#48 Kennet & Avon Canal (& Bristol Avon) – West. April 2017

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Friday 21st April      nb:Black Bart, Skip, Skippet & 1st Mate have enjoyed the last droplets of our Old Father Thames cruise. Just for now. Will be back (aft) later. Seven miles, two big (lock keepers manning both) locks in aboat two ‘ers. Lister & old prop slow tings down as we approach the Junction. Soonest we be changed tack & flowing into the much shallower waters of the Kennet & Avon Canal. Different sauces be telling us this ‘ere waterway should be of sufficient depth. Cannee forget during our last hire boat ‘oliday (of six years ago) our craft did struggle on occasion. Our Bart is no-doubt deeper draughted than said hire boat. Might be sum interesting times in the coming days & weeks. Will sea. Blake’s Lock is there in front of us, longer & wider than for a ‘normal’ wide canal. Strange. Sum-tym later Bart & crew of three (& eight legs) have arisen & flowed upstream fore wee while until the red light tells us to stop !!  Skip guides Bart gently in & Skippet pushes the button. We is playing pedestrians at the mo.

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The sign warns we could be hanging here for up      to twelve minutes. Time to put the kettle on then.

No

Hold the tea

The light turns green pronto like

nb:Black Bart can proceed. On we go, cruising the twisty path through Reading’s new shoppy, bar, restauranty bits (& bobs).

Not be-fore long County Lock is there welcoming us. The weir being ideally positioned right next to the lock. This caused us some big trouble six years ago, whilst travelling tuther way. The flow created by the weir almost had us scuppered trying to tack roand the bend to enter the lock. Not overly impressed with the layout here. Not looking forward to our return through here in Bart, sum-tym in future weeks. Back (aft/stern) to now. Bart glides beautifully up to the lock landing stage. Not the most generous for a seventy foot Bart. Or for any udder boats if it were busy. Fortunately it not bee. Skippet prepares the lock. As Bart moves forward to enter the chamber the water flow off the weir, bouncing off the wall to port is Most Unhelpful. That were moor unpleasant than skip wanted. The skewed entry were far from ideal. Bart took a bit of a bang, but the well placed fenders just forward of the well/cratch did their job beautifully. Not sure how the weir will affect Bart’s disembarkation from the lock. Fortunately that is not a problem. All goes incident free. On we go. Lister & old prop holding a calm relaxed pace. We slowly chuggen through the South-West edges of Reading, making it t’crounty agin quite soon-ish. Roanding the last bend to moor at Fobney Lock’s almost as generous landing stage skip finds the usually pleasant task of helming Bart is becoming unsavoury. We have ‘playful’ currents from both sides (A very enthusiastic lock bypass ahead, to starboard & flow from an upstream weir to port) causing havoc. Bart is getting pushed into the corner of the landing stage. Would have been fine except for the ‘D’ section rubber buffers which were ‘perfectly’ placed to suit Bart. NOT. The lower buffer were missing from the end & corner of the stage, and the upper buffer was too high, above Bart’s gunnel/gunwale. With intending protection not being there Bart swings straight into the corner. That might have been OK. But. Most upsettingly the impact were right where the rear fixed section of the cratch cover bee situed. All the way back, at the helm, Skip cringed as one heard the cratch material tear. Oh !!  No !!!  NOT good. We manage to get Bart tethered safely. Too late. Damage is done. Bugger !!!  Already, really liking the K&A. Series of most unfortunate events. Nasty water flows (plural), angled/bend approach, short landing stage, poor state of buffering on staging, height of buffering/Bart & the amazing fact that it impacted right where this short section of cover is. Right there. Skip is Absolutely MAD !!!  Even moor than ‘normal’. There is a word fore that. In fact. Skip can think of quite a few ‘suitable’ words. **^^!!@}}””~~ etc.. etc….  Deep Breath. Count to ten. Deep Breath… Count to Ten agin…. Might get there in a a few minutes, ‘ers or even days. Only just had the cover repaired from damages due to protruding metal on canal lock & concrete landing stage on the Thames last season. Ridiculous….  The ‘old’ cover never received such brutalities.

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Now skip needs to get Bart into the lock without further incident. If possible. Don’t like that strong cross-current. Why do they do that. Stupid idea to have water flows where one duth not need it. Flow it out further away from the lock & in a downstream direction PLEASE !!  Not across the canal. Stupido !!!   Lister on ‘high’ revs to the fore we go. the fore is steered to starboard, into the cross-flow as much as is sensibly possible & then the stern is ‘kicked’ hard, over to starboard at just aboat the right moment to prevent Bart’s port side being broadsided into side of the bridge/lock entrance area. Not wot we calls enjoyable boating. Takes a fair while to fill the chamber, even though the water flow is of a tormenting nature. Have experienced many many moor pleasant large locks in our many ‘ers of cruising during past cruises. Yes. The K&A is already making an impression on crew of Bart. Southcote Lock tis knot many a furlong ahead. A moor pleasant experience here. We is now in the look-oat for a pleasant mooring. Map identified moorings local to the Cunning Man (strangely fellow we thought) not particularly inviting so on we cruise, swimming to & up Burghfield Lock. Some very tight bendy bits think they have the better of Black Bart but No they not be so. Managed to get through without any trouble. Had enough of that already today. Not want any moor. Yes. We do. We moor. Just a tittle West of Burghfield Mill. Just aboat managed to squeeze in a tighty spotty aft-er the last of the current bends. No udder boats aboat. Bart bee still floating too !!  Burghfield Meadow. Lovely !!

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A large open tree lined area this be.

Just to ourselves.

Cept for the occasional walker, doggy

& a plethora of cyclists.

Almost a peloton.

(Not really).

Lovely location.

Most Suitable.

‘Walking the plank’ is a smight Interesting.

Saturday 22nd April      A right lazy start to this first day of the weekend. Very quiet here. No boats going past. We have visitors enroute via car. A Fine Car indeed (it turns oat later) Skip is just a tittle jealous. Maybe agin sumday. J&D from Germany with whom we shared the last dregs of the Grand Union Canal & the Fabulous Tidal Thames jaunt from Brentford to Teddington Sept/Oct 2015 have been hire n’boating the western reaches of the K&A. They be on their way aft home now, via Harwich. They park & walk quite a way to find us in the ‘middle of nowhere’. Great to see them. Lovely couple. Tea, cake & muchly fruity brown sauce is taken the pleasure of. J&D have a’nudder boat to catch so we walk back with them to their car (very nice) & following hugs’n’kisses we wave them goodbye. Invitation to Germany has been offered. Sounds Fantastic. May have to take them up on the offer in the not too distant future. Thanks ‘Guys’…..  Back to Bart to enjoy the rest of this delightful warm sunny day. We will stay here & enjoy this fine position. Skippet finishes Fabulous repairs to the ripped cratch cover. Darned A-Ma-Zing !!!  Looks Fantastic. Now the painting artistry continues on the leg of the cratch table. You would be amazed too…..

Sunday 23rd April

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Happy St. Georges Day to one & all.

