Today started off very well. The promise of a 9 o’ clock repair to the Woolhampton swing bridge started with the arrival, at exactly 9' o’clock of a man in a white van who didn’t know why he was there! Ten minutes later Luke, from C&RT, arrived and he knew that the bridge was broken – very good! Anyway, they were both really nice chaps and they got to work by learning how the bridge operating system worked.
Luke and his colleague doing their best under the circumstances.
Still doing their best…………..
Eventually they got the bridge off its’ wedges (the things which support the weight of the traffic when the bridge is fixed) and that’s when the fun really started. They couldn’t yet swing the bridge, the barriers were not down but the traffic couldn’t go across or it would damaged the bridge. The traffic started to build up and, in this picture, the delivery man in the white van had to carry his wares across the bridge and it was all good fun!
Anyway, Bob had a look at the whole thing and decided to get involved and between the three of them (and Bob’s ace idea that they needed to get the sequencing right) the bridge was encouraged to swing and all was well. The two hire boats, who had waited nearly a day in the lock mouth, came downstream and that allowed ‘Chance’ and ‘Autumn Myst’ to go upstream.
This is ‘Chance’ having come through the road bridge and now powering up towards the lock. The River Kennet can be seen coming from the right under the footbridge.
James steered ‘Chance’ into the lock without any damage and took this photo of Bob making the same approach into the lock. ‘Autumn Myst’ is being pushed sideways by the force of the river but makes it safely into the lock. Well done both!
After a good journey our final challenge was the lock at Newbury. We moored up at the park and June and Doug walked ahead to set the lock. The landing for the lock is a bit short and it’s difficult to land anyone without the boat being swung sideways by the river coming in from the side. When all was ready James and Bob started off from the park and slowly made headway against the flow.
‘Autumn Myst’ following ‘Chance’ towards the lock.
‘Chance’ makes it past the river and into the lock and ‘Autumn Myst’ is making it slowly through the Town Bridge.
‘Autumn Myst’ following through into the lock.
Tonight we’ve moored in Newbury above the lock and swing bridge and we’re beginning to dry out after the fairly continuous rain which started at lunch time. It’s been a challenging day but great fun at the same time and we’ve all enjoyed ourselves.