THe Kennet and Avon Canal has been a nightmare! First it was low water causing us to ground. Then they were closing the section we were in. We got through that after a head injury and got through the closures. We thought we were motoring. Then I break my wrist on lock 70. So surely if we could push through a head injury and a broken bone we could get to Reading by Saturday. No!
We got to Midgeham lock and had a plan to get to Tyle Mill (the cow field from a prior post) as we knew that was easily possible for us since Emily and I had done it before. We had heard of a downed tree from the previous day but the notices webpage said someone was sorting it on the 21st. As we were planning to head through the Froud’s Bridge area on Friday the 22nd we were unconcerned. We headed out of our mooring at about 7am because we were awake and ready to go.
First lock was immediately in front of us and went to plan. Second lock was broken and the water was rushing in as fast as we were letting it out in the end. We just barely got the boat out the other end and happily closed that sucker back up. Now we are headed for Old Woolhampton Lock. It is a very dangerous and challenging situation. On the way up it caught me in the current between the swing bridge and the lock. I held it but it was a bit scary. On the way back down I was prepared and the current was light so following the instruction in the Nicholsen guide got me safely to the other side.
Now before that lock Alan spoke to the people we shared locks with the day before. They heard from their hire company that the tree was still blocking the canal so they would not be able to get through to the wharf and return the boat. Yup, this time the canal is blocked by a tree. So after the lock and bridge we started looking for a mooring. The spot we found is lovely.
It was 9:30am so we decided to just have the day with the two kids up in Bedfordshire. Alan walked to get the car that we had proactively dropped off at the place we intended to get to but were three miles short. I walked down to the blockage while I waited for Alan. The waiting boats were stacked up along the side. Mostly two deep but where a space wasnt quite big enough one boat moored with their stern up against the bown of the boat behind and then someone doubled moored to him so I guess there was three deep. We had moored a good ways back to be out of the way. I met a few nice people and chatted a couple minutes than made my way back to Alan so we could go. It made for a good but long day out in the end.
It is now Saturday, we did not get to go as the blockage wasn’t moved until the afternoon. Our plan of a day off on Sunday won’t happen as we will be trying to get about 8 miles tomorrow through 10 locks and 4 or 5 swing bridges. It is likely we will fall short of the goal but we should get far enough along that next week is on the Thames and the Kennet and Avon Canal is left behind….forever!