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To where may we swim on/in the K&A today ??  Where indeed. Overslept a tittle. That’s OK. Cap’n Bart is surprisingly pleasant aboat this misdemeanour. Not his usual self this morn. Make the most of it crew. Won’t last. Eventually, regretfully we is gently cruising away from the meadow bye aboat ten. Tis knot long be-fore Bart & crew are ascending a lock, an’udder lock then negotiating a (powered) swing bridge. An’udder lock, a manual swing bridge, a powered sw/br, a lock, a p/sw/br, a lock, p/sw/br, lock, Aldermaston Wharf, (the up-ped) p/lift/br (actually being worked on by engineers so they kindly swung their temporary floaty bridge oat the way for our Bart), lock, (tight for 70′-er) Bendy bits&bobs, loads of weirs & sluices. Now you might (incorrectly) think that is it. No Cap’n Bart cries (not the teary sort) Aaaarrrggh !!! Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!  There is Moor….  There bee an’udder (Woolhampton) p/sw/br & a lock with a strong cross current (beautifully entering the canal from port side) between the two which enthusiastically pushes Bart off intended course for the awaiting lock. Luckily, skip just aboat manages to steer Bart through/roand it, although the well positioned corner of the lock entrance area (with the ‘protection’ wood buffering hanging off) does sum-wot add to the problem. Bart does make contact mid-way along starboard side, but later inspection proves we just aboat got away with this one.

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Now we have a m/sw/br, water chamber, m/sw/br, an’udder chamber & finally an’udder chamber of the wet stuff. Sum of them there manual swing bridges were blooming hard work. Very difficult to push. Even moor difficult to pull. Ridiculous !!!

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Them locks are right mean. Water flows is very strong.

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Mad !!  Makes for interesting Fun !!!

Helmsperson usually stays on board in wide locks & we duth not need to use the ropes. With these ‘ere chambers we is both off Bart & bow + either centre or stern ropes bee secured &/or held extremely firmly. We like it firm.  Stifficult !!  (translation – it’s difficult). Thatcham moves closer aft(er) it appeared on the horizon a tittle while ago. Bart creeps very slowly toward the one remaining position left on the visitor moorings. Not quite long’nough. Fortunately the boat (almost) behind us is able to move slightly. Now we creep in. Just made it. Fab !!   Thankyou boaty peoples. Very Kind. Now they be fully behind us. That we’re quite a day. A long cruise time wise. Just aboat averaged 1(& a bit) mile(s) an hour, with all the delaying tactics. Obstacles is we we shall call them. Please see above (if one requires any clarification). See you’ll tomorrow. Eventually…..

Monday 24th April      Real late this morn of this day. Even worse than yestermorn. Don’t matter me maties. We ain’t going too a-far from these wear-aboats. Might not be far but Wow !! takes blooming ages to get there, where-ever that may bee. Monkey Marsh Lock is  efficiently negotiated with help from a local chap who plays lock keeper regularly. Pleasant chap. Very helpful & informative.

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M/sw/br soonest follows with two moor large liquid lifts & an’udder m/sw/br two. Or we’re that too. Don’t tink it we’re to. Anyway, following the mastering of the English language we shall continue.

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Ham & Greenham Locks bring our quite short but longish time wise journey to a close as we be the only boat landed at Newbury’s Marvellous Victoria Park. It only be mid-aft so we the crew of three (& thirty eight toes) (you work it oat) (I’m not going to help this time) are off to check-oat the locke-al. We liked Newbury when we was ‘ere six years ago. Like it agin. A fine K&A stop if ever there be.

Tuesday 25th April      Tis wot one might technically specify as a static day. Boaty terms eh ??  can be muchly a confusing sort of plaice oat ‘ere on the water. Roxy chills, staying on Bart while we the reduced crew of four legs (twenty toes) (or bee it moor than that ??) (not shore) does sum proper Newbury jaunting. Not just checking it oat today. Griffins “Butchers on the Bridge” is Fab !!!  Remembered well from a few years back. With goodies bart-ered for, amongst udders, we visit Parsons Bakery for sum bread & dognuts. Guess they bees for our girl Roxy. Not the bread silly billies !!  Wot are you two (or is it three now) like ??   Friendly boaty neighbours pop roand for a drink & chitty chatties. Lovely !!   now thyme for some Proper Boaty   H-Aaaarrrggh-ty Barty Meat pie. Yum Tum in our Tum(mies) !!!  Slater…..

Wednesday 26th April      nb:Black Bart may be cruising the K&A today. We thinks ??  Mayhaps. Shall we head North ??  Should we swim South ??  Maybe float West ??  Possibly flow East ?? Dunno maties.  Lets wait & see……..  2 minutes later. No need to wait any longer. We be leaving Newbury aft. Newbury Lock landing stage is mean. Aboat half the length of Bart. The K&A is definitely not lavish with the length of it’s lock moorings. Thankfully, the ‘threatened’ cross current across Bart’s ‘exposed’ rear second half was hardly there. Those K&A below lock cross currents are such a wonderful idea !!  Having safely climbed the lock Bart is creeping by the soonest swung bridge & pulling in carefully behind Ozzie’s fuel boat. Aft 13kg gas bottle bart-ered for & chitty chats our Cap’n takes control & exerts sum discipline. At Last !!  Aaaarrrggh !!!  Lister & friends propel us all fore-ward. The locks & their ‘playful’ paddle ‘controlled’ watery flows come & go…. A fair few bee finally aft of us & we on final approach to Dreweat’s chamber. Knot sure wot bee going on ahead. Can see a chap taking a rope across the bridge ‘below’ the lock. He jogs down to talk to us before we reach the lock waiting mooring. It be the Kennet Horse Boat Company & their Fantastic horse drawn boat.

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Fantastic Creature !!  We hang back so they can exit the bottom (Oh !!  that’s a naughty word) lock gates & wind the horsey boat roand & re-enter the lock to re-ascend. Great to see the work involved with the ropes & horse control to help wind the wide beam trip boat 180 deg. Bart’s lines are secured

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& we wander up to continue seeing this marvellous sight. Loved that. Brilliant !!

Aft we bee waving goodbye Bart is back on it. Lock emptied. We is ascended & fore-ward propulsion is ‘ere agin….  The horsey trip boat has moored just below Kintbury lock & is unloading her ‘cargo’. Bart creeps bye carefully & climbs to find a fine berth for a few ‘ers or mayhaps even moor…..

Thursday 27th April      Static Thursday it bee. Recent evenings have been chilly. The nights have been blooming cold. Need to rejuvenate the kindling ‘pot’ which be completely empty. One of the hand axes is chittied out & put to good use. Sum-tym (quite a lot later really) we finally have the quite large ‘pot’ full. Overflowing. Almost. The last of the winter woodstock is dug oat the dark corners of the roof boxes & split with that wonderful wood splitting tool. The wood basket is filled for the last time. Nothing left. Oh !!  Really !!!  Those roof boxes are actually almost full again already. Yes, but that bee ‘fresh’ wood. Cap’n Black Bart he say wees not allowed to use that wood until next winter. Far too fresh. Might need to hunt down some older ‘downed’ tree parts so we have sum backup for Squirrel. The saloon’s ‘hot box’. Amongst udder boaty tings, skippet has been exercising those talented fingers (& hands of course). The sewing skills are being shown to their best. You may never be lucky enough to see for yourselves. You mayhaps just ‘av to trust skip’s view on the matter. Wonderful !!

