Thursday, 9 July 2015

Two Aqueducts

A casual start to the day as we only planned to cruise for two hours.  The first task of the day was for Jan to walk to Sainsbury’s and then we moved forward to the CRT facilities block above Bradford Lock to dispose of the rubbish and top up the water tank.  Bradford Lock is probably the deepest we have seen in some time.  The Bradford on Avon Tithe Barn is on the other side of the lock. 

tithe barn

It’s a 14th century Grade II listed building which was originally owned by the nuns of the nearby Shaftesbury Abbey and used to store tithes during the middle ages.  Farmers were charged a 10% levy to store their produce in it.  The building is now owned by English Heritage.  We’ll try to have a better look inside on our return.

Further down the canal was a boat with interesting exterior paintwork.

boat scheme

We first noticed this boat passing us when we were based in Aldermaston back in 2011.  I wonder of it’s vinyl rather than paint?

Our first aqueduct was Avoncliffe.  I had walked down to it last night to take some photos.

avoncliffe

avoncliffe river

Looking back towards Bradford on Avon

The aqueduct takes the canal from the south to the north side of the River Avon below.  There were a long line of moored boats between Bradford and the aqueduct and we were hoping it would be different beyond.  Actually one of the first things we noticed on today’s cruise was the scenery was much more attractive.  Even the light rain didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. 

A little over 90 minutes later we reached Dundas Aqueduct which would take us back over the River Avon. 

It was 11am and the 48 hour moorings on the north side of the aqueduct were empty.  We had only just moored when a day trip boat arrived behind us and proceeded to moor on the opposite side.

no mooring

We were bemused to see them moor beside the large “Private Moorings” “Permit holders Only” sign.  They were the first of three hire boats who were chased off the mooring by the local boaters.

waiouru dundas

After lunch I wandered off to have a good look around the local area.  A steep set of steps will take walkers down to the base of the aqueduct.

dundas aqueduct

Completed in 1805 and built from local Bath stone, it has three arches.  What I found particularly interesting were all the symbols carved into the individual stones.

stonemark1stonemark2stonemark3stonemark4stonemark5stonemark6

My assumption is these are the original markings used by the stonemasons to identify their work.  They would probably have been paid by the “piece”.

At the far end of the aqueduct and to the left is the entrance to the long derelict Somerset Coal Canal.  I seem to recall reading about the canal prior to arriving in the UK.  If  I am right it had a very short life as the coal was rapidly exhausted.  It also had some unusual locks?

somerset coal canal The canal is still navigable to the A36 bridge.  There’s a cafe and boatyard at the end.  The canal is still in water under the bridge and it looks as If  the boatyard uses it as a wet dock.  Looking over the opposite side of the bridge just revealed undergrowth.

canal end somersetPhoto taken from the bridge looking back along the arm.

The local fishermen are obviously used to the local traffic.  Unlike those we have seen elsewhere on the network these don’t take flight when you approach them.  Actually he ignored us!

heron

2 comments :

Brian and Diana on NB Harnser http://nbharnser.blogspot.com said...

Its a paint job, not vinyl. I had a close look when we were down there.

Tom and Jan said...

I guess it was either self done as a labour of love or damned expensive. I hate to repair any scratches!