Wednesday, 30 July 2014

We've made it on to the K and A!

On Monday 23rd June we left Oxford and through Isis Lock and turned left and under Osney Bridge which we were concerned at as to whether we would get under........NO PROBLEM.....It was very low (7' 6" air draft) but we made it ok with about 10" to spare.

Isis Lock which is a drop of about 4-5 ft on to
The River Thames

As you can see.......very low!

Our experience with Fred and Lisa (NB Chyandour) going to Letchlade put us in a good frame of mind for the cruise down to Reading and we both thoroughly enjoyed it although it is very different to the canal system.
A very happy Suzie with frizzy hair!

Gently cruising on the River Thames

Very calm, nice to see

Some lovely houses

Some visitors we woke up to!

WB Moon Gazing heading for London

As you can see we were blessed with lovely weather and the last picture is a Wide Beam called Moon Gazing belonging to Andy and Tracy a lovely couple we met along the way. If you see them on your travels please say hello from us!
When we got to Goring we picked up some new friends (Steve and Lesley) who are having their boat built by our builders (Milburn Boats) sadly the weather was horrendous and it rained all the way to Reading so the could not enjoy the cruise as much, we will however get them back to enjoy a cruise in the sunshine!
Having restocked the cupboards and our small drinks cabinet we left Reading and headed towards Newbury passing right through Reading Town Centre.

Our first stop was near Burghfield at The Cunning Man. The pub's name comes from a local legend of a 'cunning man' - a good wizard who would help to protect people from dark spirits and witches.
We have been told that mooring on the K&A can be an issue so we left there early the next moring to find our next spot......3/4 mile and 1 lock later we moored up in a beautiful spot where Suzie's daughter Sandie came to see us very unexpectedly and Later that same day who should come along but Tony and Doreen from NB Sarah-Olive. Tony and Doreen moored alongside and a great evening was had catching up since we last saw them in March.
Early next morning we set off as Tony and Doreen needed water and not knowing where we could moor it was prudent to get an early start....We thought we'd be able to moor at Aldermaston room! We thought we could moor at Frouds room! so it's onto Woolhampton where we had the most terrifying experience to date! It's quite a story and I'll try and keep it short......
Prior to Woolhampton Lock we are still on the River Kennet and just before the lock there is an electronic swing bridge. Doreen opened the swing bridge and Tony took their Narrowboat through and pulled up just behind a CRT work boat. I came through on Swamp Frogs and struggled to get through the swing bridge due to the current. Doreen closed the swing bridge and joined Suzie at the lock while I was still trying to get the boat tied up. I looked up only to see Tony struggling to hold NB Sarah-Olive on the centre line as the current had pushed the bow right out and the boat had started to list. I very quickly tied up Swamp Frogs and ran to give Tony a hand, we were unable to pull Sarah-Olive in as the current was so strong.....we then heard a mighty bang and discovered that the bed had fallen over. This was followed by another bang which was the tall fridge freezer falling over closely followed by the cupboard doors opening and all the crockery falling out and smashing! Tony managed to jump on Sarah-Olive as the boat had come back and wedged itself on our bow but the engine was not man enough to counteract the current.....we tied 2 ropes together to make a 100ft long rope and with the aid of 10-15 blokes from the pub we had a tug of war with the current......eventually we won!
We eventually went up through the lock and moored for the night.......Phew! long winded I know but very very scary....even when the water looks calm beware of currents!
Anyways, that's enough for now, I'm about 3-4 weeks behind schedule so will try to catch up!

Since the last blog we have done 59 miles and 28 locks this gives a grand total of 674 miles 100 yards, 350 locks and 9 tunnels (tunnels over a 1000 yards only)


  1. Hadn't you set the lock before going through the bridge? Every guide I've ever seen has said to set the lock, swing the bridge, and go straight into the lock, making sure you head into the current. It's similar on the way back -- make sure the bridge is swung before leaving the lock, and go straight through.

  2. I concur with Adam, El went ahead and gave me a shout on the walkie talkie when it was set.

  3. Hi Adam, we hope all is well with you and Adrian? and the same applies to you Paul and Elaine. Paul, we will probably winter on the Macclesfield Canal so if you are nearby pop in, it would be great to see you both before you return to Oz.
    Anyways......Ordinarily I keep a close eye on navigation notes reading the book each morning and highlighting to Suzie what we will be expecting and Wollhampton swing bridge/lock was no different I had marked the book and had warned Suzie that morning. However, we did not expect to get that far as we expected to moor at Aldermaston and the navigation note is over the following page.We were all very tired and Tony had hurt his back 2-3 days before and pulled over to take more pain killers thinking it would be okay as it looked calm. Yes, a very valuable lesson learnt and not to be repeated.

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