|This Month's Totals and Average|
|94.78 miles||102 locks||59.45 hrs||3.31 lmph|
Beautiful morning - sunny but with a slight coolness in the breeze. Excellent overnight mooring, very quiet. Let go around 09:30 and headed for Marsh Lock. Very little traffic so far. Descended the Lock finding more boats on the move. Moored at the southeast end of the moorings at Mill Meadows. Took a walk into town, including lunch. Visited Asquith's Teddy Bear shop (and managed to refrain from buying any). Sun remained out for most of the rest of the day, with short periods of cloud. Plenty of passing walkers along the meadows, and plenty of passing boats (although we did get quite a bouncing with the wash they created). Quietened down in the evening.
|1.54 miles||1 locks||1.05 hrs||2.43 lmph|
After very heavy rain overnight, woke to a nice sunny day. On the move fairly quickly and descended Sonning Lock. Continued downstream to Shiplake where we stopped for the services again. Very busy. Steady stream of traffic both up and down, but we managed to get through Shiplake Lock on the first cycle. Continued through Wargrave and moored at the EA moorings just before Lower Shiplake. Light rain had arrived by the time we were moored but, by after lunch, had cleared again to a lovely sunny afternoon. 'Housekeeping' caught up on routine chores. 'IT' continued with the Interactive Map.
Stood outside after sunset, watching the bats flying round the boat, narrowly missing our heads. Magical.
|4.16 miles||2 locks||1.71 hrs||3.61 lmph|
There had obviously been rain overnight, but slept through it. Woke to fine fresh morning. Eventually decided on day's plans and were ready to let go - found we had no drive. Slight panic until sorted, but got there, and headed back upstream to Better Boating at the south end of Caversham. Noted the Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service Animal & Water Section boat out for a practice session. Popped into the chandlery at Better Boating for fuel filter.
Returned downstream to Sonning and got a better mooring nearer the lock. Rain had arrived (again) by the time we were fast.
Rain had cleared by the time we had finished lunch so went for a walk into Sonning village, visiting St Andrews Church (mostly Victorian, with sections dating to 13th century). Returned to "Paws" and completed the corrections for our mapping software for K&A. Rain returned late afternoon, heavier than ever.
|3.95 miles||0 locks||1.24 hrs||3.18 lmph|
Contacted "Ozzie Fuel Boat" who said he would be at the Tesco mooring after lunch, so departed promptly for services at Shiplake. Descended Sonning Lock and headed downstream. Cool initially, but clearing to sunny. Arrived at Shiplake Lock and stopped on the services berth. Joined by "Gabriel" who had spent the night behind one of the islands, and was now heading for Henley.
After services, we returned upstream to meet up with the fuelboat. Arrived at the Tesco mooring and breasted-up to another boat already there (no other moorings available). Lunch. Pat went for stores, and "Ozzie" arrived shortly thereafter. Decided to moor for night at Christchurch Meadows at Caversham, so set off upstream, and ascended Caversham Lock. Sun had faded by then, and a brisk wind was brewing.
Circumnavigated Fry's Island looking for moorings, but none to be found. No choice but to return downstream again. Descended Caversham Lock and continued to the moorings at Sonning where our space from last night was still vacant. Promptly moored up! Occasional slight drizzle during late afternoon to accompany the wind.
Highlight of the day - sightings of three kingfishers.
|11.50 miles||4 locks||4.16 hrs||3.73 lmph|
A grey day greeted us this morning, but fortunately not damp. Noted James & Hazel leaving while we were having breakfast. On the move just after 09:00, left the Jail Loop and turned outbound on the main line again. Descended Blake's Lock in company with a small cruiser. Land & Water staff were surveying for major dredging work and borrowed "Paws" to get some soundings across the width above the lock.
At Kennet Mouth, turned upstream on the Thames to go to a boatyard further up. Noted "Gabriel" moored at the Tesco moorings. Sun starting to get through. Ascended Caversham Lock and continued to Reading Marine Services on the north side of the town. Despite being a Shire agent, they did not have any of the filters we needed for our engine. Turned and returned downstream. A few spots of rain late morning, but it never came to anything. At Caversham Lock, there was a queue and we were held three rotations (nearly an hour) before we got down. Noted that "Gabriel" was long gone from the Tesco moorings. Continued past Kennet Mouth to Sonning visitor moorings. Noted there had been large collapses of banking since we were here over two months ago, but managed to get alongside.
