What we didn’t realise was that today is the second day of the Devizes to Westminster Canoe race, details on this link http://www.dwrace.org.uk/. The good two man teams do it in one none stop run, but the others do it over 4 days and we met the first of them just before Garston Lock, Portage at the lock was not easy with the handrail on the steps and the pillar box. The Sea Scouts were taking advantage or the event with a refreshment tent for the supporters and followers at Sheffield lock and our arrival coincided with a bunch of canoes. We continued meeting the canoes for some little time but then they seemed to dry up and we didn’t meet any more after Towney Lock.
There is an old mill that looks to be under restoration beside the river, I thing it is Shenfield Mill. but I will check on the way back.We only had one manually operated swing bridge today, the rest have all been on the press of a button.
Some of the locks can be a bit sharp filling with only gate paddles to let the water in, but by being right at the back I was clear of the turbulence and could sit nicely against the side without bashing about.
As we couldn’t find an easy spot for lunch we just sat in Padworth Lock and ate it, from here we could see Aldermaston lift bridge and lock so we would have good warning of anyone coming down. We couldn’t sit on the lock moorings as they are being used to store hire boats. When we arrived at Aldermaston lift bridge a boat was coming down the locks so we waited until he exited the lock before opening the bridge and passed between the bridge and the lock. We carried on to Woolhampton, checking the lock was ready before operating the swing bridge, there is a good flow coming in from the left just before the lock so i know why this boat has so many fenders down. And this was just one of the canoes racing down stream. We have moored for the night on the 48 hr visitor moorings just above the lock, it will be noisy so close to the railway but it runs close to the river all the way up this section.
Since we have been here there has been a continuous stream of canoeists coming down. These are the ones who left Devizes this morning and are doing the full 125 miles and 77 portages in one go.
I thought I would try adding a trace of our route for the day to the bottom of each blog