Thursday, 15 August 2013

Where the Berks come from.

Been on the K&A for some days now and I can see why some people have trouble with it.  The locks are big and heavy and some are bloody dangerous - see photo below to see why.  Also the first bit is actually the River Kennet and the flow is against you as you go west, then there are the endless swing bridges and weirs.  BUT it is very pretty indeed and we are now approaching Hungerford where the real canal begins and the counter flow drops away and the swing bridges stop.  Mind you in a week or so we will be at the Caen flight - a mere 29 locks to do in a day.  Somehow or other Fi and I both caught colds - well me first and then she caught mine which hasn't helped so we've been coughing and sneezing our way along.  One of the good things about a 'wide' canal is that you often end up sharing the locks and making new best friends in then process.  We spent two days with a couple who were chartering for the first time.  It seems that having a PhD is no guarantee to understanding what bit of the lock does what!  We're really looking forward to the next bit - we've done it before (18 years ago) and although I can't remember much I do recall it was  stunning. Oh and the post title is because we are now in Berkshire.

The far from stunning entrance to the K&A from the Thames - scruffy and dirty but it does get better.

 Half way through Reading you come across traffic lights and have to stop and push a button just like a pedestrian crossing as the next section is one way and a bit winding.  Unusual and far less dangerous than some of the northern canals  - that don't have lights.
A lot of the locks on the Reading section only have paddles in the gates.  These little jets are caused by barely opening them.  How on earth a boat hasn't been sunk is beyond me.  Get too far forward and open a gate a little too much and a boat could fill up in seconds.
For my sister - One of only four horse drawn barges left  in the country operates here. Horsey here was having a rest as the humans poled the barge through the lock

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