Friday 4th October
There was a violent thunderstorm overnight and lots of heavy rain, but it has cleared away the mist and low cloud at last. Still enough cloud for some drizzle though, so we stopped at Hilperton for a while for a cup of tea after a quick trip to the shop.
There was an efficient three-boat shuffle at the first swing bridge, with us only have to close up. There is some very imaginative artwork on the canals -
Is this owner a fan of the mayor of London or does Boris have a hobby we don’t know about?
We stopped for lunch at the 24-hour spot below Semington Bridge and I went up for a look at the old junction with the Wilts and Berks canal. There are a couple of interpretation boards; the one at the junction is about the canal’s history and the other one, by the mooring, has an photo of the Duchess of Cornwall symbolically lifting a turf – in 2010 - where they (optimistically?) expect the new entrance to be, as the old course has been partially built over. The plan is to restore it as far as Melksham I think, but it looks as though there is rather a lot of money to be raised first. There is even a marina proposed at the new junction. Here is Chuffed passing the old junction;
We moored at Seend between the two bottom locks as we expected it to be quieter than opposite the pub – true, but as if the moorings weren't overgrown enough there were 6 lots of dog poo to be cleared first!
After a relaxing cup of tea in the intermittent sunshine I went off to pick blackberries while Dave started cleaning and re-affixing the tiles behind the galley sink, as they have been loose for some time. We walked up to the Barge, nabbed a window table and enjoyed our beer as we watched several hire boats coming down the locks as the light rapidly faded. It was nearly dark when a Sally Boat arrived and took the last space right outside. Lots of entertainment before an excellent meal.
3 locks, 4 swing bridges, 5 miles