Nice to see so many great crested grebes around - we counted five pairs, three with young, between Caversham and Sonning Locks. Rain back on again just before dinner.
|8.70 miles||3 locks||3.63 hrs||3.22 lmph|
Clear skies when I woke around 06:00, but dull by 08:00, and raining by 09:00. Decided to stay put for the day, along with James & Hazel. John & Barbara left mid-morning for Windsor to meet family. Rain continued until after lunch. 'IT' spent the day doing a firmware upgrade to equipment, and more work on the interactive map (started adding the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal). Quiet day.
Lovely and sunny when we woke around 06:00, but clouded over by breakfast. On the move promptly and through the last swing-bridge of this canal. Made reasonable time, with the river-flow behind us. Garston Lock was a pig - the top gates wouldn't stay closed, and Pat was having difficulties assisting me doing the locking (She had elected to 'drive' and was therefore also trying to keep control of "Paws". This lock has grass sides and only walkways across). Saw no other boats on the move until we reached Southcote Lock. Pat saw a kingfisher below Milkmaid Bridge as we were descending. A cruiser caught up with us at County Lock, but declined to go down with us. The works along the 'controlled section' at Oracle were finished - looking really good, and the diners/shoppers were all waving as we passed. Reversed into the Old Jail Loop and moored at the west end. Sun had come back out again during the morning.
Walk to Sainsbury in the afternoon. On return, found James & Hazel moored ahead of us. Dinner out at Zizzi . Found another two boats moored when we got back - one was "Ichthus", and John & Barbara stopped for a quick chat on their way out to dinner.
|6.02 miles||6 locks||3.85 hrs||3.12 lmph|
Woke to find rain on the windows - hadn't realised it had been raining overnight. Dull and damp to start. Slightly early rise to ensure we were ready to leave at 09:00 when the bidge was unlocked. Went through the lift bridge and continued eastwards, descending the three locks and passing through the two swing bridges to Tyle Mill. Stopped for a quick top-up of water to ensure no shortage as far as Shiplake on the Thames. Continued down the remaining lock and swing bridge to Theale. Moored in time for lunch, just above the swing bridge (same place as on our outward journey). Still damp and drizzly.
In the afternoon, took a walk into Theale centre. Sun did get through for a short while.
|3.77 miles||4 locks||2.50 hrs||3.10 lmph|
Woke to a partly sunny morning. Ready to move off, hire-boat preparing to come up the lock. They were very unsure and asked for help. They said they were just heading to wind (turn round), then return down the lock, so we said we would wait for them. A couple of other boats passed through before they returned, but we descended together and headed for Aldermaston. They ended up going the wrong way at Froudes Bridge and made a mess of reversing out. We stood by in case they needed help, but once we believed them safe, we continued ahead, and they rejoined us at Aldermaston Lock (where they made no attempt to help work through). We pulled into the service berth, but also found that the mooring we thought was here is only 4-hours (not the expected 24). Rain/drizzle had arrived by that time.
Serviced first, then had lunch. The other two boats moved off, leaving plenty space. Knowing that there were no good moorings for the next three hours, we elected to stay put, hoping nobody would need the full space. The lock and bridge were quite busy during the afternoon, but nobody called at the services.
|2.19 miles||2 locks||1.48 hrs||2.83 lmph|
Nice sunny morning to start the day, but cloud rapidly built and rain had returned by lunchtime. 'Catering' decided that we needed some more 'goodies' so made cheese scones and various muffins. I spent most of the day trying to sort out some collected documentary evidence which I had previously overlooked, which form proof of anecdotal information in my genealogical project (more work and recording required at a later date).
Visited James & Hazel on "Gabriel" in the evening for a chat over drinks and nibbles. Great evening.
Wind had risen overnight, and the day started cool with only occasional breaks in the cloud. Got away promptly and descended the three locks as far as Woolhampton uneventfully. Moored above Woolhampton Lock before lunch.
"Gabriel" arrived after our lunch and, having moored, James & Hazel were away to have theirs. Assisted a few boats through the lock during the afternoon. James & Hazel joined us for tea/coffee. Dulled over by dinner time, and rain soon followed, lasting into the night.
|2.76 miles||3 locks||2.01 hrs||2.86 lmph|
More heavy rain overnight, but no thunder or lightning. Cooler, slightly damp start to the day. Admiral slept in! 'Housekeeping' decided it was a major cleaning day, so I went to Newbury on the train on my own to collect the banner from CY Screen & Digital Services . Despite the slight hiccup in communications, very friendly, helpful and accommodating.
