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Tours 2000, BCN, Severn Estuary, K&A and River Wey

32 - Monday 31st July - Woolhampton to Henley on Thames. Kennet and Avon Canal and River Thames.

Bl**dy hot and sunny all day, why can't we have some nice cool rain like in Brum?

Last Night George Eycott popped over to collect "the item" he left during the Severn Estuary cruise, he stopped for a brief chat. Apparently he was at the Newbury Festival, Neil had assumed he would be WRGying!

Neil terrified the crew and got up at 6.00, in brilliant sunshine. The thought of Neil doing the tremendous Kennet input whirlpool below the lock, hitting Woolhampton Swing Bridge AND stopping on his own were too much for the crew. Well at least Alan and Linda emerged. Peter and Wendy followed about an hour later! The whole affair was a damp squib. Neil adopted the old dears approach and did the lot on tick over. Even getting the stern over and the stern rope on the first bollard was a doddle...Boring! 
After this good start we made a fairly spirited passage down the Kennety bit before Aldermaston and did the lift bridge with half an hour to spare (Locked out between 8.00 to 10.00 and 16.30 to 17.30, no restrictions at weekends) Even though we were quick through, there was still a nice traffic jam. Neil was stopped the other side before bridge was right up. A good few Reeves shells were spotted at Reading Marine / Aldermaston Wharf being fitted out. Rest of journey down to Thames, nothing really to report! We did not share locks with any one. Ufton Swing Bridge was a bu**er and needed two people to shift it. Theale Swing bridge now totally electric, this was a bit different in 1994! Fobney Lock showed signs of potential yob swimming activities, but they were not about. Linda managed reasonable stop on grot pontoon by County Lock, another boat was just coming up. There was some excitement here, there was a police car by the lock and two PC's were involved with serious discussions with a load of blokes in the road underpass. Either dossers / drunks / drug dealing. The new Oracle centre traffic light grand prix was a new experience. A bit different from our last passage through here in 1994. The approach to Bridge St Bridge has been straightened and improved a bit. 
The bored Blakes Lock keeper was not interested in seeing our Gold licence or the Thames licence you get issued with. Nice flowers though! Arrived onto now "Home" Thames water at 12.55, 5 mins before Linda's predicted time of arrival. We thought about going up to Tesco's, but we could see all those bl**dy narrowboats moored up there! The Thames seemed unusually sluggish and suddenly we had a gentle breeze to make the heat more bearable. Neil checked the diesel level, but due to pottering about it was not even down to the level of the wing tanks. This Beta engine does seem a) much more economical than Beatty's BMC 1.5 if you potter about and b) Considerably less economic if it is thrashed! Peter had one of his rare steering bouts, all they way to Marsh Lock. Neil's back was not too clever, so he had a shower and a rest! Linda and Peter missed the water point above Shiplake Lock, she said it was infested with narrowboats. Many other narrowboats seen. Those from obviously off the Thames did not have V stickers, so all must have got Gold's! 
We got to Henley at 15.15 and arranged to meet up with Ian Clarke in the evening. Everyone else had showers, so we can spend a nice long time on Hurley Water point tomorrow. We went out to Royal China Chinky. This used to be the Slow Boat, it is still an eat as much as you like joint. Lots of food, reasonable price (13 GBP / head), but nothing special. Later Ian Clarke came down to the boat for a beer and a TNC get together. The bu**er did not relieve me of all these bl**dy dustbins though! He said he had enough top get under Osney Bridge in a few weeks time.


Waiting in Woolhampton Lock No 94, for Alan to give the passed on signal that the Swing Bridge is open. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Off we go into the mighty flood of the River Kennet! Kennet and Avon Canal.

The electric (manual barriers) Woolhampton Swing Bridge No 31. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Waiting below Woolhampton Swing Bridge for the bridge operatives. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Woolhampton Swing Bridge No 3. Neil had to go back to help Linda. Key would not come out,  so we re-locked barriers. This did the trick. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Kennet and Avon Canal.

Wickham Knight Footbridge No 30. Kennet and Avon Canal.

The new Froude's Bridge Marina is up this backwater to the right. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Froude's Bridge No 29. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Approaching Aldermaston Lock No 95. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Kennet and Avon Canal.

Aldermaston Lock No 95. Note scalloped sides from when it was converted from a turf sided lock. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Aldermaston Lock No 95. Note the wooden supports as in a turf sided lock. Kennet and Avon Canal.

The rather whizzy Aldermaston Lift Bridge No  28. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Aldermaston Lift Bridge No  28. Kennet and Avon Canal.

The BW Tourist Information Centre on Aldermaston Wharf. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Reading Marine Hire base on Aldermaston Wharf. Almost all boats were out. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Padworth Lock No 96. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Kennet and Avon Canal.

Padworth Lock No 96. Kennet and Avon Canal.

The totally electric Padworth Swing Bridge No 27. Kennet and Avon Canal.

We creep into Towney Lock No 97 as the gates were just about open. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Below the sheet pile Towney Lock is the remains of the old turf sided lock. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Looking back at Towney Bridge No 26 and Towney Lock No 97. Kennet and Avon Canal.

The de-gated Ufton Lock No 98 and Swing Bridge No 25A. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Alan is having trouble with the very stiff hydraulic bridge jacks. Ufton Swing Bridge No 25A. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Below Ufton Swing Bridge No 25A, we join up with the River Kennet again. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Tyle Mill Swing Bridge No 23 from Tyle Mill Lock No 99. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Leaving Tyle Mill Lock and Swing Bridge. Kennet and Avon Canal.

The river flows off to the left just before Sulhamstead Swing Bridge No 21. Kennet and Avon Canal.

The recently replaced Sulhamstead Swing Bridge No 21. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Sulhamstead Lock No 100. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Sulhamstead Lock No 100. Part of the old turf sided lock is visible below. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Leaving Sulhamstead Lock No 100. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Theale Swing Bridge No 19. Now totally electric. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Sheffield Lock No 101. There was a travellers encampment to the right. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Leaving Sheffield Lock No 101. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Approaching Garston Lock No 102. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Garston Lock No 102. This is the most original of the two turf sided locks left. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Garston Lock No 102. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Garston Lock No 102. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Garston Lock No 102. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Garston Lock No 102. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Leaving Garston Lock No 102. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Below the M4 Bridge No 18 the river goes off again, to the right. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Linda seems rather interested in the scantily clad steerer! Kennet and Avon Canal.

Burghfield Lock No 103. Another sheet pile jobby, built just above the old turf sided lock. This was so that in future years the turf side lock could be restored. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Burghfield Lock No 103. One side of the old lock has been destroyed to make a landing stage. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Leaving Burghfield Lock No 103. Kennet and Avon Canal.

One of the last shots of Concorde before it was grounded. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Re joining the river below Burghfield Lock No 103. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Swans Footbridge No 15. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Burghfield Bridge No 14. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Moorings for the Cunning Man pub / restaurant, just above Burghfield Bridge No 14. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Kennet Cruises long term moorings just below Burghfield Bridge No 14. The river comes in from the left.....Kennet and Avon Canal.

....and goes out over this weir to the right. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Being a warm day there was obviously swimming in the weir pool! Kennet and Avon Canal.

Looking back at weir. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Rest Of Images


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