Bath Top Lock River Avon and Return back up to Wash House Lock Moorings

Wednesday September 10th 2014

5.32 miles, 9 locks, One 2nd deepest in country! 6 locks in flight we did 3 twice.

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70 ft winding hole Sydney Wharf.

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Bath Narrowboats.

Click on the photo’s to enlarge.

The weather is amazing for this time of year! Yet another great day in store we set off heading the wrong way after yesterdays misfortune with Bath locks being closed it meant our plans to get to Saltford were scuppered. So today we just wanted to have a cruise through Bath on the river so we started by turning in the Sydney Wharf winding hole. 3 shunts I seem to think it was 4 point turn! Then off to tackle the flight of 6 locks to get us down to the Avon. Easy going in the first lock Bath Top Lock No. 13 of the Widcome Flight. Then into Pulteney Lock No 12 where upon the crew in front noticed us and we them so they helpfully waited for us to share the rest of the flight later dropping down through the flight. We went on to find that they were Dave and Helen from the share boat Freedom based in winter at Hawne Basin Birmingham and anywhere on the system in summer. A vote of the share holders decides this each a.g.m. a good idea I think rather than out of the same marina all year. This this year they were based along the K&A. So we shared Abbey View Lock No. 11 and then Wash House Lock No. 10, Then it was onto the big one Bath Deep Lock No.s 8 & 9. These two locks were combined when the canal was restored in 1976. So with Helen, Karen and Ada Jane working the locks we had a bit of a wait as there was a boat already in the chamber so the ladies assisted it down (no thanks given apparently and stood back and watched!) then they had to refill the lock up before it was our turn. Dave entered first I was lingering wide out in the side pond. So after a our wait we in for the drop of 6 m (19ft 5ins), making it Britain’s second deepest canal lock.

All very exciting even Dave got his camera out and fired off a few shots. Soon we were through Bath Bottom Lock No. 7 during our passage down I said to Dave we were heading up to Pultney Weir to have a look from river level, he thought an excellent idea to, but the lock landing on the river was left out the lock down stream and we wanted to head right so I landed on the lock landing to pick up the ladies as did Dave he said I though you were going right I said I am I proceeded to reverse back into the bridge hole for lock No. 7 and turn round made a bit of a pigs ear and had to have two goes at it. Dave was heading off down stream by now we had said thanks for their assistance and them returning the thanks to us. Now we were in for a treat, having seen the River Avon from the bank by Bath Rugby Club and way up on the Grand Parade to see it from the river was grand. I was hoping to get our 48 footer round in one in front the weir as the flow would help alot but alas no didn’t get over far enough right so had a 2 point turn here.

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Old warehouses over the river now converted.

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We Winded here before Weston Cut.

Then we pressed on down stream in glorious sunshine. We soon then passed Dave and Helen coming back up they had had to go further down stream to wind their 62 footer, they shouted “any moorings up there?” no we said they are closed for repair works to be carried out to the embankment which we knew from yesterday when we walked along there. So we pressed on downstream under the railway and past the old now redeveloped mill buildings and the city moorings opposite. Looking at the time and the desire to get back up some of the Bath Flight before stopping we decided not to do Weston Lock to turn around not long after and come back up it. So we turned just above the canal cut to Weston Lock. Then I made a photographic record of all the bridges on the way back to add to CanalplanAC as I noted they were absent during my route research. I have put most up there now. We made for the new mooring by Sainsburys for lunch, a building site alongside at the moment so rather noisy passing the refurbished Victoria Bridge which was the subject of the closure yesterday still being policed by a hi vis chap in a motorised dingy so you did not pass directly under the workmen.

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Entering the bridge hole to the K&A and lock 7.

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Bye bye River Avon.

After lunch we headed back up to the Bath Flight, I had an interesting time in the deep lock alone, Karen and Janey decided to wind open the paddles fully from the word go! no way I could hold the boat against the lock side against that they didn’t even look down in to see all was well! so I bounced around like a cork for a while until the currents subsided with the depth of water. We did number 10 then found a good spot on the end of the line of boats before the bridge to moor up. We popped up the rest of the flight on foot to find something for tea at Tesco’s and check out the parking situation for Janey’s BF who was joining us late this evening and staying the night and leaving with Janey in the morning to head off to Falmouth for his graduation. Not long after tea another BP crew arrived down through Lock 11 looking for a mooring and asked if they could breast up. The crew we met on Saturday they were the 1st to leave, old hands and had done all the BP bases to hire from there were 6 of them and they blasted off Saturday and got to the foot of the Devizes flight and went up Sunday had a day in Devizes Monday and headed to Bath Tuesday so they were not hanging around to be here Wednesday evening. Lovely people the older chap was a narrowboat instructor for people or children with¬†learning disabilities and the like. After a conflab we let them know we had a late visitor arriving and we intended a sharp get away in the morning. So it was decided they take the inside mooring also as they were longer than us and we would be as silent as possible bringing Rob back across their boat at 11ish pm. Rob found the right street and Janey and I walked up to meet him and then soon to bed.

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