That’s it our lovely week over ūüėü

Saturday 13th September 2014

0.10 miles 1 lock!

Well we had to return and vacate nb Ena by 09.30 to Frome Road Wharf. It was just a short hop up through Bradford Lock.

We rose rather early and had breakfast etc. no hoover on board unlike other hire boats it was out with broom and dustpan and brush. No mop on board either so cleaning cloths and water got the worst of the foot prints off outside the boat.

Karen and Jack made the inside sparkle and we headed off up through the lock, we had a “good road” as old parlance would have put it being an empty lock. So karen and jack opened up the gate and I headed in. It was taking an age to fill and then after a bit the chap of the yard shouted across the lower end paddle was not quite down, quite a problem he said the last bit is real stiff they have painted a white line on the paddle shaft (is that the right term) and another on the gate so they can tell from a way off if any boaters have failed where we did, as we didn’t touch the lower gates save from opening and closing a gate we had no reason to doubt the paddles were down as they appeared to be. Anyhow now we knew and soon the levels equalised and we were on our way for the last 200 yards.

I steered the bow into the wharf side (gently) and winded the boat around its pinned bow to face stern in, i.e. The opposite way to the way we came up out the lock. We were 2 nd boat in as another family  had spent their last night on the wharf.

So while we emptied the boat to the car our friends on the other BP boat we moored with in Bath turned up. The yard hand had nearly finished refilling the 1st boat with diesel then did ours, then the 3rd returners. So we had to wait for all this before we could leave I asked if they wanted to inspect the boat but the yard hand declined saying “I’m sure it will be fine” I would sooner they checked.

Then our 3rd boat man and myself were ready to settle the fuel charge, expecting about a pound a litre. Canalside and the fuel boat from the boatyard we’re about 0.85p a litre, but oh no they wanted filling station rates ¬£1.35! A litre I think it was. We protested as they don’t pay the tax but were charging for it but the poor guy doesn’t set the rate it comes from HQ so we ended up paying the cost. To be honest we bargained on ¬£90.00 so our ¬£67.00 was actually all in budget.

So our fab canal holiday the 1st in 28 years had come to an end.

It really was amazing we really did enjoy it and it was the bestest 50th Birthday present I could of had! Great sunny weather lovely scenery and pub dining and with my No. 1 family perfick.

All that remained was to drop Jack back to his car at Claverton and say goodbye finally to the K&A for this holiday.

So with the holiday being a great success we or should I say I are looking forward to the next one.

Claverton to Bradford-On-Avon including the Tour of Britain Cycle Race.

Friday September 12th 2014 5.18 miles, 0 locks

Coiled the ropes and we were away at 09.06 as we had a cycle race to catch! The Tour of Britain Stage Six came to Bath then enroute to Hemel Hempstead it crossed the K&A at Winsley Hill

So we headed off and soon arrived at Dundas where at the foot bridge Karen jumped off to dispose of the rubbish at the wharf, Jack and I continued to moor by the lift bridge for the Somerset Coal Canal.

Picking up Karen on we went across the magnificent Dundas Aqueduct and on into Conkwell Wood before mooring up just shy off Limpley Stoke Road Bridge No. 175


Well Kept? Jack can’t quite believe what he’s seeing!


Interesting Butty now powered or new always been powered.


Approaching Dundas



Bye Bye Dundas

So we arrived in plenty of time walked up onto the hill a small way beyond the bridge. Being cycle race fans and multi Tour of Britain visitors we knew what to expect.

1st you get the sponsors vehicles coming through some handing out free bees.

2nd the officials judges etc.

3rd the police escort this is always fun as they move at a rate leapfrogging the race to keep the rolling road closure going.

Then we get to see the race proper even uphill the riders pass very quick, but we spotted the stars.

Followed up by the team support cars.

Most enjoyable.

So back to the boat and coiled the ropes and on to our Over night mooring Bradford-on-Avon.

