Monday, 6 October 2014

Caen Hill Marina heading to Bath

Thursday, 25th September to Monday 6, October 2014

Since we last chatted, we returned to the marina for a week.  The 'family' visited Lorraine and Pat to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.  A surprise party was organised by Emma, Janine and Vicky at Emma and Barclay's house in Loughton.  It was 'brilliant' Susan said.

Pete and Susan are busy cleaning me both inside and out.  I also get a fresh coat of paint down one side.  There are amazing sunsets in the marina over the next few days.  Very pretty!

Sunset in Caen Hill Marina
After this I get to leave the marina and we head out on a 5-week trip before wintering in the marina. The plan is that we will stay in Caen Hill Marina until end of March.  The 'family' have a lot organised so they will be travelling to different places during this time; including Christmas in Cumbria, New Year in Waltham Abbey, early January in Southwold plus 2-weeks in Grenada in the Carribean!!

We have had an invasion of Daddy Long Legs.  I am covered in them........

Thursday, 25th September to Sunday, 28th September:

We moor in Sell's Green again.  Lovely spot.  Susan and Mazey go for a walk to look at the views over the countryside and see Alpacas in a field.  The weather is very good on Saturday and Sunday.

Experiencing problems with one of the two fridges.  It is constantly charging - lots of noise.  The back of the fridge is freezing too.  Susan now has to switch it off at night to stop it draining the batteries and to be able to get to sleep!

Wiltshire - View of countryside
Total: 1.25 miles

Monday, 29th September

Susan and Mazey prepare the 2 swing-bridges and 5 locks as we cruise to the bottom Seend Lock.

Susan walks to the Tesco Express whilst Pete fishes.  He catches two large fish.  In the evening Susan and Pete do a little bit of research on Ancestory to find out about their family history.

Total: 2 swing-bridges, 5 locks, 1.25 miles - Seend Bottom Lock

Tuesday, 30th September and Wednesday, 1st October

It is a warm sunny day and Pete is happy to spot a few Kingfishers.

Susan and Mazey prepare all the swing-bridges and locks.  We moor up in the same spot as on 12th September.  The 'family' like it here.  Fields, farmland and a few boats.

Susan walks to the local convenience store which also has a post office and gets some milk.

Wednesday, we stay put.  Susan walks into Trowbridge approx. 1.5 miles.  Susan said that it was a nice walk.  Trowbridge is a small town and she has time to investigate Castle Market and The Shires.  Susan even pops in to have a haircut as well as a coffee in Costa.

Susan tells Pete that it is worth investigating Downs Cemetry, St James Church and the 'Toll' house as she feels interesting photos could be taken.  All have interesting architecture.  Perhaps on our return journey Susan will get the opportunity to go and take more photos.

Total: 4 swing-bridges, 2 locks, 4 miles 

Thursday, 2nd October

Susan had a bad night....  there was a terrible smell that burnt her eyes, nose and throat.  A farmer lit a fire in his field during the day and it was still smouldering through the night.  Pete tries to close all the air vents to keep the fumes out.

We set off for Bradford-on-Avon.  An easy cruise.  Lots of boats but no swing-bridges or locks to do today.  Pete locates Sainsbury's which is across bridge 171 and goes and gets some food shopping.

Bradford on Avon Lock
Total: 2.75 miles - (48 hour moorings) Bradford on Avon

Friday, 3 October

We fill up with water and go through the lock.  Susan does not need to do much as there are volunteers at the lock today.

We cross Avoncliffe Aqueduct.  It is beautiful along here.  However, there is a very large ledge which stops people from mooring after the aqueduct.  Despite the safety railings the stone built aqueduct is beautiful.  The pale-coloured local stone is used throughout the area in buildings.

Avoncliffe Aqueduct
Stone built Avoncliffe Aqueduct
We enter a wooded area and find a mooring opposite a large imposing house with bee-hives in the garden.  The view over the valley is amazing.  This is a National Cycle Network which is very popular    - many cyclists out today.

