Monday, 17 June 2013

HBBR do the Kennet & Avon

This year, for a bit of variety the intrepid HBBR voyageurs left Beale Park to head down the Thames as far as Reading then hang a right up the Kennet & Avon Canal. 

Here are some photos of the journey. 

You'll never get all that in there! Adrian and Pete load up with Christine supervising.

Master and Commander, CW  waiting for the off.

John and Jo finish lunch.

"I see I'm rowing again"

Tom and Steve compare canoes, they joined us as far as the first lock. 

This was the camp-site at Mapledurham very picturesque. Mind the Goose Poo!

The catering on the Grey Boat looked better than everyone else. 
You can see the kettle on its stove and it always seemed to be on the boil.  

Yes well we'd come a whole four miles. Thanks to Timmo for capturing yours-truly at ease.  

Timmo looking relaxed as usual. 

The tension builds as we turn off The Thames and into the Kennet.

CW has dropped the rig, stowed the oars and converted Polly Wee to Pedyuloh Power

This stretch of the K&A is known as Brewery Gut. A charming name for a narrow twisting fast-flowing section, now controlled by Traffic Lights. 

 If two 70ft narrow boats met on a corner there could be trouble.
 We nicknamed it Dead Man's Gulch.

The traffic lights only stay green for 12 mins after you press the button. Here we are gathering for the start. 

The Gulch runs through the Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading, as you can see there is no where to tie up and no access to the facilities, could have fancied a Coffee!

Looks like it could have been half day closing for all the folk who where around. 

County Lock the end of the Gulch, which apart from a fair current in places passed pretty smoothly.

Out of Reading and into the Canal proper.

The K&A is a canalised river system,  some sections are flowing river while other sections are canal. You can certainly tell the difference by the flow. 

Must be Pimms O'clock

Strewth!, It payed to stay at the back of the locks in a wee boat. 

Low Bridge ahead !

The closer you get the lower it looks

I'm not sure Jo was entirely convinced about this.

John decided to try it stern first, Jo's still not convinced. 

Keep you head down. 

Chris Adney decides to join in the fun. 

A cheering crowd gathers to watch Timmo do the Limbo.

Whadya mean it opens!!

So did this one but shooting the bridges was more fun.  

Some of the farm bridges were manually pushed open but those on public roads had traffic lights and barriers all operated by the turn of a key and press of a button. 
Usefully the same key unlocked the toilets. 

Staying well back this time. Unlike the Thames the locks didn't have vertical chains to hang onto which was a bit of a problem. Jo is actually hanging on by her fingernails.  

The Bridge of Sighs Newbury. 

The stretch just below here is very fast flowing and was tougher than Dead Man's Gulch. 

End of the line for some. This is as far as Katie B and I got.  We set up an impromptu camp in the playing field of a Sports Centre for the night and pulled out the next day along with CW in Polly Wee and Chris & Paul in 15 Seconds.

Chris Adney made it as far as the Barge pub at Honey Street, John & Jo kept Alistair company until Pewsey, Timmo soldiered on all the way to Bath, while Adrian and Pete made it all the way to the end of the line in Bristol. 

Great fun and fantastic company  

1 comment:

robert.ditterich said...

Thanks for the great photo report.
Green with envy....lovely trip