After a frosty night (and one that saw Oscar needing to use the grass at 5 o’clock this morning – James obliging!) we had a lazy start to the day and didn’t get going until 10:30. It was another short hop today of only 4 miles and 6 locks to Newbury.
Just to show (as Adam rightly advised) there is a second turf lock on the system – this is Monkey Marsh Lock (no 90) but it is very much modified by steel and concrete compared to Garston Lock which we passed through the other day.
Immediately following Monkey Marsh Lock is swing bridge 44 which was so difficult to move that Doug had to lift and leaver it from the “wrong” side. Suddenly, after a lot of effort it started to swing rapidly across the canal, almost leaving Doug stranded on the bank with no way across! Luckily he managed to leap onto the bridge before it was too late – and someone with an easier job just happened to have the camera handy.
Every so often there’s something unusual to amuse us.
As we mentioned yesterday there doesn’t seem to be two locks the same on the K and A – and, if you care for your boat, this one looked very alarming on first entry.
After a couple of hours we were in Newbury and negotiating the beautiful Town Bridge – a stone structure dating from 1770. The River Kennet flows through this bridge so the full force of the flow has to be dealt with. The lock beyond the bridge has the river flowing from the right just in front of it and there is very little lock landing to stop on. Doug managed to get off to set the lock but unless you have a boat of 35 feet or less there is no real alternative but to bounce around in front of the lock, trying to avoid the river to the right and the water flowing from the emptying lock. All in the course of a days’ cruise!
We found a good mooring just above the lock and went to do a bit of shopping. In particular, Doug had to change a pair of ‘Trespass’ walking boots which are only a month old and, bizarrely, leaking through the sole of the heal. The ‘Trespass’ shop in the Newbury couldn’t have been more helpful. The boots were bought in Birmingham but the Newbury shop changed them without question. Just thought we’d mention it as these things are not always straightforward.
Getting back to the boat we had second thoughts about moving on as it was getting cold and we really couldn’t be bothered. So we took Oscar for a surprisingly fast walk (for him!).
Dum de dum de dum – a walk along West Mills where the row of cottages opposite the swing bridge where once a 17th century weaving factory ( a better view of these in the last photo).
We had a cold but dry day today while we were cruising but, as we write, the rain has started falling so we’re very pleased we stayed put. Another great day!