Ducks on patrol
Susan walks to Dundas Aqueduct and sees a kingfisher, heron and squirrel.  There are no telephone or internet signals here.  There are examples of canal art too.

Canal Art

Our mooring
Saturday, 4 October

We decide to stay here today despite the huge ledge and the possibility of being stranded on it.  It rains heavily in the morning so Pete comments that it will be OK.  Susan goes for a walk to search out a telephone signal.  On route she hears loud noises in the wood.  As she approaches a bridge there are 4 farmers and they have lost 7 calves.  They were frightened by something and jumped the fence.  Susan was able to direct them to where they were.  Susan was thankful that she had not been walking along the canal towpath when they were running along it......  They were all found and herded back across the bridge into the field.

Escaped Cows
Sunday, 5 October and Monday, 6 October

After watching the Japanese Grand Prix, we move to Dundas Aqueduct.  We moor near the entrance to Somerset Coal Canal which leads to Brass Knocker Basin.  It is very busy here with lots of tourists.

Dundas Aqueduct
We are narrowly missed by a holiday boat which very nearly bashes into the side of me.  Thankfully, they manage to hit the towpath in front of us.

Dundas Wharf
Pete has his favourite cake in the cafe at the end of Somerset Coal Canal - Brass Knocker Basin (Walnut and coffee cake).  Pete also sees a bat dive into the tree in front of our mooring during daylight!

A bit of history:  This canal was opened in 1805 which was to help move coal from Somerset to Bath, Bristol and the rest of the UK.  The canal was used throughout the 19th century but competition from roads finally stopped the coal being transported for 30 collieries and was abandoned in 1904.  A quarter of a mile of this has now been restored and is used by a boatyard, holiday company and for moorings.

Somerset Coal Canal Entrance

Private moorings on Somerset Coal Canal

End of Somerset Coal Canal

Susan walks to Bathhampton Swing-bridge and back (5.5 miles).  Lots of boats are moored along the way from cruisers to permanent boaters but wonderful scenery Susan says.

Nr. Claverton Pumping Station

Pete decides to stay another day as it is pouring with rain.  He fills-up with water and manages to get a pump-out despite Pete losing the first pump-out card!!  I am moored back where I started from this morning.  Pete was extremely wet!!

Total 2 miles

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Bradford on Avon

Monday-Wednesday, 15th/17th September, 2014


We are greeted by a grey blanket that covers the skies as we head off to Bradford on Avon.  Pete checks my engine to make sure all is well before we head off - AND it is.  Only 3 miles of a cruise today.  We all say 'goodbye' to the grey heron that has kept us company for the last few days.  I am keen to get going.

Susan comments that the headge-rows are starting to look sad..... autumn is on its way.  There are now many boats loitering along the towpath who do not seem to have moved in a while.  No evidence of human or canine life on board.  Very odd.

Although the cut is quieter today, we still see lots of holiday boaters.

After filling up with water at Bradford Avon Wharf, I reverse into a convenient mooring space.  The moorings here are 48-hours.  At the Wharf there is the Lock Cottage which houses the CR&T next to it and a tea room.  Very quant.

Bradford on Avon - Upper Wharf

Lock and sign - Bradford on Avon

Our overnight mooring - Bradford on Avon

The family head off to the town and go via the Tithe Barn.  The barn was built in the 14th Century by the Abbess of Shaftesbury.  It has massive doors and is like a cathedral inside.  There are cute shops and antiques in a gallery.  Worth a visit.

Tithe Barn - built 14th Century

Tithe Barn interior
Susan says there is a good Budgens in town.  Susan was a bit disappointed with the town as it was not very big.  Although Susan and Pete like it and think it is like a miniature Bath.

Susan walks 1.5 miles along the towpath to see Avoncliffe Aqueduct.  Loads of boats here on permanent moorings.  Susan says that boaters are not allowed to run engines AT ALL in the visitor moorings - there are signs everywhere.

