Friday, 24 July 2015

Woolhampton to Burghfield

An early morning telephone call from Australia resulted in an early departure from our mooring above Woolhampton Lock.  The last time we went down through this lock the water level on the river Kennet was rather high with a strong current.  Today it was placid, however we still opted for the same technique.

Jan worked Waiouru down and then I loitered at the lower entrance to the lock whilst she went forward to open the swing bridge.  The bridge isn’t visible from the lock so we used walkie talkies to communicate.

waiting 1Waiting below the lock.  The River Kennet joins from the right passing under the footbridge.

around the bend

Jan opened the bridge and called me forward.

coming down

Straighten up and aim for the starboard bridge abutment.  The current will drag the bow around and into the bridge hole (well that’s the theory).

woohampton swing bridge

Bow gets pulled to port by the current and swing the tiller to get the stern to starboard.  Once through the bridge go into reverse and aim for the bridge landing.

The current wasn’t an issue today. Although having two boats moored on the bridge landing (there are signs) could have been a problem if I had miscalculated.

bridge mooring

A very familiar boat is still moored below the bridge.  Barry and Sandra would probably weep at it’s external appearance.

northern pride tic

This was the first of three familiar boats we saw today.  NB Molly was moored on the other side of Frouds Bridge Lane.  We spent four months on her in 2012 whilst waiting for Waiouru to be completed to a point where we could live on her.

molly Frouds Bridge

CRT are installing sheet piling on the offside just above Aldermaston Lock.  Reading Marine must be delighted as these are their moorings.

reading marine moorings

It wouldn’t surprise me if Reading Marine didn’t raise their annual mooring fees now there is a good edge.

We arrived at Aldermaston Swing Bridge before the opening time of 9am and loitered in the pound below the lock.  The services block is here and the official mooring time is 4 hours.  however that hasn’t stopped one boater permanently mooring on the water point.

4 hour mooring Jan remembered the plum tree beside the services building

aldermaston plums

Five minutes work and it looks like plum pudding is now on the menu!

I’m not sure if I had previously noticed this stone distance marker beside the lock.

marker stone Ufton Lock no longer exists.  But If you look closely it’s possible to see signs.

ufton lock

The canal narrows as you pass through the lock chamber.  It’s possible to see where the lower gates were.

ufton bridge

Our third familiar boat was moored above Tyle Mill Lock. No sign of Jan and her husband

whistler tyle mill

The last time we saw them was in Feb 2013 when they had a mooring in Frouds Bridge Marina.

We stopped for lunch on the moorings at Theale before continuing on to Burghfield to moor near the Cunning Man Pub.  Once Waiouru was secured I walked down Burghfield Road to the Aldi  in Horncastle to get the items I’d failed to buy in Newbury.  This time I took a list!

The last job for the day was to replace the large alternator belt.  The existing belt was looking frayed and as we are going onto the Thames I decided to replace it in advance.

alternator belt

As you can see, most of the ribs have peeled away. 

The weather forecast for tomorrow isn’t looking good so it may be another rest day!

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