A blog mention and therefore better update!!

Sue from Narrowboat No Problem, Retirement with No Problem¬†is her blog with husband Vic. She does a¬†Winter Wassat on her blog basically a crafty photo competition. Well yesterdays post I was straight on it and got it right so Sue kindly mentioned me in her blog as being 1st up. I don’t usually get them for a bit then many others have jumped in so I don’t bother with a comment just look back to see if I was right. Also she made a hyperlink from my name to this blog the 1st I’m aware of, so with the increased traffic that will create !! I had better get the current cruise diary done from last September!!

Washhouse Lock Moorings to Claverton

Thursday September 11th 2014 4.12 miles, 3 locks, 2 tunnels.

So Thursday dawned and we had breakfast and walked up to wave off Rob and Janey they are heading off to Falmouth to Robs Graduation. Was not long after returning to Ena that we coiled the ropes and were off at 09.47. Karen walked on up and set lock 11. Soon I was in and gates shut, I climbed the lock ladder for the 1st time on this holiday to assist Karen with operating the lock. Karen was a little apprehensive about doing the 3 locks unassisted but she was fine and took it all in her stride. It was an easy passage and we had a few gongoozlers on Bath Top Lock 13 and by 10.25 were through and on our way.

The weather still lovely we made our way to Bathampton to the water point to fill the tank. Soon done and on our way. Lovely cruising weather plenty of moored boats around here but we have plenty of time. Next along was a couple of fine looking boats 2nd being a traditional pair motor and butty.

We slowly made our way to Claverton to moor up for the day. 12.20 ropes were tied up and time for a relaxing afternoon .

Had another wander down to the weir and pump house in the late evening, I do like it here. I watched a farmer negotiate the unmanned level crossing He opened both gates then went across to call the signalman on the line side phone and returned to his tractor not long after a train came through, he still waited I wondered what was up then out of nowhere a 125 came flashing through! seen in the photo I guess he was told wait for two trains. He crossed and closed up the gates. Much later about 23.15 I popped out to meet Jacko who was joining us again for Friday and Saturday took the torch up to the road and met him a nice quite place there for him to park for 2 days.

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.


70 ft winding hole Sydney Wharf.


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.


Old warehouses over the river now converted.


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.


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


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.

Claverton to Bath

Tuesday September 9th 2014

3.95 miles, 0 locks, 2 tunnels

Woke to another glorious day this was the scene out the side hatch


Coiled the ropes at 10.30 and off for Bath.

More nice scenery in the avon valley, first up there was a need of water to replenish the tank.

Just after the swing bridge a water point was shown, we nearly missed it as it was just a concrete built cupboard, I reversed back and moored up but we were defeated you needed a special key to access the cupboard we didn’t have one!

So back aboard we head on knowing there should be another chance at Bathampton. After another tick over mile or so (moored boats) we arrive at Bathhampton and find the tap and get our tank back to full. A good flow on it not as slow as others I have read about.

Not sure why Janey has her Gillette on was lovely day.

Not sure why Janey has her Gillette on was lovely day.

Then onwards to Bath.


Janey on the tiller

Nudged my 1st boat going for the gap to a moored boat between it and an approaching boat, ahh not happy about that, should of waited!

That was not it though approaching Darlington Wharf with solid moored boats I encountered a widebeam around a blind corner he was well over his side me not so! I got across ok and avoided the widebeam well, but forgetting how a narrowboat spins on it’s centre rather than back following front I nudged another boat by putting the tiller right to bring the bow left after getting through, I needed to wait a touch longer!

Still it was very minor nobody noticed but me. Then on through Beckfords Tunnel, Sydney Gardens and Cleveland House Tunnel quite surreal after cycling through here many times.

