Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wooton Rivers to Crofton

3.39mls, 2hrs 34mins, 8locks, 4.43lmph

It rained quite a bit in the night but it was dry by morning. We set off about 10 as we had 2 more locks to do in the Wootton Rivers flight and then the 6 down to Crofton.

Approaching Cadley Lock

We passed Burbage Wharf with just of the stump of the crane left, it is being restored at Claverton. (See Claverton Blog); quickly followed by Bruce Tunnel (502 yards). The towpath goes over the top of the tunnel so walkers have a bit of a climb. Bruce tunnel was named after Thomas Bruce, Earl of Aylesbury. It still has chains on the walls that were used to pull boats through.

About half a mile later the Crofton flight begins, just after the imposing remains of an old railway bridge either side of the canal. We stopped just before the winding hole to hold the boat whilst John set the Crofton Top Lock (55). All the locks down to Crofton should be left empty and have really leaky gates. Two of them have interesting names – Adopters lock (57) and Sam Farmer Lock (58).

After the next lock we moored briefly to have lunch and cast off just before two boats began to descend behind us. This meant that they had to wait for us, or slow down a bit. There was a fairly brisk wind blowing by this time but the sun was out and it was very pleasant.

There have been a lot of walkers today – some of them serious hikers by the looks of their gear and also one group who were orienteering. We only passed two boats coming up and that was not until Crofton lock where there was a BW man helping boats through. He was quite chatty and helpful and as there was another boat coming up we John was able to leave the gate open.

We moored right down near the next lock (Crofton Crossing Lock - 61). There were only two moorings left!

Looking back from our mooring towards lock 60 and the pumping station

John then dashed off the catch the bus at Bedwyn a couple of miles away to go back to Pewsey to bring the car here.

Bus via Marlborough

We plan to stay on the 48-hour moorings then perhaps wind and go up a lock so we can stay here until Thursday. I shall go to work from here as Marlborough is not too far and I only have to go into Devizes on Wednesday.

Since we have been moored the boat traffic has been heavy – maybe because Crofton Pumping House is in steam this weekend. I can smell the coal smoke from the chimney as it blows down the cut – a very nostalgic smell!

It has been a lovely evening and as I upload this the sun is setting, but not such a good sky as they had a Wimbledon in the last few moments of the Nadal/Kiefer match!

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