Friday 28th April     nb:Black Bart’s lines are slipped And Lister & Co. are slowly & calmly proceeding our home & us two (sorry, three) (you fool) West. We is continuing swimming through the beautiful countryside that we enjoying in these ‘ere (slowly) increasingly westerly parts.

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The watery ascending continues. Fourth (Hungerford) lock is soonly followed up by Church swingbridge be-fore the steady supply of lifting chambers keep on approaching over the horizon.

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The next chamber being Hungerford Marsh lock interestingly shares it’s space with Marsh Swingbridge. One must remember to swing open the bridge before filling the chamber with water. That would be Far worse than bad. Hope nobody has ever forgotten. Would be a mite moor than careless. There be moor than an’udder dozen watery lifts before Cap’n Bart calls an end to these particular ‘proceedings’ with his customary Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties.  The bay of Great Bedwyn is a fine (knot soo) deep pool of off-milky like liquid. Should be safe four a few ‘ers or so of static floatery. See’ya….

Saturday 29th April     Following the (moor aboat time than pure mileage) very long cruise & many climbing chambers of yesterday we is staying put we are. A very sloppy-jo sort of morn. We go three a walk (knot four) int’ Great Bedwyn. A Splendid plaice it bee. The Three Tuns might be a visit during our Easterly return of the K&A. A fine watering hole from the six year old section of crew’s memory banks. The village stores are well equipped & the post office/bakers (n’udder bits&bobs) is a fine establishment. The local health food that be Lardy bread (remembered flavourably in those M.Banks) is legally acquired & a slither or two enjoyed with a Fine yorky brew on our return home to Bart. Skippet is now starting the complex task of painting roses on the (smaller) first planting trough. A Darned impressive first stage is successfully completed. Final tweaking likely in the coming days. We all shall wait with baited breath..  Summit else for one & all to look fore-ward too.

Sunday 30th April     Rising (almost) with the lark, the many extra ropes & mooring pins (Pins. That’s a joke. Moor like huge stakes) (any vampires out there want to play) (Don’t mess with Cap’n Black Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!) (He be a Fine Cap’n but one mean so & so) (that were the ‘nice’ way of putting it maties !!) are extracted from the waterway’s surrounding land. Who pounded those in tuther day ??  Blooming hard work getting them back out. At least they didn’t loosen one tittle bit whilst doing their job. Bart’s resting position for the last few ‘ers had been half on/half off the end of the berthings with that big fat ass (not that large really) sticking out due to lack of floatation (at that deeper drafted stern). Tis why moor lines were added to ensure tings were proper-like secure. Sum-thyme later Lister is finally able to guide Bart’s propulsion buddies into fore-ward motion. We creep bye the statics & busy water berth(ing pool) onto our first (Church) Lock chamber of the day’s cruise. We have lock companions for this ‘ere cruise. nb:Chelsea & her fine crew of three are indeed good chamber maties to cruise with. Beech Grove & Longmans Cottage Locks lead our two narrowboats on & into Crofton Locks. All seven of them lifting Bart & friend up a fair few feet (toes too) (moor than two toes)

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past the Crofton beam engine pumping station & up to the summit. We have not yet had any sticky moments with the old draught/draft issue. Tis a tittle shallow but not sufficient to cause too much sticksion. The Bruce Tunnel appears from behind the undergrowth. a pleasantly 502 yards short. That only bee aboat 459 metres of darkness. Knot even that dark. Nut-ting like them long tunnels Bart has swum on occasion. Where one certainly learns wot ‘Dark’ really means.

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Bart leads our very short convoy through the dark(ish) brick lined tube. Cadley Lock lowers us two cruise down a few feet from the summit. Brimslade Lock is there ahead. And below. Cosied up together we are descending most amicably. Bottom (sorry !!  Naughty word agin) lock gates opened. We might have a problem here. Both gates are failing to open fully. Bart is 70′. Chelsea is 58′. We try to evacuate the lock. One. Then t’udder tries. & agin…  No Knot ‘appening. Pole be prodded into the dark dingy depths of the water behind re-closed gates. Cannee find any obvious under water obstruction hiding down there. OK. Knot going any-wear noi. Lower paddles closed. upper paddles re-opened. Lock re-filled with water. With upper gates opened, Chelsea reverses back out of the re-fueled chamber. Gates closed. Water is leaked back out the lower paddles & Bart finally escapes the lock. Lock is now re-filled again & Chelsea enjoys her turn at the lonely lock experience. We is both crews through safely. Individually. A splendid nights mooring berth like is found in this between locks pound. unusual for the K&A (from recent experience) there even be armco. Nappy pins being the perfect linking tool to provide secure floatery for a while or two.

Monday 1st May      Wow an’udder Bank Holiday. Congratulations everybody. Have a Day off. If you is lucky. Sorry if you cannee or just is not allowed. Cap’n Black Bart may well be (is) a bit of a nasty so & so (he is a ‘good’ pirate so has to be a meany sort of blokey) but we the crew is permisioned to ‘ave a few ‘ers rest. Although we be resting, we is ‘required’ to ‘do a few chores’ apparently. Where sum of you might be (on occasion) partaking of a tittle house work. We is partaking of our very similar version. A tittle Boaty work. No-ting too trying. Just a few bits&bobs. Most too ‘normal’ to bover mention like. One very rare job, even ‘ere on the Good ‘ship’ Black Bart is to play with the stern fenders. Last happened when Bart was drip dried + a tittle air drying too, over two years ago. Was sum-wot moor involved than just that comment can divulge. A fair bit costly two. Much moor than two to be exact. The whole process, simplified, were – 1 Lift Bart out of water. 2 Pressure/jet wash hull & base plate. 3 Move Bart to blast/paint shop. 4 Grit blast hull including base plate. 5 Molten Zinc spray hull & base plate. 6 Finish spray paint hull & base plate black with two-pack epoxy. 7 Paint gunnels/gunwales full length port & starboard with heavy grit finish in black. 8 Spray paint cream band at stern & strips at bow. Twer moor detailed & timely than that can ever hope to explain, but at the end, one of the final works were to re-instate bow & stern fenders. Back to today….

