We decided, having heard the weather forecast, to leave Bristol for a future trip so as soon as a couple of Alvechurch hire boats had gone down to the locks we turned round and took the first free mooring above the Sydney tunnel. Here we have just come through the first tunnel with its ornate stonework;
It’s a much better spot here. We did some chores and had an early lunch. We brought a load of tomatoes from home to ripen, and I roasted a batch last night and made them into soup this morning – delicious. While it was cooking Dave got his camera and we watched a heron quietly fishing on the other side of the canal. It seemed to be picking flies off the surface of the water and got a couple of small fish too. Not this time though -
He was close to one of the bike sculptures you see along the canal – after Dave took this shot he decided to tidy himself up but he’s quite dishevelled here!
A bit later a kingfisher appeared, took a quick plunge and nabbed a fish, but flew off before Dave could get his camera.
After lunch we walked down the locks and into the city via Pulteney Weir. Half-way down the locks is this interesting sundial, though sadly no sun to tell the time;
As we crossed Pulteney Bridge the heavens opened so we dived into the Victoria Art Gallery as the rain hammered on the roof. We spent a very pleasant hour in there before strolling round the city, past the Abbey Church as the umbrellas came out (Dave’s picture again).
We walked up to the Royal Crescent and took a few photos. Dave of Deb;
and Deb of Dave.
We were quite disappointed with it – the curve is elegant and beautiful of course, but some of the houses have been cleaned and others have quite bad staining on the stones so the effect is very patchy. The more we looked at it the more we realised the windows are all different too – some are plain glass and others have small panes. We wonder what the city planners say when people want to change their windows?
We thought the Circus was more impressive, even in the rain. As we walked back we caught up with Tony from Kyakatina who drives one of the tour buses a couple of days a week when he is not doing his day job. Before we went back to the boat we stopped for tea and cake in the little cafe on Pulteney bridge above the weir. A bit basic but what a view!
(Note the raindrops on the window!) There is a trip boat above the weir too – just out of sight is the Pulteney Radial Gate, which was constructed in 1972 as part of the Bath flood defence scheme, though they now think a weir will do the job http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/538657.
We shouldn’t have lingered over our tea. While we were in Waitrose the rain started and it poured all the way back to the boat. We passed a hire boat entering the Deep Lock going up – two crew off the boat with no waterproofs and one driver unable to get her waterproof either. Poor things – at least I had a brolly and Dave a waterproof, though we still got soaked. We put the Mikuni on to dry our wet clothes on the radiators and decided to eat on the boat instead of trekking back down to town.
No locks, no swing bridges, half a mile by boat and lots more on foot.