Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Going downhill

So  pootling on  the canals is all just a quiet way to spend a lazy day?  Maybe but today we did the last bit of the River Kennet.  This is the section that was shut for months due to excessive flows and for some time there was no river as the whole valley was under water.  We stayed overnight at Burghfield just up from Reading and then headed off with a lot of current behind us.  Skidding round bends was interesting, get too close to the outside and you end up in the bushes - the only problem is that you are meant to stay on the right hand side of the river to avoid boats coming the other way.  So taking a blind left hand bend (of which there were several) was interesting to say the least.  The final worry was the infamous County Lock that leads into Reading and has a massive weir off to one side.  last month a boat cocked up his approach and ended up jammed across the weir for over a week.  In fact as we had carefully prepared for it - there was no problem and we relaxed - mistake.  The section through the town is one way and is controlled by a traffic light system. No problem but the flow is still fast as its still river. Half way down is a low stone bridge with a shallow arch and a right hand bend.  We missed the arch literally by millimetres as we skidded through.  The boat that's now moored ahead of us didn't and has the scrape on his roof to prove it.  We're now on the Thames parked by Tescos and intend to blast our way upstream towards Oxford tomorrow, that's if they let us.  With all this bloody rain recently a lot of sections are 'Yellow boarded' which means they are warning of strong currents.  If it gets any worse they could close the whole river.  Parking by Tescos is quite handy but the novelty could quickly wear off.........

The Weir at County Lock, Reading - why do pictures never do reality justice?  There was a lot of water going over it.

Looking up at the lock entrance with the weir off to the right, the boat that got stuck was jammed across the large rubber floats for over a week.

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