Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Easter Sunday, Froud’s Bridge and a thunderstorm

Sunday 20th April Easter Day

The forecast was pretty poor and the day dawned grey and gloomy so we were on our way by 9 to get as far as we could before the rain started.  There were only 2 boats on the move this morning, unlike yesterday which was pretty busy.  From a distance these looked like china ornaments – all lying down, so it’s going to rain …

like china ornaments but all lying down in the rain

As we passed through Thatcham’s deserted industrial units these flowering cherries provided an incongruous sight;

more incongruous cherries

We approached Colthrop Lock as the rain began and it was heavy with thunder and lightning for a while.  A cheery cyclist wished us ‘Happy Easter’ and a laughing group of walkers waved as we passed in the pouring rain.  Luckily the rain eased off as we approached Woolhampton.  The moorings were pretty full, but we hadn’t planned to stop and went to check out the river flow - quite fast - while the lock was filling.  Dave planned his strategy, which worked well.  This photo doesn’t really show the speed of the river between the lock and the bridge. 

rushing to woolhampton bridge

I only held up one van at the bridge; the occupants got out and seeing that Chuffed was over 50 yards away, got back in their van and reversed to turn round, but by the time they were done, Dave was through and I was closing the bridge!  Here is Chuffed racing through.

racing through the bridge

The flow was so strong that he couldn’t get over to the landing and I had to walk down to Wickham Knight footbridge before I could – just about - get back on.  We arrived at the marina at lunchtime and spent the afternoon on the service wharf as the rain poured down, before moving onto our mooring as the sun came out at 6.30.

7 locks, 5 swing bridges, 6 miles

Monday 21st April Bank Holiday Monday

Dave was away before 9 to get back down to Caen Hill and collect the car, getting back in time for lunch.  We got on with various jobs for a couple of hours before packing up and going home.  I took the cratch cover off and cleaned it; it’s beginning to show its age but should be good for this year at least. 

We left the marina soon after 6, and had a straightforward and trouble-free journey home down the A303, unlike the hundreds of families crawling back to London on the other carriageway.

Our plan is to be back in a couple of weeks to go down the Thames to London, but we’ll have to see what the rivers are doing.  CRT are still recommending that even experienced boaters don’t risk going through Reading yet.  Seeing the flow at Woolhampton we were surprised that the hire boats at Aldermaston were sent out this weekend, though nobody had had problems going upstream.

Here’s hoping for some dry weather!

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