When I woke up this morning it was thick fog so I put the kettle on the hob and went back to bed, it was only 5-30AM I found out later.
Yesterday we had 10mm of rain in as many hours, but today the sun was back and with a light wind it was quite warm. We were away at 9-30 and met 4 boats quite early on in the trip. The first lock we came to was Old Heale’s lock which as you can see is quite deep.
We encountered another Turf Sided lock today, Monkey Mash. As we approached a chap with a windlass opened the bottom gat for us, so I went straight in, this meant Diana had to climb the Ladder and cross the walkway to reach terra firma. The chap with the windlass didn’t have a boat, he just lived locally and enjoyed working locks. While we were in the lock I spotted a pair of Robbins darting about with beaks full of worms to feed their young. Eventually they plucked up courage to return to the nest in the side of the lock.
The lock looks much different when its full and the banks covered with water.
Along side Greenham Lock is Newbury Dry Dock, we had to wait for a boat to lock down and the weir stream enters from the left sweeping boats to the lock landing on the right. I knew there wouldn’t be room for him to pick his crew up with me there so I waited half way through the bridge into the yard entrance.Last time we were this way the moorings beside Victoria Park were day time only, they are now 48 hr with mooring rings and like all the recognised visitor moorings were empty when we arrived. We moored there for a few hours while we went for a meal with my Son and his young lady at The Hogs Head where we sat on the riverside terrace. The boat coming down had rather an encounter with the bank side vegetation as its on the outside of the bend and the river flow takes you over to the right, it is not helped by the sign telling you to keep to the right where as you really need to try to hold centre as much as possible. Just beyond here is Newbury bridge, probably the narrowest point on the river so the place where the water flow is greatest, the effect it had on our speed travelling against it was quite marked.
The water enters from both sides between the bridge and the lock, The strongest flow comes in under the wooden footbridge under the towpath, the other comes down beside the lock. There is a lock landing just below the lock mouth and above the weir stream exit, last time we came down here this landing was closed and you had to try and stop below the bridge to pick your crew up.
Above Newbury Lock there is another swing bridge, this is half mechanised and half manual. The barriers are lowered using the hydraulic winding gear that is used on the locks using a windlass, then the bridge is swung using powered hydraulics that are controlled from the green locked panel by the bridge. The bridge only goes to a small island with some houses on it, but there were two cars waiting by the time Diana had operated it.
The is a short length of 24 hr visitor mooring a short way above the bridge and as it had just turned 5PM we decided to stop there for the night. This was a good move because within half an hour it was raining again.