Monday, March 17, 2008

Kintbury To Newbury

5.21 miles, 4hrs 25mins, locks 7, 2.75 lock/mph

What a difference a day makes. This morning was bright and we even had some sunshine! We moved down to the top of Kintbury lock to water up and get rid of the rubbish. The boat was a bit muddy so we spent the time cleaning her up a bit – she now needs a polish on the next good polishing day we have!

We entered the lock (78) at 11.20am, so we were off at about what seems to be our normal time! All the next few locks top gates had the canal flowing over them and were set for us, unless the bottom paddles had been left open as in one case.

The pound to the next look is about a mile and a half and the GPS on the laptop showed our speed as 3.9 m/hr! The canal was really full and the towpath underwater at some points.

You may need to click on the photo to see the screen better.

Once at Dreweat’s lock (79) they came in fairly quick succession. After Copse lock (80) the River Kennet enters the canal making a very strong current from the left. Approaching the lock landing which is after this is difficult as I found out! Full throttle, aim the bows left and hope for the best! John did get back on the boat I promise!

At Hamstead lock, (81) above, the river is on the right as it leaves again about 5 minutes later before the next winding hole. However it crosses again about half way to Benham lock (82). Here there is a large weir and sluice.

The 1st Battle of Newbury took place in 1643, (apparently one of the worst battles in the Civil War) and the next two locks are named for troop commanders in the battle – Guyer’s lock and Higg’s lock. Of course the canal was not built then, it was about 150 years later!

You can see from this photo of Higg’s lock (83) that the water is over the top gates and the A34 is in the background.

Soon after Guyer’s lock (84) the outskirts of Newbury begin.

We moored a West Mills, just before the swing bridge, went for a walk along the towpath towards the lock. We walked to Newbury Wharf and the K & A Trust shop and café situated in The Stone Building.

We then returned to do some shopping in the main street at Tescos Metro.

A meal, glass of wine and a rest was very welcome. The view from our bows as the sun set was glorious.

I have lots of photos of Newbury and will upload them to Picasa web together with the rest of our cruise. So when that is done I will put a link on here!

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