Bath (river mooring)

Yesterday marked the beginning of the end, as we departed Bristol. We had reached the furthest limit of our 2019 cruise, and were now beginning the slow journey home. First we had to get a final photo of us, winding in front of the SS Great Britain.

The best backdrop to a winding this year

It was still early, but the sky was blue and the sun was up. It was perfect weather to be departing the Floating Harbour. As we passed beneath the bridges, we saw scores of people scurrying along on their way to work. Many didn’t see us, as we slipped along thirty feet below them, but a few waved. The tides were still neap, so we were not expecting much effect as we headed upstream, only the flow of the river would slow us down. The journey down took six hours, it would be interesting to see how long it would take getting back. The first couple of hours were uneventful, as we cruised alone on the very picturesque river Avon. Then we began to encounter some oncoming traffic. We caught up with a boat which had departed from Hanham Lock earlier, and now had a locking partner for the remaining three Locks into Bath. As we approached the mooring, it was busier than when we departed, but there was still space. We found a spot and secured the boat. The journey had taken six and a half hours, so only half an hour extra against the flow. The diesel gauge however, has moved a significant amount. We’d had lunch on route, so we decided to walk along the river into Bath and view the famous Pulteney Bridge and Weir.

Pulteney Bridge and Weir, Bath

We planned to stay put today, due to adverse weather which had been forecast. In the end it has not been as bad as expected, but a day of rest has been appreciated. Tomorrow we head up Bath Locks, and back onto the Kennet and Avon Canal. Our trip down to Bristol has been great.

Totals 17 Miles 7 Locks

Running total 394 Miles 416 Locks 12 Tunnels

Floating Harbour update

During our time here, we have visited some of the sites on offer, and enjoyed the bars and restaurants. We have used the small ferry next to our mooring, to nip across the harbour several times, and have visited the SS Great Britain, Clifton Suspension Bridge, and the Observatory, with its Giants Cave and working Camera Obscura. Below is selection of photographs.

SS Great Britain
Side view of hull and smokestack
View of the stern
Propeller and leading edge of rudder
The ship’s bell
Steerage class accommodation
Clifton Suspension Bridge and Avon Gorge
Clifton Suspension Bridge road view
Giants Cave observation platform

Tide out in Avon Gorge

Tomorrow our time in Bristol will be over, and we will set off on a return route to Bath. The flow of the river will be against us this time, so the journey may take a little longer, and we will likely use more diesel.

Bristol Floating Harbour

We had a lengthy trip ahead of us today. Based on information we had been given, about the lack of mooring opportunities between Bath and Bristol, we had decided the trip should be done in one day. This meant seventeen miles and 7 Locks were ahead of us. Fortunately with the deep water of a river beneath us, and the flow in our favour, this would only take about six hours. So at 6.45 am, we slipped our lines and departed Bath.

Looking back towards Bath

The early morning coolness was so refreshing, especially after the stifling heat of the previous day. We navigated two Locks, then on approach to the third, we spotted nb Lady Penelope about to depart its mooring. We once again had Lock partners for the rest of the journey. At Hanham Lock, we had reached the end of the waterway controlled by the Canal and River Trust. Before proceeding, we phoned ahead to the final Lock at Netham, to inform the Lock keeper we were on our way. Once through the Lock we were technically on tidal waters, although currently they are neap tides, so the effect is minimal. About 45 minutes later we arrived at Netham Lock, and visited the office to be relieved of some money. We booked in for three nights, then set off along the feeder channel towards the floating harbour.

Cruising along the feeder channel

This channel is nearly a mile long, and links the river Avon to the floating harbour. We were definitely in an urban environment now, but once we turned from the feeder channel into the main harbour, the smallness of our tiny narrow boat, became all the more obvious.

Passing large ships and cranes
An interesting wooden ship
Some floating restaurants

We had a few bridges to pass under, the lowest with an air draft of 2.2 meters. We had removed the satellite dish, which was just as well, we only had a few inches to spare. There are several visitor mooring locations within the harbour, but we were aiming for harbour inlet. The reason being, it is located directly opposite a very famous ship, the SS Great Britain.

Moored, SS Great Britain in the background

You can see the six masts of the SS Great Britain in the background of the photo above. We were going to get a picture of our boat in front of the ship, but did not want to lose our mooring spot. We will do that when we leave on Monday. We now have three nights and two days to explore all that Bristol has to offer.

Total 17 Miles 7 Locks

Running total 377 Miles 409 Locks 12 Tunnels