Yes indeed. The stern fenders ??  you may ask. During our craft & cruise climbing expedition between Reading & the ‘Summit’ al’a’Bruce Tunnel – we ‘ave found quite a few lock gates difficult to close behind our bart, after entering (water) empty locks. Has to be said them locks were (obviously) knot completely empty, udder-wise we ain’t swimming int’chambers any-which-way or udder !!!  ‘Empty’ being in the ‘down’ position like ready for boats & cruise of 1 personage or moor to enter & commence a climb. So-to-speak. Hope that hath clarified any of thow’s confusion that wure likely to ‘ave been caused or even created. There. Settled that OK-Y-Dokely likely !!  Back to the present (real world) (knot sure aboat that !!) (Bart World then) (Yes !! Bart World). Stern fenders had to be pulled up to closed gate aft of bart’s rump. Bart bee on the edge of too long in sum of these climbs lifty tings. With the last ten locks to climb up to the summit, in front of our convoy due (Italian there for you’ll) we change tack. Bart enters a lock. Uno (your getting it now ??? Yeh !!) gate is closed. Bart swishes over in front of said gate. nb:Chelsea chugs in next to Bart. Gate numero due is closed. Now Time To Arise (Sir Galahad) (Sorry !!  Wrong story) (Arthurian legend) (King Arthur’s Round Table and his Merry Men) (Sorry !!  Knights). Stern Fenders. That where we bee. Possibly. Bart’s bottom (sorry !!) has due traditional Manila Tipcat (me thinks) (or similar) rope fenders back-to-back + a button rope fender (which being the rear most, is starting to fray due to many a gently touching (naughty, but nice). Fenders held in position with chains & ‘D’shackles. All removed, Stern band area scrubbed clean. Firsto (Italian agin) Manila Tipcat positioned & secured. Secondo (no need to explain this one EH !!) Manila Tipcat positioned straighto onto backo of firsto. Finally, the button fender, swished roand 180° to (hide) protect the bash-ed face is mounted & secured int’position.

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Looks OK. They don’t droop down so much either. Much better.

Tuesday 2nd May      No bank ‘oliday for us & no-one else eiver. or maybe that were neiver. One might never know. Cap’n Black Bart He say. He never really ‘says’ anyting. He just shout, holler & cry (knot in the wet eyed weepy way eiver maties). Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!  !!!   Moor work to do. Skip has been scavenging wood during recent weeks. Already stocking up for next winter. The ‘BIG’ stuff needs the chainsaw. That will ‘ave to wait. The smaller bits can be cut with the bowsaw. Has to be recorded in the ‘ships’ log & the blog. That were hard work. Took a long time. Had to take a few rests to break the strain a tittle. Worth doing though as all the current stock now fits in the roof boxes. Nice & neat & tidy it be. No need for the silly ‘bee’ there. Me knot tinks. There is even a tittle space left for some moor so skip will still bee keeping those beady eyes open for woody opportunities. Skippet has been going on long walks with Roxy the last couple of days. Now back to Bart, those flowing creative fingers & brushes are at play agin. The first ‘greened’ planter trough had been painted with roses & foliage. Now the second, larger (‘greened’ also) (planter also) trough is being adorned with roses a’plenty & moor of those green organs borne by the stem of a plant. That was real clever wern-it !!

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The smaller trough being finished, is earth filled & overladen with plants & foliage. Beautiful !!  A FINE addition to the green roof. In moor ways than one.

Wednesday 3rd May     The question is ‘Has Skip gone MAD !!!  ??   No, Skip just be content in one’s own cruise (sorry !!  should be crew’s) tittle World. Bart World !!!  Our craft & crew have been in this hear berthing pool for far too long. Cap’n Black Bart is getting an itchy bum !!  First Mate (Roxy) is too. But that’s knot an unusual occurrence in these ‘ere parts. Lister is ‘fired’ up, lines free-ed, nappy pins safely stored & Bart is moving gently to the fore. We join a hire boat in the lock & share the downward experience. Hire boat departs first, swimming towards next chamber. Just above the aqu-lift they stop fore water. Bart needs to re-fuel two, but as the remaining gap behind them is a tittle too cramped for long old Bart we creep by & moor in front of the berthed boat ahead.

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Once they is on there way agin Bart reverses back past the udder moored crafted & refuelling begins. Almost empty. Handy though as the washing machine (Yes !!  We have one of those too) has finished doing it’s job. Lots of lovely clean clothes to hang up now. Great having Lister chuggen away in here. Perfect for drying the clothes. Every one should have a Lister !!  or two !!!  Udder (lesser) options are mayhaps available. We duth knot really know though. Refuel complete Bart creeps forward int’chamber. Upper gates closed, lower paddles open, water flowing oat, lower gates open & Bart is cruising onwards. We is knot swimming too far today so is on lookout for a suitable berthing pool.  There be a water works sign (a bit like a road works sign, but moor wet) ahead. Knot sure what be going on. Will proceed with caution. Can see a floating obstruction in the distance, blocking the watery path ahead. We slow down even moor, flipping between very gentle forward propulsion & neutral as were creep towards

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the canal bed excavation team dredging the waterway. Good to see this taking plaice. a tug pulls the large open barge out of the way, to behind the barge with the excavator. Black Bart is waved through. Our passage continues. Thankyou guys.

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Knot much further along we can see a Big Monster lunging out from behind the trees.

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The muddy slime filling this open barge is being unloaded. The untied barge is floating around, being cleverly positionally controlled by the excavator’s ‘helmsman’ as & when & where he needs it to be. As we float gently ever closer towards this scene the excavator bucket is held in the barge to secure it’s position so we can be safely pass. Cheers Matey. On Bart swims. Aft passing under/through New Mill Bridge we tentatively check towpath side of canal’s depth. Knot ‘appening. Onward. Milkhouse Water Bridge ain’t much further along our watery path. Just aft-er, a handful (big hand obviously) of boats (wide & narrow) be moored, spaciously positioned along the stretch of water ahead of Bart. At the fore of the static ‘queue’ we decide to creep in very gently likely. The bank is quite low & reedy amongst udder greenery, sloping up to the main footpath. That’s OK. There be a tittle clearing in the greenery making for a perfect location to position the fore-well for easy egress from Bart (boat) to land. Even moor amazing. Our lovely Home is still floating too. Quite incredible. Great position. Should do us fine for a few weeks……  Slater……  (“See you later” is what we bee meaning with that simple tittle ‘word’)

Thursday 4th May      Tis a windyness to the air oat there. Knot going nowhere is exactly where we is going today. Knot Barticass anyway. Crew is off for a walk further West along the towpath. At Pewsey Wharf the eight legged crew is away from the waterway, changing tack. Heading South into Pewsey proper like. Lovely village. Fine bakery. Managed to walk oat with sum of that Fine Health food. The local Lardy bread. Every tittle helps as they say roand these ‘ere parts. A fair few fine establishments in Pevisigge as it were when be Saxon homestead of Wessex. Fine acquisitions in the local Prospect hospice charity shop. We duth like frequenting the such. Care in approach can be most satisfying when you occasionally make that ‘find’. Back to Bart we is a’walking…..

