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Tours 2000, The Basingstoke Canal

2 - Brookwood to the end (Warnborough Green) and back to Odiham, via Basingstoke Canal.

The next morning (Tuesday 18th April) we started at 9.15 with NO ranger about! We sauntered up the flight with no one around, arriving at the top at 12.30. Water was every where, no dry pounds like in 1992! The Deep Cut cutting was easy going, still not even walkers about. At the end of the cutting serious rain started, that was with us for the rest of the day. We passed the Canal Centre at Mytchett, having negotiated the new swing bridge. (This needs a BW key to unlock it). We passed Greatbottom Flash and one of our 1992 mooring spots. We stopped here in 1992 on the towpath quite late, to have a nice view across the lake. Some nosey woman came out of her house telling that we could not stop here as it was a SSSI. Neil then basically told her to get stuffed! as this was the towpath and not the flash!
 We soon arrived at a NEW BIT of canal, the Blackwater Valley Road Aqueduct, much video was shot. In 1992, this had not been built. The ridiculous "bat cave" was spotted, are there really any in it? This was in pouring rain, the video got too wet / cold and went in to panic mode! Ash lock was also done in pouring rain. 
 We arrived at Wharf Bridge still in pouring rain. Neil had already removed the cratch (and carpets) and we crept under this very low bridge. We could have made this one with the cratch up. (This one slopes to the towpath AND to the downhill end, so swing out and keep well over to the non towpath side.) There is also a surprise low pipe on the old bridge which follows this one. Linda spotted a few Fallow Deer before Claycart Bridge. This was a serious army replacement one, it looked strong enough to take a tank! The second low bridge, Pondtail soon followed. This one would have been debatable with the cratch up, it was fairly level though. The final low bridge, Reading Road was definitely the lowest. It was flat, but did rise slightly in the middle to a measured 5ft 9ins. This was in very wet conditions, with water going over the nearby overflow weir. There are good moorings above and below these three bridges for a cratch removal stop, if you can't do it on the move. 
There are also good moorings by "The Fox and Hounds" a bit further on. This pub does not do evening meals though. It was at this point that Neil wisely started phone up pubs to make sure that they were doing food. "The Chequers" just above Chequers bridge was not, as it was a Tuesday and the "Barley Mow" was not at the moment as they had an electrical failure in their kitchen. We ended up stopping at Barley Mow wharf at 18.30. We had phoned the pub again and they said that they could rustle us up something. When we arrived we were greeted by a very friendly new landlord. He said that he had put new kit in the kitchen, but the brewery had not upgraded the 2 phase supply going in there. A 60 fuse had blown. They still managed to offer half of their extensive menu, the chef had to cook some of it upstairs on the landlord's cooker! It was an excellent meal and a well kept pint.

Wednesday 19th April we set off again in drizzle at 10.20. Some contactors were doing some extensive dredging around here and it was a joy to watch them maneuver a Bantam tug and fully loaded mud hopper through the bridge and sharp corner. Soon the weather cheered up to a sunny afternoon. We reached the end at 12.00 after winding. Neil, Peter and Wendy walked up to the Greywell Tunnel to scare some bats, but none came out! The water up this end was absolutely crystal clear and Neil was relieved to see that had not yet knocked off any of his new blacking! We got involved in a photography competition, apparently "Earnest" was more photogenic that King John's Castle!  We had to remove fenders and other junk to please them! 
At14.30 we shoved off for Odiham. Warnborough lift bridge slightly confused Peter, you have to use your BW key to open a box to get out a LARGE windlass to crank up the bridge. This pulls down a cable attached to one of the balance beams. We can't remember what it was like in1992, maybe we will watch that video to find out! At Galleon Marine Linda did perfect and very sedate reverse into their basin for some diesel, but there did seem to be a fault with "Earnest". This fault exhibited it's self as a loud gear gnashing noise coming from the bow end, any body know what it could have been?! 
Galleon Marine had just been taken over the day before and the old guv was showing the new owner the ropes. This he was not very good at and "lost" most of his rowboats, Neil marshaled them up with the boathook. The diesel came out of a dipped tank and was a rip off price of over 2 a gallon! After Neil had been fleeced, he did a most perfect turn and reverse back to the wharf  with "Earnest" not exhibiting any kind of "Fault" from the bow at all! We were finally moored up at 16.10 after spending nearly an hour chatting with the new owner. That night we walked into town and went to the "Kings" Chinese, which was OK.


