Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Very exhilarating.

6 Locks 5 Miles 1 lift & 3 swing bridges. Now moored at Thatcham.
361 locks, 506½ miles, 16 Tunnels, 7 swing bridges and 9 lift bridges since Nov 2006

We were all hail and hearty when we set off this morning. We only did 1 lock before we stopped at Reading Marine for diesel (61p per lt) and water. Next obstacle was a hydraulically operated lift bridge and holding up the traffic again. Between the bridge and the next lock there is what is left of a dis-used arm where there is a facilities centre and maximum mooring of 4 hours which we took advantage of for a while.
Two of the swing bridges were manually operated but the third one was hydraulically operated but before you use the latter the crew has to go ahead by about a ¼ mile and set the lock because once you are through the bridge there is no stopping until you are safely inside the lock.
The reason for this being the river flows across the entrance to the lock at a fast rate of knots so you have to enter the lock under full power so as not to be pushed off course. To add to the problem was a boat moored opposite where the river flow enters the canal creating another hazard to avoid. I certainly would not like to try this in a boat that is under powered.
The next 2 locks after this were sadly in need of new top & bottom gates as they leaked like sieves and took what seemed for ever to fill. We had no sooner exited the locks and closed the top gates when they both started to self drain due to great gaping holes between the gates. We all came to the same conclusion that because this canal has so much water and is not reliant upon reservoirs to keep it navigable BW don’t worry about leaking gates here.
Where we are now moored is actually part of the river Kennet and the water is flowing as fast as it was on the Thames last week.

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