Friday 5th May      We should be ‘hanging’ (floating, really) aroand as Summit is (apparently) going to ‘appen in these ‘ere parts, sum-tym Sunday. That is ages away so Cap’n & crew make a descision. Similar to a ‘decision’, but there be a finite difference between the two. When you (possibly) have worked that one oat, don’t come to us ‘ere on the good ship (vessel) Black Bart. Thankyou…  A tittle jaunt down the canal is called for. We is refuelling the water well on our way through Pewsey, then making haste to sumwhere called Honey Street. Sounds almost dewey. We don’t actually quite make it to such a delightfully sweet place. We is just passed under Alton Valley Bridge & the winding begins. A 180 is wot sum might bee’a saying. That wind has really picked up in the last while or so. Blooming MAD !!! Open land on stretches to the North of the canal affording no protection. Bart is coping quite well. Just aboat holding position. We attempt a landing by the wide water (a miniature version of Tixall Wide on the Staff&Worcs) just East of Ladies Bridge. Lovely name for a bridge. Too shallow. No-ting happening. Shall continue back East. Through Pewsey & past our position of this morn. Bart is successfully winding through the 180 agin. We finally moor exactly where we started right at the commencement of this aft’noon. What Fun !!!   (spealt it correctly for once) (Just for you). Can only be a few mm from where twas floating be-fore.

Saturday 6th May      We are going on a real cruise today. Literately, along the rest of this straight, roand the corner (to port), under Pains Bridge, roand the corner (to starboard) & Bart just aboat manages to land (quite literately) with the bow into the ‘official’ mooring zone & the stern hanging off the end, & out away from the bank as Bart as to sum degree (knot 180 mind) beached. Bow rope secured to one of the proper rings & a nappy pin (on the armco for good measure) centre rope secured to last available ring & now the stern line to arrange. Two mooring stakes & the big club hammer is oat & readied. Positioned agreed, stakes is driven into the hard ground. Stern rope is too short to return back to Bart for tying off. Bart’s rump is sum-way off the land. Except for the land she be resting on, under water of course. The spare ‘long’ rope (remaining of the original centre ropes) is acquisitioned from storage via the usual. Quartermaster. Goes withoat saying. Really. All Good. Safe & secure. Following a much earned rest (aft our very long cruise) we, the reduced crew of two (& four legs only) (1st mate staying with Cap’n Bart) is off for food therapy. A smidge likely retail therapy, but we is buying food knot clothes & the like. Simples. Larder cupboard (Yes !!) & fridge (Yes !!!) (that two) (should already know that bye now) restocked we can start to enjoy our new temporary surroundings. Very nice. Birds are a chirping. Fish are a splashing. Ducks are a pecking (on the hull, as ‘normal’), bugs & tings is flitting aroand, boats is cruising bye & the Beautiful rolling Wiltshire hills are Fab !!!  Cannee get much better.

Sunday 7th May      Bart has been cleaned to within an inch of the dirty marks this morn. Looking quite respectable agin. The clouds are clearing a tittle & the Sun has definitely gotten that hat on tis aft’noon. Solar panels are sucking all that juice in, with BIG Smilies. Skippet is now baking. Wicked !!  Malt Loaf. Fabulous !!!  Aaaarrrggh !!!  Cap’n Black Bart duth these tittle beauties two. Cap’n hath sum news for crew two. Three crew actually skip. Fool !!   Guests are on their way. By method of a strange four wheeled beast. Knot sure how that works. Cannee float very well one would have tought ??  or propel very well through the old wet stuff !!  Knot to worry. Shall see when they is gotten ‘ere. Stuck in a lock or summit we bet, at the mo’ so will knot be ‘ere til’later. We shall just float aboat (almost static) (got’allow a tittle movement in our floaty Barty world we lives) & enjoy the warm (windy-less) a’noon……  Ahoy !!  Ahoy there Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!  Sailors ‘ave been spotted from the crows nest. Long way up there mate !!  They is just popping over the ‘orizon noiw cap’n. Thank Goodness for that…..

Monday 8th May      With new additional crew on board we is swimming off quite early. Work day ya’no !!  Gently creeping towards Pewsey Wharf for Barticus refreshment. An’udder boat be blocking water point mooring, which duth knot make Skip particularly ‘amused’. Bart ‘rafts up’. They will be “getting water in a while“. They can “stay here for up to an ‘er” apparently, according to the CRT sign. They is told “That be only while you is actually filling her up“. Stupido Fool !!  We is fortunately, on our way fairly quick like as this water flow is very enthusiastic. Handy. Nice for a change. Cap’n Bart commands Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties and we ‘set sail’. Proper like now. Slow progress though. Knot much wind oat ‘ere & regular landed craft encourage our sofa sloth swim. The Delicious Honey Street is no doubt leading (if we ain’t already there, of course) craft & crew along

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the Vale of the White Horse. May need to ‘correct’ that.

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We have past one ‘White Horse’. Knot long aft & we is pasting an’udder. This beast she be facing East. Tuther were facing West. No idea what if any significance their be (or mayhaps knot be). The oat-post All Cannings hath inviting moorings which may well be utilised for a future passage. Today we keep-a-moving to&thru Allington swing bridge & sum-tym later, Bishops Canning swing bridge two.

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Tis likely (mayhaps) a couple moor miles or so & the final ‘run’ into Devizes Wharf is trickling our way. This slow jaunt pasting many a landed ship has taken an (almost) amazing nye-on five ‘ers. Mad !!  Twas knot even one hundred furlongs of watery paving stones on this cruise. Average cruising speed. Quite Impressive !!  Work it oat, but just don’t tell us. We duth knot wish (or even want) to know. Yeh !!  Spelt proper like for once. Yeh !!!  (agin).  Tis only early-ish aft’noon  so we take a leggy sort of jaunt (knot a wet, propulsiony, swimmy type one) to Wadworth Brewery to sample a few of their fine liquids. Yummy Yummy in our Tummy(es). Don’t really know how on earth we managed to get back home. But We Did !!!

Tuesday 9th May      Floating in a(n) (almost) static sort of way. Devizes is the place to stay. One (or even moor of you) mayhaps believe nb:Black Bart cruised gently into this historical market town (well known & much liked by the inland waterway peoples of this Fine country of ours) (& udder personages no-doubt too) yesterday. You would be right. Yeh !!!  We is now walking (knot floating) down the canal (Yes it be definitely ‘down’ as there be a few locks dropping water roand here) for a while we is descending & then a’rising, back up agin. Roxy gets a good run fore & aft as she tends to when we is just a’walking aroand. Back to the wharf, Roxy trogs off to Bart while we is off to town to check a few tings oat. Amongst udders we find a Most Fine establishment of hardware sales & then some. Mainly’s. Highly recommended. Then not very far away we is almost falling over an’udder Most Fine establishment of hardware sales & then some. Roses. High Rec !!  Agin. Unusual, but Most Impressive !!