Grey Heron by boat

Avoncliffe Aqueduct

River Avon and Weir
Later on, Susan and Pete visit the Lock Inn which serves breakfasts, light lunches and evening meals.  It is right on the canal and has a canal boat on the side where clients can drink or eat.  Lovely place, Susan says.

Bradford on Avon - Below lock

Total 3 miles (moored opposite The Barge Inn - 48 hour moorings)


We leave and head back to Semington and moor up for the night.  It keeps trying to rain.

Total 5-1/4 miles and 1 swing-bridge


We all enjoy a cruise in the sunshine and the warm.  Susan cruises through the first 2 locks and swing-bridge whilst Mazey and Pete prepare them.  We partner up after the first lock with a couple on holiday - both nervous....  Pete notices that I keep dragging my bottom on the silt - water levels are low!!  Pete hopes that we get a downpour of rain in the next week otherwise doing this trip again before wintering in the marina could be a problem.

As we arrive at the bottom of Seend Lock we spot a Kingfisher and decide to moor up.  Pete spends the afternoon rubbing down his walking sticks and Susan sits soaking up the sun.

Tomorrow we head back into the marina at Caen Hill for a week before setting out again.  Sadly, in the marina the internet signal is poor so you might not hear from me for a while but as soon as I can I will get back to chatting again.  Take care everyone and night night.

Total 3 swing-bridges, 2 locks and 1-3/4 miles

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Caen Hilll Marina - new journey

September 8-13th, 2014

The family have been back for a week now and have decided to take me out for a cruise to Bradford-on-Avon or even further, depending on moorings, etc.  I am pleased that we are all back together again.  Mazey is doing really well and she has recovered from her operation (benign hystiocytoma).  Susan still keeps feeding her biscuits though...

Dreamer - Caen Hill Marina - mooring
Mazey being cleaned after muddy walk
Caen Hill Marina

We don't move far and find a mooring at Sells Green Bridge.  It is so hot that a man on another boat decides to go swimming in the water - yuk yuk yuk - green sludgy water.  Susan and Pete are not amused and would like to know whether he has a shower on board!!!

Susan and Pete find it hard again to get used to turning off the electric and using the water sparingly.  Susan comments that it is also getting dark by 8:30 pm.  All happy to be back on the cut.

Total 1 mile


Once we set off, Susan and Mazey have trouble opening the Sell's Green Swing-bridge.  Susan said it was a nightmare.  The following one was easier and the 3 locks were not too difficult either - despite Susan temporarily forgetting how to do them.  Pete says that he would like to do more physical stuff and that he wants Susan to drive more.

We moor at Seend Cleeve opposite The Barge Inn where the family go for some lunch.  They spot a boater cycling back to his boat with a dead rabbit hanging from his handlebar.  Pete says it must be dinner.  A nice mooring.

The Barge Inn at Seend Cleeve
Both Susan and Pete are amazed at the beautiful sunset and the rise of the 'supermoon'.

Sunset on the Kennet and Avon
Supermoon at The Barge Inn mooring

Sunset on the Kennet and Avon

Total 3 locks, 2 swing-bridges and 1.5 miles


Today Susan drives whilst Pete and Mazey do the locks.  We go through 2 locks and moor in a 24-hour mooring at Seend Lower Lock.

The family walk to Bowerhill where there is a handy Tesco Express.  It is about 1.5 miles away.

Seend Lower Lock moorings
Total 2 locks and 0.5 miles


Pete drives most of the way except when we get to swing-bridges or locks.  Susan takes control of me whilst Pete does the hard work.

Pete has an audience at the swing-bridge
We arrive at Semington 24-hour moorings near the derelict Wilts and Berks canal.

A working boat going through a swing-bridge
Total 3 swing-bridges, 2 locks and 1.75 miles

Friday/Saturday and Sunday:

A chilly morning greets us today.  Pete drives whilst Susan cleans me on the inside except for when we get to a swing-bridge then Susan takes over.