We start off without any ranger, Deepcut Bottom Lock. Basingstoke Canal.

Sunken wide beam house boat barge above Deepcut Bottom Lock. Basingstoke Canal.

Deepcut Flight. Neil gets "buzzed" by bloody noisy Canada Goose! Basingstoke Canal.

Deepcut Flight. Linda in Marigold's again! Basingstoke Canal.

Deepcut Flight. Basingstoke Canal.

Deepcut Flight. Curzon Bridge over Lock No25. Basingstoke Canal.

Deepcut Flight. Curzon Bridge over Lock No25. Basingstoke Canal.

Deepcut Flight. Basingstoke Canal.

Deepcut Flight. Basingstoke Canal.

Deepcut Flight. Top Lock. Basingstoke Canal.

Deepcut Flight. Top Lock. Basingstoke Canal.

Deepcut Flight. Top Lock. Basingstoke Canal.

Deepcut cutting. Basingstoke Canal.

Ash Railway Aqueduct. Basingstoke Canal.

The new Kings Head Bridge, it even appeared to have a brick arch! Basingstoke Canal.

The new Canal Centre Foot Swing Bridge. Basingstoke Canal.

Basingstoke Canal Centre at Mytchett. Basingstoke Canal.

"Bob's Barge Inn" clubby pub with "drive in" moorings at Mytchett. Basingstoke Canal.

Old Ash Vale barge building shed. Basingstoke Canal.

Mytchett Lake. Basingstoke Canal.

Great Bottom Flash. Basingstoke Canal.

Great Bottom Flash. Basingstoke Canal.

"The Swan" at Heathvale Bridge. Wilderness boater's do it everywhere! Basingstoke Canal.

The uninspiring Ash Wharf. Basingstoke Canal.

The new Blackwater Aqueduct. Basingstoke Canal.

The new Blackwater Aqueduct. Basingstoke Canal.

The new Blackwater Aqueduct. Basingstoke Canal.

The new Blackwater Aqueduct. To the bat cave! Basingstoke Canal.

Ash Lock. Basingstoke Canal.

Ash Lock. Basingstoke Canal.

Ash Lock Workshops. Basingstoke Canal.

Wharf Bridge. Basingstoke Canal.

Eelmoor Bridge. Basingstoke Canal.

Pondtail Bridge. Basingstoke Canal.

Reading Road Bridge. Basingstoke Canal.

Reading Road Bridge. Basingstoke Canal.

Reading Road Bridge. The ridiculous R&D tiller pin would have hit! Basingstoke Canal.

Zebron Copse Swing Bridge. Basingstoke Canal.

Chequers Bridge and Wharf. Basingstoke Canal.

Dredging near Barley Mow Bridge. Basingstoke Canal.

Dredging near Barley Mow Bridge. Basingstoke Canal.

Dredging near Barley Mow Bridge. The motor is "Hyperion". Basingstoke Canal.

Barley Mow Wharf. Basingstoke Canal.

"The Barley Mow". Basingstoke Canal.

Dogmersfield. Basingstoke Canal.

Dogmersfield. My god! another boat. Basingstoke Canal.

Serious house at Pillers Copse. Basingstoke Canal.

Galleon Marine and Odiham Wharf (By bridge.) Basingstoke Canal.

Warnborough Lift Bridge. Basingstoke Canal.

"Earnest" at the end. Basingstoke Canal.

"Earnest" at the end. Basingstoke Canal.

Greywell Tunnel. Basingstoke Canal.

Greywell Tunnel. The water was over three feet deep here! Basingstoke Canal.

The Tour continues...


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