A K&A Cruise with Waiouru Tom & Jan

Saturday 11th July 2015

7.14 miles 0 locks.

So a bit of background, I have been into canals the history the life on the cut in carrying days, boats and all that is our waterways since my first introduction as a 10 year old. So as I mentioned previously the last canal holiday was 1988, then over many years Karen and I have been cycling the towpath between Bath and Trowbridge and always enjoyed being by the water and boats.

So with a rekindled interest I started searching the internet for boaty things holidays users etc. etc. it wasn’t long before I found Nb NoProblem ‘s blog, then reading through that I came across Sue’s remarks on poor ole Tom & Jan’s predicament at Aldermaston wharf seeking somewhere to stay , while they get their disaster of a build before arriving at Aldermaston sorted. So this led me to a major read of Tom & Jan’s blog to get up to date and they do have some tale to tale. This would of been probably been late 2013. So I’ve been an avid reader of Tom’s blog since then, Tom likes to put up a post everyday so it does get compulsive to have a look.

Well over that time until July this year I’ve made many comments on the blog and a few email conversations with Tom, so when I read Jan & Tom were heading down our way to the the K&A, I thought I’ll have to pop up and see them and Waiouru.                             Tom posted up along the way about meeting blog readers so the seed was sown and after many emails to and fro, events of ours getting in the way Tom & Jan reached Bath.                                                          The Saturday we thought we would be able to meet up we thought we would be on board going down the Avon towards Bristol but Tom & Jan had had a change of heart and advised me that they were actually winding in the morning and returning to Reading.

No problem for us. They would be off at 09.00 to traverse the two tunnels in Bath and wind at Sydney Wharf winding hole. A bit early for us on our first day off of the week so by now we are in telephone contact and Tom advises they will fill with water at Bathampton around 09.30. So we hatch a plan to drive to Bradford-on-Avon and then ride back to Bathampton to meet them.

Avoncliffe

This is us enroute crossing Avoncliff Aqueduct.

We arrive at Dundas in about 20 minutes and I call Tom to see how they are doing (in case they had an early start which Tom & Jan often do!) no answer so we guess they are cruising I leave a message saying we will continue.

We arrive at Claverton and call again this time Jan answers the first time we have spoken to each other and Jan is unsure how the tank filling is going, so we decide to cycle on and see if we can make Bathampton if not we will meet somewhere and sort the bikes etc. from there. We make it just Tom is just leaving the mooring on the water point as we arrive, in a deft move he pops it into reverse and grabs the centre line and waits for us to get the bikes locked up grab our panniers and get aboard. A little incident while Tom & Jan held for us, a hire boat went by rather quickly into the bridge hole and dragged Waiouru with it! Jan had to apply a bit of forward power while Tom was bankside to stop anything becoming of it.

On board we were welcomed and soon on our way.

Tom on the tiller soon gave us a brief run down of the boat and was quick to point out how Waiouru is so much heaver than a hire boat and needs more starting and stopping more on that later!

IMG_1914

Jan & Karen closing up he first swing bridge, shortly after Tom very kindly (some would say foolishly!) offered me the chance to take the tiller, what a treat I jumped at the chance.

IMG_1915

Then shortly after I dropped Tom off to do the next swing bridge he doesn’t do them very often.

IMG_1916

Tom watching my progress! then after I go through an approaching boat is mid canal and pulling towpath side to stop. I think I’ll pull up after him then another boat appears! he’s heading where I want to go! the first boat has pulled up with enough room in front for me but I’ve got the angle of approach all wrong and underestimate the length and (remember the stopping warning!) the stopping distance required! oh dear bump!! Jan advises poor Toms face was a picture! we collect Tom and I apologise profusely, Tom’s back on the tiller.

IMG_1918 Soon Tom decides to let the learner have another go and we manage to nudge on a bit from tick over in a few places.                                                                                                  Next bit of excitement as Tom reported on his blog is a slow slow day boat coming through a bridge hole before Dundas the boat in front Little Jack pictured above gets stuck on the ledge avoiding/waiting for the day boat, Tom at the tiller effects a great manoeuvre slipping by them both and offering a tow to Little Jack first the captain declined but soon Tom persuades him its for the best and gets the rope from the forward T stud ties it on the dolly on the back of Waiouru. It does take some application of power to drag them off but soon done.

IMG_1917

Then we had to make room for a ‘LAD’ boat complete with chair on roof! and another boat after that one, good job Waiouru handles well and oh forgot to mention bow thrusters which are handy when you get the hang of which button operates which thruster!

IMG_1919

IMG_1920I return to the tiller after the stop plank narrows the other side of Dundas Aqueduct.

IMG_1922IMG_1925We pass the Boatyards fuel boat on the straight before Avoncliff They decided against a delivery as it was a tricky situation not sure why, but he advised they will pass their yard along the way and to grab some fuel.

IMG_1926

We meet some canoes with Pirates aboard just before Avoncliff so Tom takes charge to avoid a calamity!

IMG_1928

The ladies retired to the cratch soon after Dundas to let Tom & I talk engines! we didn’t really but did discuss the build of Waiouru.


IMG_1929

IMG_1930

Toms back on the tiller as I thought it wise to select a mooring.

Tom made for a very tight gap, I was not so sure but I learned a lot from watching the expert at work. The boat in front taking up a couple of spaces appeared and kindly offered to move up. So that was it moored up and cruise over just after 13.00hrs about a 4 hour trip.

Then we were spoiled royally by being offered lunch, which we did not expect! It was New Zealand style new to us but in a nut shell don’t expect to be handed anything, it’s help yourself, we were fine with that. Lunch taken and enjoyed and we were given a proper tour of the boat and she is a mighty fine testament to Tom & Jan’s efforts.

Then we said farewell and back to the car and collect our bikes from Bathampton.

All in all we couldn’t spend a Saturday in any better way fab.

Thanks Tom & Jan.

IMG_1931

IMG_1932

Advertisements

That’s it our lovely week over 😟

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

SDC15713

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

SDC15721

Interesting Butty now powered or new always been powered.

SDC15724

Approaching Dundas

SDC15725

SDC15729

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.

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.

IMG_607810401355_10152668243215609_2898600594163552046_n

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.

IMG_6053

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.

10447804_10152672684055609_203648106002426453_n

IMG_6046

Over the A350.

IMG_6047

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.

IMG_6034

Lock above Barge Inn

10394538_10152672675335609_6666108520834849865_n

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.

10649902_10152672665870609_6466554016365018216_n

Jacko very pleased after his Sunday Roast at the Barge Inn

10646835_10152672668240609_8618624494997226088_n

Karen admiring the view up to the Barge Inn

10644815_10152672672830609_8195550296092525025_n

Karens view

10511322_10152672676270609_6252491342821534074_n

Janey and Rach looking happy.

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

IMG_6049

Got it right this time keep right!

IMG_6044

Happy boaters in the sun.

10636068_10152672661710609_2534507161025110981_n

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.

IMG_6061IMG_603910360915_10152672636080609_6083553900585786725_n

10250342_10152672629030609_1915828460046591753_nIMG_6067

IMG_6069

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.