Thursday, 24 April 2014

Oakhill Down Bridge Wed 23 April 2014

Last night was not the quietest of moorings so close to Kintbury railway station with a steady stream of freight trains going through all night and I don’t expect tonight to be any better. The railway follows the Kennet and Avon quite closely, sometimes very closely.DSCF5197

We set of at 0940hrs and not a bad morning, Just through the first bridge and the canal widens dramatically, there is a 72ft winding hole along here, but other than the sign you wouldn’t know where it is.DSCF5171 This gives a lovely setting to Kintbury Vicarage which sits up on the left hand bank overlooking this wide expanse of water.DSCF5173 As I waited while Diana set

Dun Mill lock where we waited while a pair of cruisers came down together, one towing the other, the sky was full of Swallows. The are the black dots on the photo.DSCF5174 There use to be water cress beds above the mill, but these have now been converted into a trout fishery.

As we approached Hungerford we passed under Station Rd Bridge,DSCF4782 moored just before it was “Shell Fen” an old Shell oil tanker that was used to deliver oil around the Fens, we last saw her moored at Tadpole Bridge on the Thames.DSCF5181

We moored in Hungerford on the 24hr moorings below the lock and went for a wander round town.  It was market day but there was no fresh vegetables for sale.

After lunch we were on our way again. The second lock we came to, Hungerford Marsh Lock has a swing bridge across the lock chamber, I wonder how many people forget to swing the bridgeDSCF5190 before filling the lock. These manual swing bridges are locked closed by a chain, one end attached to the lock approach ramp and the other to a a large bolt . The bolt screws into the end of the swing bridge to prevent it being opened. This is no ordinaryDSCF5185 bolt, its about 30mm in diameter with a square head which fits a lock windlass, so you need a windlass or large spanner to release it provided the previous boater tightened it up, some are only finger tight. A few years back a girl lost her legs playing with a bridge where, her and her friends had managed to remove the bolt without using any tools and were able to swing it open and closed.

The next lock, Cobblers Lock has a house standing beside it and there is actually another floor below what you can see in theDSCF5194 photo, if the lock is left full water seeps into this lower floor causing flooding. The house is now empty and there is an auction sign laying in the garden, but like so often happens with these isolated properties, it they are left empty they get vandalised.

Some one has had a field day cutting the hedge along the towpath, I don’t know if it will recover. DSCF5195 Hedges like everything else require regular maintenance to keep them in good order. You often see where a lot of money and effort is put into layering a hedge and then its not maintained.

By now the weather was getting a bit drizzly and nowhere near as nice as earlier so we started to look for somewhere to moor for the night. We saw a gap just big enough for us in the pound below  Oakhill Down Lock. CaRT are doing a lot of work here along the off side edging it with the coir rolls that have places in them to plant reads etc. These reeds come in plug pots and are transplanted into the small pots set in the rolls, they then seem to just leave the plastic trays on the mud. DSCF5201Maybe I am being unfair and they will collect them later?

There is absolutely no 3 signal here at all so I am not sure when I will be able to post this or update the map.

 

map Today’s Map

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