Walk up to Thatcham town centre in the afternoon - Neither Pat nor I had managed to get much further than the Baptist Church during the mission, so wanted to see the rest. Sun managed to creep through by lunchtime, turning into a warm sunny afternoon. Visit late afternoon from Toni of the local British Legion (follow-up visit from mission-week).
Heavy rain and thunder overnight cleared to a dull morning. Away fairly promptly and headed round to Greenham Lock. Descended and continued eastwards, through Ham, Bull's, Widmead and Monkey Marsh Locks to Thatcham. Arrived just before lunch. Quiet afternoon with routine chores.
|3.56 miles||5 locks||2.55 hrs||3.35 lmph|
Leisurely start to the day. Took our time getting up, then had a walk into town for 'local' stores, and the Admiral got her hair cut. Contact with the supplier, ascertained that the banner we ordered was not ready, but would be by Thursday morning - will have to juggle moorings and services. Out to lunch at the Teashop by the Canal; in the old Wharf building (owned by the Kennet & Avon Trust).
Sainsbury for stores, and chandler for spare parts was the afternoon's activity. Unfortunately, the chandler doesn't stock Barrus parts, so I'll have to keep looking. Sunny almost all day, getting hotter as the day went on. The forecast thunderstorms arrived nid-evening, and continued most of the night.
Nice sunny morning, and up slightly early. On the move by 09:00, and moved up to the services. Another boat, "The Whole of the Moon", heading down said they would wait, so once finished, joined Mike, Simon and Jennifer. Accompanied them for the whole of the rest of the day, descending the eight spaced-out locks to Newbury. No sign of the water vole between 80 and 81. Got a 'bladefull' (rubbish round the prop) as we left Lock 81. Lunch on the move. Moored at Victoria Park, and walked to Greenham Lock to check for better moorings. Had a brief chat with Peter, Lin, John & Barbara ("Gospel Belle" and "Ichthus"), and noted that "Sola Gratia" was also moored.
Took a walk to Lidl through the park. Felt we would be as well just where we were, so settled for the day.
|5.73 miles||8 locks||4.22 hrs||3.26 lmph|
Another very good night's sleep - not sure why we are sleeping better, or why we had problems in the first place! Cool but sunny morning. We doubled the local congregation at the Methodist Church this morning, total congregation 4, organist also acting as preacher, total people 5!
Red kites circling and screeching during lunch. 'Housekeeping' started the afternoon with good intentions as she set another batch of washing to run, with yesterday's ironing next on the list - her excuse to watch the men's final at Wimbledon - but the tennis won out again and the ironing never got done.
After a very good night's sleep, drizzle greeted us on waking. On the move promptly, descending Hungerford Lock 74, then stopping at the services (must be all the washing getting done!). Heavier patches of light rain broke the continuous drizzle throughout the morning. Continued on eastwards. Waited for another boat which had caught up while we prepared Dunmill Lock 75, and accompanied them down through the next two as well, as far as Kintbury. Moored up at the west end, by Bridge 76. Drizzle eased over lunch.
Went for walk into town in afternoon, but the intended ironing didn't materialise - coffee and tennis got in the way. More updates done for Mike for the mapping software. Sun did poke through briefly.
|3.19 miles||4 locks||2.31 hrs||3.11 lmph|
Cooler start today, with less sun. On the move by 09:00 continuing the descent towards Hungerford. The locks from here tend to be between 10 and 20 minutes apart so no time in between to get anything done. Sun fought through within a couple of hours, and the jackets came off. Managed to spot two kingfishers at different points. Lunch 'on the move' while waiting for another boat to join us to share Cobblers Lock 72. The moorings on the upper side of Hungerford lock are better, with rings, but are only 24-hour. We decided to use these rather than the one we used on the way out (stakes in very soft ground).
Walk into town in the afternoon for (yet more) stores. Remained sunny for the rest of the day.
|4.61 miles||9 locks||4.09 hrs||3.33 lmph|
Very slow start. Sunny but fresh. Decided to stay an extra day and visit the Church of St Mary properly (had taken a quick look round while out for our walk yesterday). Had another walk round the village and back for a leisurely lunch. Spoke with Lin (from "Trinity") at lunchtime, then Henry dropped in for a cuppa mid-afternoon - they were laying their boat up for a few days to visit family. 'Housekeeping' got up to date with the ironing and vacuuming, but otherwise a lazy afternoon.
