Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Things falling from the sky.

7 Locks, 3½ Miles, 4 swing bridges Now moored at Semington.
437 locks, 551½ miles, 17 Tunnels, 17 swing bridges and 9 lift bridges since Nov 2006

The order of the day was for a not too strenuous short trip to Semington. It was just as well that we were not in any hurry because we got stuck behind a hire boat whose crew was a bunch of complete novices. We tried to impart some knowledge to them at the first lock but at the second lock they were still making the same mistakes so we just hung back and let them get on with it. With more boats travelling in the opposite direction than we had struck before meant a few more delays as the locks were generally set against us.
While sitting at one lock we saw a military aircraft (a Hercules I think) fly very low over farm land and make a parachute supply drop. The load was suspended under 2 huge parachutes which presumably landed safely and on target. Never a dull moment around here I can assure you.
The run into Bath from here is easy with only a couple of locks and about 10 miles. We have
decided against going to Bristol as it entails going onto the tidal Avon and as there has been a lot of rain and more forecast for the next week we cannot afford to risk getting stuck in Bristol by flooding. Heavy rain is hammering down on the roof as I write this blog with distant rumblings of thunder.
Just below where we are moored is the bricked up entrance to the Wilts & Berks canal Beyond the wall is a garden and what was up until 10 years ago an abattoir. Walking along the road which follows the course of the canal you can still see remnants of the canal and the disused Great Western railway branch line to Devizes.

The canal which ran 51 miles to Abingdon was an early victim to railway competition lasting only 60 years from 1810 to 1870. Efforts were made to keep the canal open until 1906 but these measures failed and it was abandoned in 1914. It was a slow canal due to having 45 locks but there is talk of restoring it making it a ring with the K and A and the river Thames which will be good news when it comes to fruition. We wish them every success.

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