We had been over in Surrey visiting our daughter and grandchildren yesterday so we needed to leave the 24 hour mooring in front of The Barge this morning. The two boats that had been on the water point had gone so we pulled back to take on water while we mulled over alternatives. We could move on towards Devizes but there seems to be a shortage of moorings all the way along and it seems preferable for us to stay the maximum two weeks at each mooring centre if we can. We also needed diesel because our fire was playing up last night, and calor gas. While the water tank filled Alan went back with the empty gas canister to what was Gibson’s just before the road bridge. (Apparently the Gibsons sold up about eleven weeks ago after thirty years of running the on line marina.)
A woman boater who had been on the visitor moorings had taken her boat along to fill up with diesel as well. She said that she would bring the full canister with her when she backed down again and also that BW were monitoring the visitor moorings very closely in a pilot scheme for the Kennet and Avon. She said that while we were away yesterday they had marked us down as being on the visitor moorings, which was fine as we were moving on anyway. However she also said that they were asking other boaters how long neighbouring boats had been on the visitor moorings which she thought completely unacceptable. We tend to agree because it is quite wrong to record a boat as overstaying based on someone else’s opinion, or perhaps even untrue statement. There also needs to be some understanding of the difficulties faced by continuous cruisers when they are hemmed in by closed locks and the need to be near services. For example Gibsons seems to be the only place selling diesel between the closed Crofton Locks and the Caen flight, apart from the diesel boat which I wasn’t able to contact today. And after Christmas the situation will be even worse when the Seend and Semington Locks close as well. Seems to me that people like ourselves who have always genuinely cruised are being penalised for the large number of stay put boaters on the K & A. Circumstances dictate that we need to overwinter here but we are looking back nostalgically at our previous winters the other side of the Thames.
We decided to reverse back under the bridge to top up our diesel, always tricky in a brisk wind as there was today, a curving route and between continuous moored boats. On the way we passed Carol coming back with the gas canister and decided to leave it on her boat until we returned, rather than making the whole business even more difficult. When we did get back to her she was moored at the end of the line of boats after the visitor moorings and it looked as if it was possible to get quite close to the bank so we decided to tie up next door. We soon discovered that yet again we will be walking the plank as our extra eight inches of draft make all the difference. However we have a very pleasant view of one of the Wiltshire White Horses and the wellies are out of the top box ready to tackle the muddy towpath so we will be ok for a week or so.
Today we did 0.66 Miles
Statistics so far:-
3043.50 Miles, 2016 Locks, 190 Swing Bridges, 118 Lift Bridges, 58 Tunnels