Sunday, 19 June 2011

Bradford on Avon to Devizes

The section of the canal around Bradford on Avon is always busy and this morning was no exception. By nine o'clock when we set off there was already two boats moored by the lock. By the time we had waited for them o go up and another one to come down, it was over an hour before us and our companions in the rental boat had cleaed the lock. We gave them a wave as we headed off.

"Ask for your money back!" I called out as we motored away. I hope he did.

The section of canal through Hilperton and Trowbridge is not that salubrious and there were so many moored boats it was slow going. (It is not good form to go too fast past moored boats, the resulting wash can pull out mooring pins, cause nasty bumps and make people on board spill their cornflakes . Or worse. I know because some years ago my boat was sunk on the K&A just below Bradford lock. A narrowboat had gone past very fast pushing my wooden boat onto the bank and making a hole in the hull. Some witnesses thought it was a boat that belonged to the Royal Navy and used by their personnel for holidays, but I had no proof. Still, at least I can claim to be probably the owner of the only boat on the canal system to be sunk by the Navy!)

Once past Hilperton the landscape began to change to open fields. At Semington two locks continues the gradual climb of the canal .On the left was a bricked up side bridge marking the spot where the Wilts and Berks Canal used to join with the K&A. The canal was abandoned in 1914 by an Act of Parliament. There is an active restoration group (here and here) who have gained considerable support in their efforts to re-open the canal. Considering that quite a lot of Swindon and the M4 have been built on it, I have a great deal of admiration for their determination and commitment.

Emptying the toilet
This is what the toilet smelt of - not!
Further on at Semington are the next five locks. There is also a "sanitary station" where we stopped to perform the gruesome task of emptying the toilet.
We wished Vince was with us to volunteer. (previous post).

After a quick beer stop at the pub opposite we pressed on to Devizes and locked up the first seven to the bottom of the Caen Hill flight. We were both feeling pretty weary which was a bit of a worry as at eight o'clock the next morning we were due to start the long climb of twenty-two locks which separated us from Devizes Wharf two miles up the hill.

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