Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Two meetings

Jan had already worked us through the first two swing bridges and we were heading down a short straight to the first lock of the day when we noticed someone at the lock.  It would be in our favour as we had passed a wide beam boat at the last swing bridge  Was the person turning it against us.   As we got closer I recognised the man and immediately realised he was preparing the lock for us.


Yes, it was that well known boater…. Maffi   We knew from his blog <link here> that he was at this end of the canal but hadn’t expected to see him for another couple of days.  Jan got to do the talking as I was stuck on the boat down in the lock.  With boats coming from both directions it was only the briefest of conversations.

Molly was keeping a close eye on Maffi from the roof of The Milly M


The crew of a boat coming towards us at the 3rd swing bridge closed it in front of us and departed the landing just as we arrived.  That seemed a bit rude until we realised the farmer was waiting to use it.

full bridge

It’s the first time we have seen traffic on a rural swing bridge.

Two further swing bridges and two locks later we reached Semington Junction.  Along the way Jan noticed the following advertising signs on the side of a farm building.  She realised the years have gone by when she recognised some of the products.


Actually there is no canal junction at Semington but this is the location of the end of the proposed restoration of the Wilts & Berks Canal.  The original connection is on the other side of the bridge in the following photo.

old end

The proposed end of the restored canal is to the immediate right of Waiouru.

restoration end

The screen dump from Paul Balmer’s Waterway Routes map might clarify things.

semington junction

The Restoration would see the Wilts & Berks Canal join the Thames at Abingdon and the Stroudwater Canal onto the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal at Saul Junction.  If completed, the restored canal would provide some interesting alternative cruising routes.

We stopped at The Boatyard, Hilperton (not the adjacent ABC Hire Base) and had a pump out (£14) and filled the diesel tanks (65ppl self declared).  It had been lightly raining for the previous hour but stopped as we left Hilperton. 

Just before Balls Bridge I noticed a towpath walker and then realised their dog was wearing a Hi Viz jacket.  The penny dropped!  It was Tracey and her guide dog Oakley doing their sponsored walk from Bath to Reading.

tim andsolagratia

With all the excitement we forgot to take a photo of Tracey & Oakley but did manage one of Tim following on nb Sola Gratia.  Blog reader Bill had already mentioned in an email that Tracey & Oakley had been mentioned in the local Newbury newspaper.  We wish them well with the sponsored walk.

By 2pm we’d had enough cruising for the day and started looking for a mooring.  That’s not an easy task on the Kennet & Avon but eventually we managed to get close to the edge halfway between Hilperton and Bradford on Avon.

No comments :