It is quite amazing how our cruising plan is so dictated by what the weather is doing. Having said that though, if it is going to rain, you only get wet once so you might as well stay wet and keep going. We had a great day today with blue sky and cloud and perfect temperature so we chugged off just after 9.00am and our plan was to try to get as far as we could.
Below is a video from our Pearson’s Guide Book which shows you where we started off and where we ended up. It also explains some of the instructions that we are provided with to make our way down the “ditch”.
Hope the video explains what an average day consists of for us. In this case lots of locks which are spaced awkwardly for us as too short a distance to get back on the boat and a longer than usual distance to walk the towpath. What was good with the Caen Hill Locks was that they were all bunched together which does make it a lot easier on you.
At the summit Fraser had a schnapps to celebrate making it, as this is a tradition that Wolfgang and Marlene have. A tradition we feel is a very good one and one which we are more than happy to follow. The schnapps is pretty strong so rather than Fras being done for DUI, Di drove for a few hours and put him back on the towpath to do the locks.
You may remember us mentioning about the pill boxes along the Thames River and Kennet River which were put in when England thought they were going to be invaded by Germany in 1941. This was the last line of defence they had. They also had these huge concrete structures that they put on all the bridges to stop any vehicles and tanks coming across the rivers as shown above. They have not bothered to remove these structures on the bridges that have no vehicle traffic anymore but they are the weirdest things. It seems strange also that they have not removed the pill boxes though we saw a large one being used for hay storage so guess they might have some use.
Now these leaks might not look like much but it is concerning when you see them as it means that there are cavities formed behind the bricks. As to how large the cavity is can be predicted by watching the flow of water and the time it takes to drain. We have been seeing a few locks along this route where there are a few leaks too many and that go on for a while. We would never like to be in a lock if the walls start to collapse. There is a lot of work done by the CRT to manage each and every lock, and when one has to go down for major repair you can imagine the chaos it causes. During winter they do a lot of shut downs along all the canals as this is their big maintenance season.
We pulled up at 4.30pm behind NB Ella at Lock 69. We met Dave and Janet in Paddington Basin and moored up abreast of them for a few nights and have been tracking one another’s cruising since we both left London. They cruise about six months some years so they get to take their time and they decided not to go all the way to Bristol like us. They can always come back and do the K&A if they want to.
We all wandered off down to the Pelican pub tonight for a drink and some banter. It was interesting in our discussion about Brexit and what was ahead in the next few months and the guys explained some very interesting scenarios that could happen in September and October. Dave was thinking of maybe moving to New Zealand!
They had their beautiful Cocopoo Toby with them and we had Toque in the pub and our secret weapon was a huge hit in the pub tonight. She had multiple photos taken of her looking pathetic and the “woe is me” look in full swing. One couple were pretty much convinced they were going to get themselves a Havanese by the time we left the pub.
Walking back from the Pelican Pub along the towpath, Toque and Toby went wild. Think Toque was reliving her play dates with Coco who was a Cocopoo back in Calgary. They picked up a little terrier off another boat and then it was full on. Neither of them will need a walk tonight!!
Your video from the boat this evening is of the ablution block!!