Wonderful stuff cruising through Bath, then arriving along the pound to Bath top lock there were boats everywhere and a ABC boat was reversing out of the lock. When he got level the steersman advised “Do you know the bottom lock is closed ?” well actually I did but the CRT stoppage notice I had seen online said stoppage until 12 noon. So after a chat as they were heading for the water point I learned there could be a possible lift of the closure at 16.00hrs. Well I noted I could get out 48 footer around at the top lock which with some use of the pole in the bow by Janey and Karen we did. Others had to drop 2 locks wind in the side pound and back up. We found a mooring on rings just along from bridge 188 and decided to stay put and move on in the morning.

So that gave the opportunity to spend the afternoon grabbing retail therapy in town.

Rather surreal as we would do this maybe 4 or 5 times a year anyway but by car from home 35 minutes drive!  We had tea in The Slug & Lettuce top of Milsom Street a sort of Witherspoons really but all good no complaints. We noted on the way back to the boat the area for eating out looks to be the new environs around Bath Spa Station. We walked back up through the locks around 18.00hrs and noted the bottom lock still chained.

The mooring was fine and no disturbance through the night.

Bradford-on-Avon to Claverton

Monday September 8th 2014

5.98 miles, 1 lock.

Wasn’t the best nights sleep we had a bit of a list! Before retiring for the night I loosened the bow rope and pushed away from the bank a bit, didn’t seem to cure it but it appeared we were definitely floating. Morning came breakfast was done and an earlyish start to find a mooring nearer the supermarket. As luck would have it there was a free one we just fitted into complete with rings. So moored up and headed to the supermarket the girls were way ahead as I locked up and checked everything. I stopped to chat to a guy on a bike noting down licence numbers in his book, I asked if he was checking boats had a licence in part he was but main reason was to report over stayers on the moorings, he was not a CRT employee just a volunteer he said “I’m putting a something back into the waterways as I get so much pleasure out of it” only a young kid 20’s I’d say.

So I headed off to Sainsburys to catch up with Karen and Janey, Managed to grab most of what we required. Then trollied it back to the closest corner of the car park to the bridge and used the well warn path through the shrubs! down to the pavement and back to the boat. Not long after stowing our shopping we were on our way dropped down through      B-O-A lock collected my crew and we were on our way in the lovely sunshine.


Made a mess of the turn to cross Avoncliff Aqueduct its a sharp one! had to back up!

Lovely country and clear of moorers for a while! one of our favorite parts of the canal along through the Murhill Woods. Soon lunch was calling us so we were looking for a mooring, I didn’t realise how close we were to Dundas but we found a wild mooring on the end of the winding hole. Lunch consumed we were on our way 2 bends and Dundas Aqueduct appeared would of been better for lunch. This is such a nice spot here.

Back amongst the moored boats tickover! still lovely country though.

Then about 14.15hrs we arrived at Claverton and moored up.

If you watched Great Canal Journeys Prunella had her hair done on a wide beam in B-O-A well that particular boat was receiving a new lease of life in front of us having a refit from the towpath workshop. We were looking forward to a paddle down at the river on such a hot day a great place for swimming too I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Then Karen made a lovely tea and we walked the towpath for a mile or two towards Bath in the evening.

Semington to Seend Cleeve and return to Bradford-on-Avon

Sunday September 7th 2014

9.32 miles, 10 locks well 5 twice.

The aim was The Barge Inn Seend Cleeve for Sunday lunch.

Then to get Jacko and Rachel back to B-on-A for early evening so they could get back home in time for work Monday.

we had an interesting nights sleep and actually slept well and the bed was comfy.

So I had a 10am departure in mind, 10.15 it was.

Then straight into the first lock of the day Semington bottom lock, all went well considering the 28 years since we last operated one.

Rachel had done some canal cruising in the not to distant past with her family.

Then on past Semington Dry Dock. Looks a decent place going on the set up on view.


Then onto Semmington top lock all running very well and no hold ups then to cross the A350 road on the relatively new aqueduct complete with central reservation and keep right arrows! oh I missed that whoops! no other boats so got away with it.



Over the A350.


Keep Right!

