There was a boat in front of us that we thought might be going on to Great Bedwyn. Bearing in mind that there are ten double locks between Hungerford and Bedwyn we got up briskly and popped along to say hello. They were a very pleasant pair who had bought an Amber boat and were told almost immediately after purchase that the company had gone under and that any warranty was no longer valid. They have had to pay for all the things that have gone wrong over the first year of which there seemed to have been many. The problem this morning was the batteries and they rang RCR. It seemed that they would have to wait until the afternoon for someone to come out to them. We did have a good chat and left feeling sorry that we couldn’t travel along with them.
The delay did mean that we set off only just ahead of the Rose of Hungerford who had a charter party on board to take to Great Bedwyn and back to Hungerford by 4.00. One of the volunteers came along to help us on our way through the first lock while the thorough health and safety briefing was given to the passengers (required since the Marchioness disaster). We found that although a narrowboat had just left the lock as we pulled away the owner of a little cruiser had failed to see us and had filled the lock. Hmmm.
When we got to Hopgrass Farm Lock we had to wait for a boat to descend. We tied up at the lock mooring so that Hungerford Rose, which approached just as the lock was ready, could go ahead. We could then go on at our own pace without pressure. After Cobblers Lock I was steering and Alan walking. A man approaching on the towpath ran back to a foorbridge when he saw me coming. I then spotted two little white Egrets circling above me. What a treat. As I passed under the bridge than man was taking photos of the boat. Did you see the Egrets I asked. No, he was too busy taking pictures of the boat – don’t think he knew what Egrets were.
Just after Picketfield Lock we were joined by a braided-hair girl on a small boat towing a canoe with two bikes on board – could she travel with us to Great Bedwyn? As we left Oakhill Down Lock two steam-powered steam rollers towing work huts passed us on the way to the weekend’s steam fair at Crofton locks.
With two boats working together we made Great Bedwyn in time for a late lunch. We hope to stay here for a couple of weeks so moored before the 48 hour moorings. We are a little off the side so for the first time in eight years we are walking the plank. I forsee the possibility of a splash before we leave. It’s wonderful to be back in Great Bedwyn, one of our favourite villages.
Today we did 4.63 Miles, 10 Locks and 2 Swing Bridges
Statistics so far:-
3025.26 Miles, 2002 Locks, 190 Swing Bridges, 118 Lift Bridges, 57 Tunnels