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We is just recovering back on Bart when this Fabulous tittle craft chugs bye. The rest of this most wonderful joyous day is just far to good to be able to tell you lot aboat. ‘Lot’ is probably a tittle bit of an over exaggeration. Although there may-well be the odd one or two of you tittle bloggets oat there, sum-wear……

Wednesday 10th May      Cruise we must. Cap’n Bart duth suffer from an itching bum (very naughty word) (Sorry !!) if we is ‘sitting’ aroand too long. Roxy seems to get an itchy bum (Sorry !!!) (agin !!) too, once in a while. Specially when she be a smite excited. Funny Girl !!   Lister chuggen beautifully (as always). Bart reverses back past four (or were it five) (knot sure) (who cares) boats, ‘thru’ the winding hole (look it up maties) & then even moor craft. A pleasantly successful ‘trip’ to the service station allows certain tings to ‘appen. Black Bart moves back in a fore-wardly (very confusing statement Skip) propulsioned direction & then comes The BIGGY !!!  The Caen Hill Locks. All twenty nine of them big wide chambers. Yes you have read that write-ly. There be a fair few ahead. Below too, be moor exacting. We share the first few watery ‘baths’ with an’udder boat. It’s always Good To Share. Tis Only ‘single handed’ though, so no ‘extra’ locking crew available. Typical !! Down we go. All going quite well. First few locks (almost) ‘professionally’ dealt with by our Master Lock-keeper & the two trainy novices (who be hitching a floaty ride on Bart for a few days) (got to earn their keep). Only four in (down) & our single handed (think he actually had two ‘complete’ hands, to be a trifle pedantic) chamber companion (that could be mis-understood) (Sorry Your Honour !!) is leaving us. Friend’s have arrived & they is stopping mid pound, four wot we do not k-now….

nb:Black Bart, Cap’n Black Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!  Skip, Skippet, 1st Mate And (the newbies) Cap’n Kinsale & Cap’n Polyvert is a’continuing to&thru the descending scene that be opening out in front of us. Two moor swiftly swum down & there the Beast lays……

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A Fantastic sight. Sixteen Beauties all lined up. One aft tuther !!  And Blooming Marvellous it Certainly is too. Off we go, enjoying a spiral of watery descent-ion. Just like a well watered machine. We have successfully played with a few udder Biggies in the past, but one cannee call oneself a proper boater if on ain’t done this one too, eh !!

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Lovely Bart Mate. Cheers Mate !!!

Wot a Fantastic day to be part of this incredible waterway spectacle. A sight to behold.

The Fantastic Engineer John Rennie can hold his head up very high.

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Our 1st Mate ‘Roxy’ (we dunee ‘ave any cabin buoy ‘ere maties) is enjoying oneself Mostly Muchly Likely. Running between the locks. Running aroand the locks. Loving It !!

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They Just Keep a’Coming

And Bart & Crew + two keep a’working them gates & a’lifting them paddles

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Achievement !!  Success !!!  We depart this mamouth task. Bart is cruising out of bottom lock. Well Done Everybody. Time for a wee rest.

Sorry guys & gals !!

& dog (Sorry !!) (1st mate)

There be an’udder seven chambers ‘lightly’ sprinkled ahead. Knot quite like the giant’s stairway (now) to aft. Knot quite. On we go. Seven…….   Six……   Five…..   Four….   Three…   Two..   One.    Sorted !!  Yeh !!!

Twenty nine lock chambers (Thousands of wet gallons),

237 feet (many many toes),

2 miles (‘orizontally)

All un-climbed in Four & a half hours.

A-Maz-Ing !  !!   !!!

Where shall we go now ??  Boats going up the Caen Hill flight have warned us the pound ‘below’ bottom lock is quite busy. Luckily, just past the lock waiting berths there is a single Bart length visitor mooring begging for our immediate attention. Attention it certainly gets. Crew decide it be time to chill aft the last few ‘ers of muchly water descent-ion. Bart be opposite Foxhangers Wharf. A fine place to spend a wee while floating static like. There be sum walkings & sum boaty scrubbings taken place to finish off the warm sunny aft’noon. Lovely.

Thursday 11th May      A cloudy sunny warm day encourages us to continue our voyage of K&A discovery. Bart leaves Foxhangers as we head in a generally West direction,

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via Sells Green, squeezing bye two swungingly bridges & there now be five moor loweringly chambers swishing craft & (increased) cru past Seend Cleeve. A sprinkled triplet of swingingly swung bridges leads our gliding twenty four tonne (or so) of Barticus to

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& then downly thru Semington’s duo of Locks. All closely followed by an’udder swingly swung bridge. Just going back to the locks, one of the crew off (literately) the hire boats locking just ahead of Bart suddenly is very wet. Possibly even could be termed as quite Soggy. !! Splash !!  He’s OK so no need for co-crews to panic as they seem to be. All starting to calm down now. One moment he we there. The next he were knot !!  Aft a couple of attempts he finally hauled oat the canal. Time to commence the old ‘drip dry’ technique we suggest.

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The new neighbours are packed & ready for the off. Just going away for ten days…..

Stern/back/aft to our particular cruising, we troggingly chuggen along the watery ‘trough’ passing Hilperton/Trowbridge,into the final reaches of our enlargened crew’s voyage. nb:Black Bart is gliding as undisturbingly as is swimmingly possible, the many statics lining the towpath bank of the canal. This slow, rotating bridges & lock chambered swim has taken a fair old while & our late aft’noon arrival might prove inconvenient. No sufficient space appears to exist as we is approaching the end, aboat to prepare for an inevitable impending (next) lock descent. Our luck is in !!  Skip be stopping mid channel, talking to an’udder skipper. If he can move a tittle, Bart might be able to just aboat squeeze in. Our new friend is able & willing to adjust said berthing location, squishing up to the previous craft & we slips into the ‘new’ end berth. Just before the ‘watering hole’ !!    Cannee believe our luck. Great position opposite Bradford Wharf. Fabulous !!!

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Lovely Food & drinkies at the Barge Inn Roands the cruise off Beautifully !!!

Friday 12th May      Tis a Sad day. Lazy day also. There be some grumpy faces amongst the crew this morn. Special treats including bacon (knot for all), scrambled egg, tomatoes, toast & far too many udder wonderful tings to mention. ‘Real’ coffee too. Bags packed temporary staff are escorted off the premises & followed to the bus stop. Hugs & kisses & sadly goodbyes. They is off on an’udder voyage of discovery. Hopefully, there mayhaps be a car at the end of that half, followed by a long drive for the second. Thanks Cru for all your locking & swungly-swing bridging. Fantastic. You is both getting a tittle closer to being signed off as competent crew. One Day…..

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Skip & Skippet go for a wander into Bradford-on-Avon.

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A Wonderful Wiltshire Town perched on a hillside in t’ Avon Valley. Love it !!!

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Saturday 13th May      Good Morning !!  We the crew of three are staying put in Bradford-on-Avon. Apart from a foody expedition & doggy walkings, tittle else is ‘appening roand ‘ere. Fine by us. Specially our Roxy. Bet you enjoys days like tis too. If you dunee. You must be fools. Ciao for niao.