Overcast with moisture in the air to start. Up and on the move, although not rushing as we planned only to go to Great Bedwyn. Descended the four locks to the village - Church Lock is desperately needing work done on the leak as it is getting difficult to open. Stopped at the services for the usual items, and got a gas-bottle from the 'coal-boat' who was also there. Moved under the bridge and moored up. Brightened up by lunchtime.
Just sat down after lunch to write up the stats for today when there is a tap on my porthole - looked round to see son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter peeping in! They had flown down via Glasgow and Bristol and hired a car for a day to visit us. Fantastic surprise, wonderful afternoon and evening with them. Chat over coffee, then a wander round the village, and dinner out at The Three Tuns . Amazed to see how quickly she's growing up. Looking forward to seeing them again when we get back. They had a hotel booked in Bristol, and fly back tomorrow.
|1.78 miles||4 locks||1.85 hrs||3.13 lmph|
Rain came on around breakfast time, with a forecast of showers in the morning and heavy rain for the rest of the day. Managed to time a walk up to the Crofton Pumping Station during a break in the showers in the morning, and managed to get back dry after lunch in their café.
During the afternoon, 'Catering' did some bread-baking and some tray-bakes, while 'Housekeeping' did the ironing and yet more washing. Showers got heavier and more frequent, with a rising wind.
Another slow start, not moving until nearly 10:00. Ascended Heathy Close Lock 52 expecting acceptible depth until Lock 53, but found it very low. Got stuck after dropping the locking crew. Flushed a little water down to just get afloat, but immediately grounded again as the water disappeared. Another boat appeared behind and pulled us off, and we then shared the lock (suspect they took the water to fill their Lock 52 below - oh, well). Very nice couple, David & Nicki aboard "Renelee". The pound between 53 and 54 was low but not overly bad. Shared Lock 54 to the summit, and found the summit quite high in comparison to rumours. Easy run along the summit pound, apart from the horse-flies (again!). Shared locks again on the descent down to Crofton. Parted with David & Nicki below Lock 60 - we moored for the night, while they continued for their planned overnight at Froxfield. Great day working with them, many thanks for the help and the company.
|4.34 miles||9 locks||4.08 hrs||3.27 lmph|
Slow start to the morning, Admiral not ready until nearly 10:00. Heating up well by mid-morning. In order to be ready to do the summit pound as soon as possible tomorrow (and retain a little buffer-time in case we can't get moored at Crofton) we let go and moved to Wootton Rivers, ascending the one lock to the mooring. horse-flies out in force again today. Moored up by lunchtime.
'IT' spent the afternoon in routine housekeeping, and collating updates for Mike for the navigation planner software. Cloud built a little for a cooler-feeling end to the day.
|2.86 miles||1 locks||1.40 hrs||2.75 lmph|
... and didn't even get a lie in!
Without rushing, we were ready to leave by 09:00 so moved over to the services berth, then headed off eastwards again. No locks planned for today, although there were three swing bridges. Day started cooler, with a bit more cloud, but that gradually cleared and by lunchtime it was as hot as previous days - looked to stop early. A lot more butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies about today, and considerably more horse-flies who were biting well! Lunch on the move, passing through the changing farmland, between fields of grain alternating with cattle. Said a very quick 'hello' to Graham on "Dawn Run" as we passed in opposite directions. No moorings available at Honey Street; the moorings marked on our map around Bridge 117 had no signage and the bank was poor. Ended up at Pewsey. Dinner aboard, but we'll get a celebration meal at some point.
|12.20 miles||0 locks||5.21 hrs||2.34 lmph|
Lovely breeze overnight, coming through ports and hatches left open, meant a far better sleep. Still sunny in the morning, but a lot cooler. Back up to town for stores in the morning, but not a lot else done for rest of day. A walk round to the wharf for ice-cream in the afternoon.
Plan to move on tomorrow, probably Pewsey, aiming to get over the summit before works start (with a 2-day closure) - next main destination Newbury to collect a replacement BCF banner.
Chance for a lie in, so the Admiral up early. Another sunny day, and warm already. Went for walk into town - collected mail, went to market, items ordered at a shop to be collected did not arrive (their supplier failure)(order cancelled as we wouldn't be back).
Siesta in afternoon due to heat. Keith & Sue dropped in for a quick tour of "Paws" before heading off for their overnight further east.
