Gaol loop. Right at the end, tied up to the railings. The only other space was near the noisy road.

Again it was a 7:00 start. Most of the day we were on our own, but we did share Fobney and Burghfield locks with a hire boat. He hadn’t been on a narrowboat since ‘the 1970s’ and she was completely at a loss. At one lock she asked me if we were going ‘up or down’ !

The weather has been mixed, with a few short, light showers, but generally dry.

Reading makes good use of the Kennet waterfront, which is lined with eating and drinking places, even an Hawiain beach bar, conplete with sand!

Beach bar!

The Kennet navigation is a delight. With alternate artificial cut and river sections it’s very attractive. We  have seen lots of wildlife. As well as the usual ducks, geese, herons, crows, pigeons, blackbirds etc. We have seen little egrets, red kites, jays, green woodpeckers, reed warblers, yellow wagtails, and something that may have been an otter. It could have been a mink, but it seemed to big.

 

Aldermaston Wharf

9 miles 10 locks ( again )

Newbury to Aldermaston today. As usual we were away by 7:00 and did the first few locks on our own. Then we caught up with a rather scruffy boat. We were a bit apprehensive, but the skipper and his crew turned out to be really charming and pleasant. He had recently bought the boat and was taking in back to Cambridge as a ‘project’. We got on really well.

At Midgham lock we caught up with a hire boat, so our companions went with them, and we carried on on our own.

We moored up a few hundred yards before the lock as it’s quieter here away from the road than on the visitors moorings.

Tomorrow we expect to get to Reading, so that will be the end of our K&A adventure.

 

Newbury

9 miles 10 locks

MUCH cooler today, though it was still 20°C  at 7:00 am when we set off. It didn’t really change much through the day.

We dropped down Hungerford lock then onto the services to top up the water. While we were watering there was a brief thunderstorm, only about 10 mins. The rest of the day has been mostly cloudy, with some sun, but dry.

We shared all the locks from Kintbury onwards with a lovely, friendly couple on NB Orinoco. We got on really well, and they moored up just in front of us here above the lock in Newbury at about 12:30.

This afternoon was spent, wandering around the shops and doing a few jobs on board.

 

Hungerford

5 miles 7 locks

Started at 7 again and finished at 10. We are moored by the church again, but the only spot in the shade is very shallow at the edge, so we are out on long ropes, and slightly on a list.

It has been very hot, in the low thirties, again today. We walked into town to do some shopping, but otherwise just rested in the shade.

Froxfield bottom lock must be the closest to a railway of any in the country

Great Bedwyn

8miles 14 locks

A 7:00 start this morning to try to beat the heat, we failed!

We had arranged to meet a former work colleague, Mike and his partner Janet in the afternoon at Great Bedwyn, but when we arrived the only available mooring was in full sun, we were roasting. Luckily  a boat a little further on moved off, so we moved down to their shady spot.

Mike & Janet arrived about 3:45 and we had a very pleasant hour or so nattering under the shade of a tree.

We fancied a pub meal, but the only pub left in the village ( the Cross Keys has closed) is a  ‘gastro’ pub. We didnt like the look of anything on the menu. So we had a barbecue instead.

During the afternoon the hire boat that we had shared most of the locks with came passed, but they had to moor up in full sun!

 

Pewsey Wharf

12 miles 6 locks

With the weather today forecast to be just as hot as at the weekend we decided to make an early start. So we were away by 6:55. It was 8:05 when we reached the top of the six locks that brought us up to the level of the “long pound”. After the energy exerted doing the locks we took our much deserved breakfast, then walked to Sainsburys to get some barbecue food for this evening. A quick stop at the wharf to top up the water then off again.

The canal here along the Vale of Pewsey winds it’s way around the Wiltshire hills. It’s very rural and lush and verdant – most attractive.

We had thought that we might push on to Wotton Rivers, but by 2:30 the temperature was way up in the high 20s, so we found a mooring in the shade at Pewsey Wharf, in almost the same spot we had a few weeks ago.