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Sunday 14th May      A sharp start to this last day of the current weekend. Re-aquafueled & ready for a watery journey we are. Udder boats already creating a queue for the downward Bradford Lock. Knot waiting too long. Bart shares with a hire boat & first time crew of nervous, ladies. Skippet takes control of the situation to keep tings together & flowing nicely. Down we be. Onward we propulse. Tis a slow (even for Barticus) relaxed swim along

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tree (sheep too) & narrowboat lined wateriness. A while on

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& we be sharp to starboard, tacking on(in)to the Avoncliff Aqueduct. Cannee see too much from where we is, but great position. High above the River Avon & the doubled twin tracks of the famous GWR. Mayhaps stop soon to have a proper like looksee. Sharp to port as we depart the magnificent water trough in the sky. Attempts to static-ness a shortness on fail. Bart duth land but even Skip would struggle to negotiate that jump without impending doom & injury. Onwards crew. Onwards helmsperson. Onwards Bart. To the fore we do indeed continue, aft we finally unstuck ourselves from the bottom. (No need for that).

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Quite handy (footy, really) having these ‘escape’ routes for any fool who wants to accidentally go for a ‘plunge’. We chuggen on through moor woodland & valley edge, in amongst were hiding Limpley Stoke. Make of that, which & wot you will.

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Knot many ‘ers to the fore & Bart is sharping tack to port

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& swimming the dizzy (quite literately)

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(Cannee get down yet ??)

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(It’s quite scary. Please ??)  heights of the Dundas Aqueduct where we again leap over the river & GWR.

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Safely floated across helmsperson sharp tacks to starboard & crew spy a fine mooring option ahead. The Somerset Coal Canal (wot be left of it) is to stern aft’Bart hath tacked North off l’aqua-chute. Didnee even know it existed. Have to look into that one. For an’udder day. Anyhows, Bart & crew ‘av (knot landed) as we be still floating. Thank goodness for that eh Maties !!  Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!  Duth the Fearsome Cap’n Black Bart cry…..

Monday 15th May      A cool soggy day it be. Mayhaps static-tise ‘ere for now.

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The Somerset Coal Canal opened in 1801 after a few constuctional trials. Swishing ten watery miles from/to Paulton. Included a branch to/from Radstock. Unfortunately closed in 1898. The current 200 metre arm leading to Brassknocker Basin Twas re-born in 1988 to create many a berth for locals & a splattering of hire boats too.

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The Dundas Aqueduct in all her Glory. Engineers John Rennie & John Thomas at their Very Best. And with the expert capabilities of James McIlquham & his ‘crew’ who built her. So all WE can sail in (across) her. Mighty Fine !!!

Tuesday 16th May      A cloudy but warm(ish) atmosphere welcomes us to the sixteenth. Cap’n Black Bart & crew is arisen early & Lister starts a’cruising pretty early. We keep the pace down due to repeated statics floating almost still-like, generously spread ahead (fore) (& slowly) becoming steadily behind us (to aft). Millbrook swung bridge helps guide craft & cru bye Claverton pumping station. Sum-wile later, the aptly named Bathampton pivoted swinging bridge leads all to the very handy Bathampton services. Jobs done, Lister & old prop are rotating gently to allow Bart to swim on. Although we be on the final-ish approach to Bath, Folly Bridge becomes our temporary ‘address’. Were knot convinced Bart would manage, but a successful static-ness is achieved. Cannee get fully in, but with a tittle jumping & line-staking & finally, plank ‘erecting’, safe egress can be performed with style. Skip is off to find the local foody source. Earlier map studies have identified a possible footly route to permit Bart-erings for much needed supplies. Skippet & 1st mate stay & guard Bart. Down the steps, along the path, under the railway (keeping as low as is sensibly possible), along the path, across the River Avon (trying knot to get two wet) (feet), tacking South-West through Kensington Meadow & there the quartermaster stores is, hiding amongst the woody woodland that be full of trees & sum-udder greenery tings. Following the usual Bart-erings the almost torturous return journey is completed & our very large larder facilities are rejuvenated. Yeh !!!   Cap’n Black Bart notices it has started to rain. It continues raining. Consensus be to remain static-ly ‘ere MatiesAaaarrrggh !!!  Knot worth trying to get too wet. Knot today, anyhows !!

Wednesday 17th May      The K&A is swishing nb:Black Bart And all who ‘sail’ in her, to Bath on this day. The fore-cast rain starts just as we be readying Barticus for the day’s cruise. No-muchly air-drying to look fore-ward to-to-day. A tittle glide through the last horizontal stretch of the K&A And We four (five to be moor exacting) commence descent-ion of the six wide Bath Locks. Very handily, a CRT lock keeper appears from almostly no-where to aid the wonderfully smooth creamy flow of our Bart, water, lock gates, ground paddles, gate paddles, sluices & loads of udder technically tings you lot is likely to ‘av no-chance of understandably. Knot trying to be unkind or any-ting Maties. Aaaarrrggh !!!! 

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Delightful glimpses of the Wonderful architectural Bath stonework add to the enjoyment of our current downward journey. One, two,, three,,, four,,,, &

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(Quite a sharp turn to starboard) now we be trying to negotiate numero five,,,,,

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(Yes !!  Tis as deep as it feels) the 19’5″ deep monster (known as ‘Deep Lock’) (inspired)

P1190858(used to be two individual chambers a fair few years ago) (now one has been dug down & the udder one lifted up & ‘dumped’ on top) (summit like that anyhaps ??). Safely, & pleasantly lowered by beautifully controlled plug holes (well, there is a lot of water to evacuate)….

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And Now six,,,,,, (Yes !! the Sixth !!) the last on the downward stroke is emptied (knot completely like, udder-wise we would be stuck on a muddy soggy land-like lock bottom) (Sorry !!! ) (‘lock bottom’ sounds a bit like naughty words agin). Lower lock gates open & we is swimming into the wide deep waters of the ‘Bristol Avon’ to continue our voyage West……….  That rain has been in incessant. Suddenly, we realise it seems to have lessened considerably. Might be lucky here.

P1190875Can we have the chance to experience drip drying. Mayhaps even air drying ??

P1190878Even the birdies are going blooming crazy with happiness in relief.

NO !!  didn’t last long. It returns with a’vengeance. Westwards we wade on, meeting & greeting Newbridge where Weston lock presides. BIG, these Bristol Avon locks. Over seventeen feet (quite a few toes) wide & over eighty feet (far two many toes to even try & work oat) long. Quite deep is old Weston too. As we is swimming through the countryside proper we come across the obligatory rowers. Tis OK except for the ‘pairs’ craft which pulls across Bart’s bow. Fortunately, Cap’n Black Bart had slowed down in concerned anticipation. Now they be ‘mucking’ aboat right in front of us. Skippet very close to hollering some thoughts to them. Knot ‘appy with this. Could be dangerous thinking a craft like our Bart can stop suddenly, start, mayhaps stop suddenly (agin), ‘turn on a sixpence’ (a large seventy foot diameter one of course). Idiots. When we can safely regain forward propulsion Skip discusses ones concerns with the ‘instructor’ who be in a small powered craft further ahead, & sum-wot oblivious to the difficulties being caused by ‘their’ rowers.

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Onwards nb:Black Bart swims making good time agin. Crew are nigh on surpassing the point of soggy.

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Kelston, Saltford & Swineford Locks flow downward within a summit like twelve furlongs one would guess. none so deep as old Weston were (& still is(of that we no doubt).