Sun blazing in from about 05:00. Up early and ready to go by 08:00. Two boats that only arrived at 19:00 last night thought they should have first run at the locks, making comment as we let go and passed them. They got away only 10 minutes later, and we drew paddles for them as we left each lock. Ascended the central 16 locks - a volunteer met us at our 8th and helped us up the rest, and we met boats coming down from our 10th. A heron followed us up three locks, fishing in each vacated lock. Moored at the top for a sandwich at the café.
After our early lunch/2nd breakfast, we took advantage of the services, then ascended the remaining 6 locks up to Devizes. The work on the towpath is still ongoing (and has been extended again). Very hot by this stage, almost wall-to-wall sunshine and no breeze. No sign of "Rosie", so assume they moved on again this morning.
Assisted a hire-boat to wind and moor, then chatted with Keith & Sue till late, mostly about buying a boat.
News from home c/w video - Aria managed to stand up using her own power, used the TV stand for leverage.
|1.56 miles||22 locks||4.24 hrs||5.55 lmph|
Took our time rising, to find "Rosie" had slid quietly away and was just entering the first lock - we'll probably meet up again in Devizes. Cloudy morning and cooler to start. As we had decided to stay put anyway, 'Technical Services' elected to get the engine service done in the morning while it was still cool (forecast for next few days is either hot sun or heavy rain, and tomorrow we intend moving). All complete by lunchtime. Considerably warmer, and the sun starting to poke through. 'Catering' decided to get some baking done.
Busy day for 'Tech Service' - reinstalled the tracker software and the serial-USB driver, and think it's working again - we'll see tomorrow when we set off. 'Housekeeping' got the ironing done.
Lovely long chat with lady from a hire-boat moored ahead of us, reminiscing about boating at an early age, and the state of the canals nowadays. We wish the crew a very pleasant end to their holiday.
Spectacular sunset , with the trees in silhouette.
Up on time, and actually on the move earlier than planned! Ascended the first two of the Seend Flight in company with "Rosie", then we both pulled in for services. Dull morning, but fine (so far) and pleasant. Continuing to work with "Rosie", ascended the remaining three of the Seend Flight and continued eastwards, making good time. A misty/drizzle set in as we approached the Caen Hill bottom section and it gradually increased until lunchtime. Ascended the bottom seven of the Caen Hill Flight on a 'good road'. Made very good time up to Lock 28 which we were helped through by a CRT volunteer. Both boats moored in the big pound for the day.
Sun came through after lunch, we stayed put. It is an official 48-hour mooring here so we intend to stay tomorrow to time arrival in Devizes for our mail. The 'Nav-desk' tablet playing up so something else to investigate and fix!
|3.24 miles||12 locks||3.71 hrs||4.10 lmph|
Beautiful morning, with last night's wind eased and barely a cloud in the sky. Although the 'towpath traffic' had been increased - walkers passing at various times through to 02:30, talking loudly - we decided to stay another night before moving on. Took the advantage of the day to catch up on IT 'cleaning' and back-ups, and other 'household' routine duties. Very busy at the locks mid-afternoon so gave a hand - apparently there had been an 'incident' around the Semington Locks causing about 12 boats to be held up for over an hour (no other details). Noted the family of grey wagtails nesting in the bird-box attached to the bottom gate.
Agreed plan with "Rosie" for the next few days - to head for Caen Hill, arriving Devizes moorings on Wednesday.
Cloudy but bright start to the day. Admiral slept in, despite saying she wanted to get going quickly in order to get a good mooring - then decided that 'catering' needed milk before departure. Noted "Rosie" headed up the lock while we were waiting. Still no signal on the internet so not just a temporary blip. Will get everything uploaded eventually.
Finally let go at 10:30 and ascended Bradford Lock. Ready to collect the 'locking team' to be told to pull in for water. Got away properly just after 11:00, and headed for Hilperton (as planned) for fuel. Very helpful couple running "The Boatyard" , with fuel at a very competitive price. Also got a few items at their chandlery, ready for an upcoming service. Moved on again, hoping for a mooring at Semington. Nothing available on the west side, so ascended the two locks - a boat coming down filled the second lock in front of us so had an extra delay while they turned the lock round for themselves. Eventually got away again - by this time it was 14:30 and we'd had no lunch, so hurried sandwiches on the move. Approached Seend Bottom Lock with trepidation in case there were no moorings below it, but finally luck turned. Managed to moor up next to "Rosie".
Finally got an internet signal and caught up with the incoming emails, and updated the Diary - for regular readers, please catch up on the last few day's gossip .
|7.12 miles||3 locks||4.16 hrs||2.43 lmph|