Friday, 24 July 2015

Wife Swapping, Bends, Mobile Pin and a Stalker!

Thursday 24th July 2015
Tyle Mill to Cunning Man, Burghfield

4.5 miles, 5 locks, 3 swing bridges

Before we left after a great evening together on Cleddau we had agreed to start at 09:00 (rather than 10:00) as we were aware there was a narrow boat and wide beam ahead of us.  In the event it was 08:55, but alas too late - they both pulled out just ahead of us!  Just a few hundred yards down the cut we came to the first lock - the wide beam went first, Cleddau went with the narrow boat.  This meant they could start taking on water which was just after the lock and swing bridge.  We had been warned the pressure was low - it was and therefore very, very slow!  By the time our turn came for the lock another narrow boat had come along, so we went down with them.  We were thankful that none of the other boats needed the services.  As it was, it took us nearly two hours to travel a few hundred yards, go through a swing bridge, fill up with water and get rid of the rubbish!  

Tentatrice emerging from Tyle Mill Lock - Cleddau is on the left at the services
 After our slow start there were no more hold ups - in fact at most locks we met boats coming up the locks which makes life a lot easier.  These moorings above Sheffield lock are new since Cleddau was last here some 8 years ago.  They are in a good state of repair

with a park area behind them along with this rather attractive mile post - 6 miles to Reading and 13.5 miles to Newbury

There are many pillboxes along this waterway, but this has to be the most well preserved and even has a porta loo beside it!

 Sheffield lock is the second 'scalloped edged' lock on this waterway

 Originally there were 20 turf sided locks on this canal, but now there are only two left.  This is the second one - Garston Lock and the site of our wife swapping!

There was a boat waiting to come up, so Boatwif and I had to climb down the ladders to get back on board - we were, however, on the wrong side of the locks for our respective boats.  Down we went onto the 'wrong' boat, a quick shuffle forward by the Captain, a quick transfer and domestic harmony was restored!  These ladders are never that easy, but even more tricky in a turf sided lock, but we made it safely.  Definitely a good reason for not wearing good clothes!

The view as we left the lock - very leaky top gates

Our guide book states - 'The M4 impinges briefly.  You can marvel at it's ugliness'.  We were grateful for the former and would not argue with the latter.

Shortly after you go under the M4 the guidebook has an alert in Red Bends!  There is not much more to be said!  Thankfully we did not meet any boats until just before the last bend, but it had to be at a point where a tree considerably narrows the navigation.  A little patience and we all got through in safety.

 The forecast for tomorrow (today as I type) had been checked and a decision was made to stop at Burghfield by the Cunning Man Pub.  As we pulled in The Captain was heard to utter ' I need a Mobile Pin' - Boatwif obliged!

Chris, Monty and I went off for a walk in the sunshine.  Back along the towpath, turn left and round part of the many gravel pits that are along this part of the Kennet and Avon.  This one is Theale Water Sports Club.  Visually delightful in parts

but audibly it was not so good - for about a mile you are walking with the traffic on the M4 just a few feet to your left.

Monty had to be on the lead more than usual, but that did give me a chance to snap this cheeky chappy.

This confused us - a car in a very secure locked compound.  It was a good mile down the track from the water sports centre and you need a key code to get into the track.  There is no house or any other building anywhere near and

they weren't going in or out the only other way, so who does it belong to, why is it there and why the need for so much security??

At last we were away from the motorway, over the K&A on the above bridge and across this last field avoiding the presents the geese had left behind.  It is part of the national cycle way - the uneven ground and narrow path did not slow some of them down

but I am sure this did - well briefly!

We were back on the tow path and came across this rather handsome beetle - I am afraid I have no idea what type it is

Back across the river again and a view of our moorings - we were glad we arrived when we did

Chris and I then popped up to the pub to book a table leaving Monty with Sue and Ken - note the pathetic face at the window and the 'dog gate' erected to stop him following us!

The biggest downside to this mooring - who's responsibility is this - C&RT or the local council? Boaters' rubbish which I am sure they should not have left there,  but the bin has obviously not been emptied for quite a long time.  How bad does it have to get before someone does something about it?  Breaking news - sometime today the rubbish has gone!

And who was our Stalker?  Waiouru!

And so to today:  This says it all!

Even Monty does not want to go anywhere!  Accuweather did seem to think the rain might stop around 2pm - it is now 13:45 with no sign of it letting up, but we will have to go out eventually whatever the weather does.  I think Monty will need his coat.

And nb Waiouru? - she is still here too!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely to read about your adventures Jennie. I know that better weather would be a bonus, but it doesn't seem to stop you enjoying it all. Long may the fun continue!