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some of them weirs look Mighty Fearsome. Even Cap’n Bart might think twice aboat taken them on. Ah !!  the joys of perpetual rain. Crew are becoming increasingly soggy. That be inside the outer garments. Know wot we means ??  Need to land (but still float) (slightly confusing statement) soon. Tis knot many furlongs moor before we is gliding under Bitton Railway Bridge & there be a dolphin-ed floating pontoon ahead. There be one gap in between a single wide-ish boat & two rafted narrowboats. We is slowing down for a lookey likey. Knot sure Bart will fit. Worth a try. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and all that. What ever that means !!  ‘Av already floated past so reverse to stern we do, just creeping bye the rafted two & squeezing in before hitting the plastic to aft. Great cruise today. A good few miles swum. Over fives ‘ers of enthusiastic ‘watering’ from above. Well Done crew. Time to try & start drip drying off.

We is just sitting ‘ere, squirrel is bumbling away, trying to help the un-soggy-fying process. There be strange noises outside sum-wear. There be some choo-choos & some udder faintly familiar rumber-lings. It goes all quiet again. Sum-tym later. Slater. It ‘appens all again. Them ‘noises’ that is. Our inquisitive eyes going enquiring. There be a proper like steam train. Real exciting !!

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Map investigations tell crew it be the Avon Valley Railway. We wait quite a while to hear those wonderful sounds agin. There she be. Wonderful Site. A Proper Train !!!  Fabulous !!!  Great we ‘just happened’ to moor here, almost under Bitton Railway Bridge. Turns oat, plans are a’foot to extend this three mile long heritage railway all the way to Bath. Great if they can succeed. Will come back & find out one day. Looking fore-ward to that already……

Thursday 18th May      We ‘ere is very grateful for the dryness that be welcoming nb:Black Bart & crew on this fine day. We slip the lines quite early in the morn & cruising we are through the wiggerly watery world of the K&A. Wibberly wobberly this current flow definitely be through ‘ere maties Aaaarrrggh !!!

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Many a Permanent static moored craft is be congregating local to the unfortunately closed soap works. Aft-er that we be creeping bye this strange creature & it’s

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tumbling weir to descend the proper like way using Keynsham Lock. We be making good progress now the river be slightly moor gently curvaceous than above the water lift. The sharp bend which directs Bart to Hanham lock tries to catch us out but we is wise to that cheeky so-and-so. This BIG chamber be the end of CRT control. Bristol City Council be the Big chief now. Skippet phones ahead to check there be space for a real long narrowboat in Bristol Floating Harbour. Hope we Will be floating anyway. Don’t like the udder sort of harbour. Don’t even think aboat it, let alone say it. We are lowered & swimming oat of the chamber into the tidal waters of the Bristol (River) Avon.

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A pleasant ‘er of (calm) tidal flowing & Cap’n Black Bart Aaaarrrggh !!  Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!   is tacking to starboard & swimming through the open (upper & lower) gates of Netham Lock. Pull-over Skip. Ey Ey Cap’n !!  Crew pop up to see the Chief to Bart-er for & arrange a prime position for our ‘Floating’ (important word that) harbour experience. Moneys paid, Bart is off, propulsing through the long Feeder Canal,

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dodging the weird & wonderful critters lurking at the edge of the clearing. And now sharpy to starboard.

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Temple Quay Guides us to Tower Wharf before it now be sharpy to port,

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& bye Finzels Reach. Then that deliciously smelly cheese warehouse is whafting bye. Might go there later.

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Now Bart

& crew is

being watched.  Agin !!!

Knot sure it be

safe roand ‘ere !!!  !!!

 

Bart creeps under the unlifted bridge & while being chased by one of the fastly shifting ferry boats, soonly bye the open (but currently unswinging) (being worked on) bridge. As Bart tacks to starboard skip waves the cheeky chappy bye.

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Now we be floating beautifully & very gently into our intended floating (there’s be that word agin) pontoon. A security gate setup, bye the Arnolfini waterside arts warehouse. Perfect position write in the heart of tings. Already Loving It !!!

Aft sorting a few tings oat crew of three is off four (Sorry, three) a walk.

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A Verrry Longgg Walk it turns oat.

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That be ONE BIG LOCK !!!

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Swishes ships & boats out towards Avonmouth & beyond….

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When there be sufficient waters a’flowing oat there.

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Bye feet & toes (& paws) we traverse a fair portion of the harbour after a brief foray int’town. All of us crew might be a tittle k-nackered now. Bye !!  Slater …….

Friday 19th May      Tis a fairly lazy, recovery sort of floatingly static Barty Day in the Bristol Floating Harbour. Tis indeed !!!   Aaaarrrggh !!!  Me H-Aaaarrrggh-ties !!!  !!!

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Just some 1st mate (doggy) walkings in & aroand the local of the harbour.

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Wot ??  Moor ??  Poor Poochy !!!

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Barty boaty jobs, relaxing in the sun & a tittle quarter-mastering.

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This City of Bristol & the Floating Harbour which first made an appearance in 1809 is all just one Big Complete Marvellousness !!!

Now. Bloggets. It has to be noted in the Cap’ns Log (& of course the blog) that we are expecting the arrival of extra crew later today, so we must finish getting tings ship-shape.  See you’ll Later……

 

Black Bart has cruised West from the River Thames at Reading to Bristol Floating Harbour, swimming aboat 90 miles of the slightly Kantankerous Kennet & Avon Canal (including snippets of the River Kennet & the navigable stretch of the River Avon), crawling through one medium (Bruce) tunnel & two short (Sydney Gardens & Cleveland) tunnels, ascending 52 & descending 53 Big Wide lock chambers (including the six even Bigger Wider Longer Chambers of the Bristol River Avon), traversing one fully open & water levels level (Netham) lock, sailing over 10 strange channels called aqueducts & swimming to the side of 24 swung bridges, crawling under 1 lift bridge & under (summit like) 193 (fixed) bridges.

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In 1724 the River Kennet was made navigable from Reading to Newbury, and by 1727 boats could reach as far as Bath. For hundreds of years before this people had talked about linking the River Kennet with the River Avon, but it was not until 1794 that a route was fixed via Devizes and an Act was passed. The resulting canal being completed in 1810.

Water supply up to the summit soon became a problem, so in 1812 a steam engine was installed at Crofton to pump water from Wilton Water. And the Boulton & Watt engine is still pumping. Three years later a companion Harvey’s engine were also installed.

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Following many years of decline, in the 1960s the canal eventually fell into disrepair and parts were closed to boats. The future of the K&A, along with that of many canals, looked bleak.

Fortunately for all of us who enjoy this magical waterway, whether it be boaters, walkers, cyclists, canoeist, etc. etc….. waterway enthusiasts and local people formed the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust which with very muchly hard work and dedication, the K&A were gradually restored. The Queen officially reopened the K&A in 1990.  Fantabulous !!!!

One thought on “#48 Kennet & Avon Canal (& Bristol Avon) – West. April 2017

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