Pete pulls up after bridge 165 (Hilperton Marsh Bridge) as he saw a kingfisher and thought this would be a good place to stop.  This is a rural mooring.  We can stay here for up to two weeks if we want to.

The family go for a short walk and Mazey has great fun barking at the dogs on the opposite bank...

Barking dogs

Lots of boats go past us and there are many cyclists on the narrow towpath.  The plan will be to go to Bradford-on-Avon on Monday as the family feel it will be very busy over the weekend and difficult to find a mooring.  The family need to be back in the marina on Thursday evening plenty of time yet.

Susan and Pete have enjoyed trying to take photos of a heron and keeping a watch out for the kingfisher (not seen yet!)

The following are photos taken by Susan on Friday and Saturday.

Cow chilling in a field

Heron fishing

Squirrel collecting its nuts!
Total 1 swing-bridge, 2.25 miles

Friday, 29 August 2014

Caen Hill Locks and beyond

29th August 2014 - Cumbria

The 'family' are still in Cumbria.  Mazey had to have a mass removed from her mouth on Friday, 22nd August.  Everyone is now waiting on the pathology results.  Poor 'patchwork' Mazey this is her third operation in under 2 years.

Susan had a fabulous time on her birthday (20th August) when Susan, Pete, and Helen went for afternoon tea in Linthwaite House Hotel, Ambelside.  Stunning views over the fells and Lake Windermere.  In the evening, Pete took Susan to Oscars in Abbey House for more drinks.  Back home Janet, Rachel and Stephanie arrived with a birthday cake and more drinks.  Yah!!!  Susan was very spoilt!!

Views over the fells
Helen and Pete

Pete and Sue

Linthwaite House Hotel
Abbey House

Lovely birthday cake - Thanks
Jan and Sue celebrating
16th August 2014 - Update

It seems such a long time since we chatted and we have been very busy.  The delay in posting has been due to lack of internet signal and the 'family' having a break in Cumbria.  I am currently moored in Caen Hill Marina which is a new marina.

Caen Hill Marina - Devizes
Plenty of space here at the moment - waiting for the 'family' to come back so that we can set off again!  Update below:

25th July, 2014

You will be pleased to know that we completed the 29 locks of the Caen Hill flight on Friday, 25th July.  We did the first 6 locks alone and then a holiday boat waited for us to catch up and share the rest of the 23 locks with them.

Holiday boat and Dreamer
25th July is a date we will all remember as the day Pete fell in......  Unfortunately, he got a soaking when he slipped off my well-deck in a lock.  Thankfully, Susan was quick thinking (under direction of Pete telling her what to do) and managed to stop the water from draining out of the lock, then re-filled it whilst jumping onto the stern and reversing me (so that I would not crush Pete).  Meanwhile, Pete hung on for all he was worth onto the front.  The driver of the other boat was totally oblivious to the drama happening at the front of the boats until Susan yelled at him and asked for help.  Eventually, Pete managed to haul himself up by using the lock gate and getting a foot hold onto the wall.  PHEW that was scarey.  I was very worried for a while.  Afterwards, he said that his 'pride was hurt' but everything else was fine!!!  Susan was badly shaken by this incident.

Pete survives a soaking
We were sharing the lock with a family on holiday from Amsterdam....  It was a big adventure for them and their children not only because Pete fell in at the lock BUT also because I got firmly wedged with the other boat in another lock (apparently the narrowest on this flight) on the way out of it when Susan was in charge.   It took everyone's effort plus two volunteer lock keepers to free us.  What a day!!  Everyone was glad and happy when we finished the last lock.

We are stuck!!
Bottom of the flight

Lock 22 - the last one!
Yellow Lillies line the canal

Thanks and goodbye (Annie and family)
After a brief stop in Caen Hill marina we stop in Sells Green for the next week before returning to Caen Hill marina.

Sell's Green mooring
Total 29 Locks, 3.5 miles