Thursday 17th April
We set off around 9.30 in a freezing wind but bright sunshine. We needed bread so we stopped at Great Bedwyn, making sure to moor near the lock, well before the visitor moorings as we had heard such awful reports of the congestion caused by overstaying liveaboards. In the event the visitor moorings were deserted and there was no problem at all. Anyway, we crossed at the lock bridge and took the footpath over the railway and up to the village past the church. Great Bedwyn is another fantastically pretty village. We wonder what the property prices are? Our internet signal has been so poor we have no idea! Anyway, we bought some bread, cake and a pasty in the bakery (which has recently changed hands) and got some milk and dog food in the post office where we took the obligatory photos -
I do seem to be having trouble getting my camera straight and level. The Stone Museum is sadly now closed – when I finally got a decent internet signal I found that the Post Office is now on the site but some of the stones have been retained on the Post Office wall http://www.greatbedwynpost.co.uk/p/great-bedwyn_20.html.
The church was still there of course, with its unusual tower parapet.
After lunch we moved on, intending to moor below Oakhill Down lock, but there was a cruiser moored there with the noisiest generator we have ever heard on the canal so we went on down Froxfield Middle lock and found a delightful mooring – on armco too! Though we could still hear that generator when the wind was in the right (wrong) direction.
We were relieved to stop today as many of the locks were pretty tough – heavy gates, stiff paddles, or both! but we got on with some jobs – Dave touched up the blacking on the towpath side and I cleaned the window channels and drain holes on that side too.
9 locks, 3.5 miles
Friday 18th April Good Friday
Another chilly start but plenty of sunshine as well as the cold wind. We got going by 9 as we wanted to get to Hungerford before the canoes – today is the first day of the Devizes to Westminster canoe race. The derelict cottage at Cobbler’s Lock is still a sad sight but the Clematis montana is surviving – you can just see the first flowers on the right above the window.
The bywash below the lock was very fierce and Dave needed a lot of power to keep Chuffed straight.
We moored above Hungerford lock in time for lunch, just by the canoe race checkpoint. It was being manned by the scouts, who also had a cake stall and bacon butties for fundraising – great cakes! The first canoes were expected by the time we moored, but the start of the race had unfortunately been delayed by 2 hours (it should have been 7:30). A body had been found in the canal and they had to wait for the police to finish before the race could be started. Today was the civilians – they get to Newbury today, somewhere on the Thames tomorrow and finish on Sunday. There were many teenage crews as well as adults. Eventually the leaders came by -
I walked Meg up as far as Cobbler’s Lock and took photos there and at Hungerford Marsh lock;
We went back to Hungerford Church swing bridge to meet Dave and watch the canoes going underneath -
In the evening we went to the Plume of Feathers where we had a lovely meal last year, but unfortunately it was rather mediocre this time.
4 locks, 2 swing bridges, 2 and a half miles