Sunday, 26 July 2015

Goodbye K&A and the rare Reading water vole

We quietly (hopefully) slipped away from our Burghfield morning at 8am leaving our mooring companions to their slumbers.

burghfield boaters

Nbs Tentatrice and Cleddau

On reaching the first lock (Southcote) we discovered the lower gates were open.  Either the boat in front of us was deliberately leaving them open or they were poorly hung and drifted open when the lock was empty.

On our way to the next lock (Fobney) we passed Nb Adelaide moored on the towpath.  It was here just over a month ago that we partnered up with Adelaide when heading to Reading.

adelaide again

We found the lower gates at Fobney Lock open, so there was a lazy boater ahead of us.  We weren’t sure how we would complete Fobney lock.  The river joins the canal from the right immediately below the lock and after the heavy rain yesterday there might be a strong flow.  After a quick look below the lock our concerns abated. 

If anyone passes this way in a fortnight you might want to check if the apples are ripe on the heavily laden tree beside the lock.

It was on the stretch of water below Fobney Lock that we saw the rare Reading water vole.  It’s appearance was fleeting and unfortunately the photo is out of focus.  However we were able to determine it was a male gathering food for his family.

reading water voleHe was a rather timid creature scurrying for cover when he realised we were approaching. Smile

CRT should really cut back the willows on the approach to County Lock as they impair visibility.

county lockThe lower gates were again open,but that is usual practice for this lock.  It makes entrance easier for boats coming upstream.

Jan worked Waiouru down and then pressed the traffic light button getting a green light for our cruise through the narrows at Reading.

working county lock Note the read light in the distance.

We had the green light and were just pulling away from the landing when the bl**dy light changed back to red.  That’s not supposed to happen.  The instructions state it will stay green for 10 minutes.  We frantically went into reverse thinking a boat was coming towards us and then Jan pushed the button again.  The light immediately turned green.

traffic light


Pulled along by the current, Waiouru fairly flew through Reading.  Jan took a few photos whilst I concentrated on the steering.

old locals

Some of the Reading senior citizens


The only point where there is a potential for things to get tricky is Duke Street Bridge which is on an angle to the river.  When we first went this way in 2013 blog reader Bill told us to aim for the right abutment and the current would drag the bow into the centre of the stream.

old reading bridge1

It’s good advice and we passed through without any issues.

old reading bridge

Looking back

Blakes Lock was on self service which meant our license would probably be checked at Caversham Lock.

Jan did the last manual lock we will pass through for the next few days.

goodbye k&a

Goodbye Kennet & Avon Canal.  We won’t be returning by boat.  It’s not that the locks are particularly difficult or the scenery poor.  It’s the lack of moorings and the large number of continuous moorers.  The Bath end is very attractive.

We turned upstream on reaching the Thames passing all the squatters moored outside Tesco.  Jan had written several emails to Tesco complaining and their response was it’s a Reading Council problem as they own the land.

tesco cms

Obviously the council isn’t interested.

The new footbridge has been erected over the Thames at Caversham.

reading footbridge1

reading footbridge

The bridge hasn’t been opened to the public.

Our plan was to find a mooring a Beale Park but we realised there is no TV reception there.  Nor is there a pub for our Sunday roast lunch.  We decided to check and see if many boats were moored beside the park and if not, we would continue to Goring in the hope of getting a mooring there.  It turned out there was only one boat at Beale Park and plenty of room at Goring.  Lunch tomorrow is looking positive!


Jennie said...

Glad you had a good day Tom and Jan. We left very soon after you, so were not slumbering!! We are moored at Shiplake College. Safe travels - it was good to meet you both over the last few days. Jennie and Chris

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Jennie,

It was a pleasure to meet after reading your blog for such a long time! Enjoy london......

Tom & Jan