Soon the flight up to Seend was upon us we shared the 3 locks with a private boat who moored at Caen Hill Marina. The boat and owners name I forget, he had thought a weekend previous would be the last one out before the weather turned to autumn. But as this weekend was so hot and sunny they couldn’t resist another weekend out on the boat.

My Pearsons guide advised the winding hole was the west side of the pub but my lock companion said in fact it was above the lock east of the pub. So following his advice I made the turn there a number of point turn it was too! I had an audience which always makes it harder to do without embarrassment.

We turned then back into the same lock, (left the gates open so no one could turn it against us) and proceeded down.


Lock above Barge Inn


Mooring for Sunday lunch.

We were in good time and so decided to carry on down the next two locks after the pub and walk back so we made the most of our available time for our B-o-A return. We had a later booking 13.45 for a table and the service was slow! I had to ask for someone to come and take our order though staff passed the other side of the area we were in they ignored us, when questioned at the bar to take our order the member responsible said she was unaware we had arrived!. Failings on an upper level though as we reserved and checked in to be told where to go to our table, no procedure in place then to follow up a customers arrival with a personal table visit. Anyway the lamb was only available for 3 covers that turned out to be two, so two of us had beef instead and chicken I think it was, all good meals and hot enough just! Puddings were ordered and those were good too. By 3 ‘o’ clock we were back at the boat and on our way to complete the other 3 locks left to do.


Jacko very pleased after his Sunday Roast at the Barge Inn


Karen admiring the view up to the Barge Inn


Karens view


Janey and Rach looking happy.

We shared with a Sally Boats narrowboat the last two locks at Semington.


Got it right this time keep right!


Happy boaters in the sun.


Then back past our previous nights mooring and full steam to Bradford. The sun was out and it was hot and we really enjoyed the open countryside and floating along.




We made good time and moored up east of Widbrook Road bridge soon Jack and Rachel gathered their bags and we helped them back to Jacks car and waved them off. It was great to have their company for the weekend.

Karen was not happy with the mooring as the signs were missing, there was one saying no mooring but not between here and there! She asked a neighbouring home owner he advised we would be ok for one night but actually there was no mooring between the gate and the bridge, feeling uncomfortable we moved into the cutting the otherside of the bridge it was ok and we had an evening walk into Bradford to check out the moorings for a supermarket visit in the morning.

Heading off to Semmington

Though disappointed with Bl,Pr’s service we were still full of smiles to be heading out on a narrowboat holiday on a cracking hot sunny day.

I didn’t really take many photos to start off with. We were soon at the bridge by the marina to pick up our visitors for the weekend Jack and Rachel.

They stepped on at the bridge narrow but were suffering after waiting so long for us in the sun since 14.00hrs. It was now 16.00hrs. We pressed on well tick over so many moored boats, then when we got free of them I push on just shy of creating a wash on the bank.

Karen and then Jack took a hand on the tiller after Staverton Jack did well considering I imagined he was watching what I was doing, later I discovered while I was trying to hold the boat while on a swing bridge landing he didn’t know where neutral was on the throttle I was struggling to hold the boat he had her in tick over!

Then later Karen at the helm with Jack I’m in the hatches Ada-Jane with Rachel in the bow, Karen’s voice is rising ohhhh ohhh and Jack grabs the tiller I see reeds rubbing along the windows I lean over quick and hit reverse full throttle and we avoid ramming the bank just! Janey and Rach in the bow saw it coming and managed to duck.

I took to the tiller and we pushed on to Semmington, lovely country we were passing through. Soon we crossed the aqueduct over Semmington Brook. I noticed the lamp posts along the road at Semmington, so we started looking for a mooring. We passed the lovely Grey Hare moored up and the owners enjoying a glass of something table and chairs on the towpath.

I spotted a space and thought we ought to take it we were in sight of the road bridge. Got into the bank and out with the pins and all went well for our 1st mooring for the night.