We made a very slow start this morning. You know how annoying it is when boats go past too fast? Well, an Alvechurch hire boat crept past so slowly as we prepared to leave that we barely noticed they were there! Very good. Anyway, we gave them 5 minutes before we left, but although we were creeping along too, what with all the moored boats round Bath, we soon found ourselves behind them. Time to take a photo of the so-called visitor moorings outside Bathampton – a bit of phone-shake unfortunately as my camera battery is on charge.
While we filled up, we watched an approaching widebeam wait for the super-slow hire-boat to inch past it, and as he came by he said there were 5 other hire-boats in front of it. It looks as though we have made a poor choice of day to be going in this direction!
We passed this odd sculpture, which we saw the other day; on it is written ‘ceci n’est pas un canoe’ in the same cursive script as on the famous painting ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ by Magritte.
We thought it must be, or represent, the pointy end of a racing eight. I couldn’t find anything on the internet about it anyway.
Once more the weather is so overcast and misty that we can see very little of the countryside. We were waved past a widebeam, but he was then so close behind that when I opened the Millbrook swing bridge before Dundas aqueduct I really had to wave him through as well. I closed up only to see him come to a halt as a single-hander towing a nearly full-length narrowboat came round the bend. I didn’t really have much choice – back I went to open the bridge again as the rain started.
We needed to empty cassettes so were quite keen to stop at Dundas services – unfortunately they were occupied, and we foolishly opted not to moor up and wait. As the rain got heavier and more persistent we thought we’d keep going past Avoncliff and stop at Bradford Tithe Barn moorings for the night – another wrong decision, as it was lunchtime and they were full too. So we went up the lock with a hire boat that was already waiting, with a delightful couple enjoying their first canal holiday in spite of the weather. And his job? He drives tugs on the Panama Canal! We pulled in at the service station, where the unit is so prone to blockage you are asked to empty the cassette a third at a time, flushing between each third. The cistern is slow to fill, and we had two cassettes to empty. And one started to leak. At least the rain had stopped!
Eventually we got going again and finally moored up before Hilperton on the nice little spot we were at the other day. We finally had lunch after 3. To cheer ourselves up, Dave watched Spurs beat some foreign team and I went for a run. Much better afterwards!
The Kennet and Avon really hasn’t shown us her best side this trip. Apart from the bit before Hungerford, and the Caen Hill flight which was great in spite of the breakdown, we have found the moorings poor and the miles of moored boats very tedious. There have been no views to speak of this side of Devizes because of the weather and the overgrown banks. We had been looking forward to visiting Bradford-on-Avon but with our poor choice of timing missed out on that too! Never mind, better luck next time. Grumble over.