Pangbourne

Over the past week we have continued our journey east along the Kennet and Avon Canal. We stopped overnight in the following areas, Kintbury, Newbury, Thatcham, Woolhampton and Burghfield. In Thatcham we spent a second day moored by the railway, so the crew could pop into London for the day. At Woolhampton we arrived at the mooring spot right on lunchtime, so we visited the Rowbarge P.H. for a Sunday roast. It was quite busy due to a weekend beer festival taking place. Walking back to the boat, we met some new neighbours that had turned up, and were then treated to rum shots for the remainder of the afternoon. Yesterday we travelled as far as Burghfield, mooring close to the Cunning Man P.H. and here we met the crew of nb Lady Penelope, for what would be the final time. It seemed fitting to visit the pub for a bon voyage evening meal. This morning we were underway by 8 am, intending to get through Reading fairly early.

Waiting to navigate Blakes Lock

Blakes Lock is the final lock on the Kennet and Avon, a few hundred yards prior to Kennet Mouth, and the River Thames. Here we turned left, heading upstream towards Oxford, and Lady Penelope turn right, downstream towards London. At Caversham Lock, we were relieved of some money by the Lock keeper, in exchange for a one week license. It is likely that we will only use four days of it, before we reach the Oxford Canal. We stopped for diesel and a pump out at Caversham Boat services, on Fry’s Island, and on departing, we navigated the northern channel, so now we can claim to have completed a circumnavigation of the island. Six more miles and one Lock, before we arrived at our intended mooring location. Pangbourne Meadow is a nice spot, but it does get quite busy, and we were lucky to find a sixty foot space. Four legs is also very happy, he has a large field in which to play with his tennis ball.

Moored at Pangbourne Meadow

We haven’t decided whether to have a rest day tomorrow, or push on. We suspect that the coming bank holiday weekend, is going to get very busy, the weather is forecast to be good. Having said that, once we get above Osney Bridge, the large cruisers can’t due to the restricted height. Other good news, our new calorifier has been delivered to Calcutt Boats, ready for installation when we get there.

Totals for the week 34 Miles 35 Locks

Running total 473 Miles 517 Locks 15 Tunnels

Burghfield

Yesterday we departed the Thames, after completing the final seven miles and two Locks, to the junction with the Kennet and Avon Canal. The last of the Thames Locks was Caversham Lock, which also had a fairly substantial Weir.

Caversham Weir

We passed a couple of interesting looking boats on the way, and also stopped at Caversham Boat Services for water, gas, diesel and a pump out.

Camouflage boat beneath a shady tree

The turn onto the Kennet and Avon was pretty unimpressive, blink and you would miss it.

Junction for the K and A ahead by the white sign

Having made the turn, it is not long at all until you find yourself heading in towards Reading Town Centre.

Heading towards Reading Town
A welcome sign to greet you
Traffic lights…….on the Canal

As can be seen in the photos above, once we passed beneath the welcome sign, we were confronted by the traffic light on red. This requires the pressing of a button, rather like a pedestrian crossing, at which point the light went green. We now had twelve minutes to navigate through the town centre. The reason for this is as the area has been developed, the width of the canal has been squeezed, with some tight turns included. Not really a problem for narrow boats, but two wide beams meeting might struggle.

Within the town centre controlled section

We have heard several tales about Reading being an undesirable place to hang around, but nowhere did we feel at all uncomfortable, as we travelled through the town. Once out of the centre, we had three more Locks to navigate before reaching our destination. All the Locks are wide, and the use of a windlass is once again required. We also found the Locks to be very fierce when filling, so only small turns on the windlass were needed. We arrived at Burghfield by the Cunning Man P.H. and as we did so, a boat was just departing the main mooring area. It was just the right size, so we secured the boat and went to sample the the refreshments at the watering hole.

Moored at Burghfield, Cunning Man P.H.

The mooring is pleasant enough, and with some shade, as the next few days are forecast to be hot. We can’t line up the satellite dish due to the trees, so TV will have to be streamed using 4G data.

Totals 11 Miles 6 Locks

Running total 293 Miles 308 Locks 9 Tunnels