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Onionman

A week on the K&A. Musings.

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Just back from a terrific week (third week ever on a NB) along the Kennet and Avon with various passengers.

 

Rented from ABC at Hilperton; excellent as always. Clean boat, well laid out apart from the maddening design spec apparently to make as little useful room in the galley as humanly possible.

 

Moored alongside another boat at the Bradford lock and watched a widebeam coming up.  Apparently he told my wife we were so badly moored (we were tight alongside) he thought we were turning round. He pushed the top gates open with his bow then told the wife he'd have shoved us out of the way if we'd been in front of him. Nice.


So many wide beams. So many moored boats. Nice chap commented on how slowly we were passing (for information, I'd happily do an entire week at tickover. I love it).  Let my friend have his first ever go at the helm. Predictably, at a right angled corner, we found two moored boats with a wide beam coming the other way, but all went smoothly. The cheerful lady at their helm said "Two rules: You'll always meet at the worst place and there's always room".

 

Moored by the Avoncliff aqueduct and an excellent, truly excellent meal at the Cross Guns. Cheap, quality food but they sting a little for drinks. Moored on a shallow bit and spent the night on the lean, so much that the husband half of our friends fell out of bed. That may have been helped by copious amounts of sauce, of course.

 

Bumped into a lovely couple out on a boat that we're considering a share in; they gave us a quick look round in the middle of the Bath flight of locks.

 

Down through the locks to meet two nearly-dead teenagers fresh from a festival. They fell into bed, we ploughed on down the Avon.


Here the trouble started. As far as I can see, between Bath and Keynsham there are seven mooring spaces. I don't mean seven places where you can moor, I mean seven boat lengths of mooring, all 24 hour max. Five of them were taken up by boats that were there for at least three days (and that, frankly, looked unlikely ever to move). We managed to fit into the last spot at Keynsham but it turns the trip down to Bristol into a real lottery regarding whether you'll be able to moor. Infuriating and unnecessary.

 

Bristol was excellent; can't recommend it highly enough. We had the best Italian food I've ever had in my life at Sergio's in Frogmore Street. Don't pass up the opportunity.

 

Journey back spoiled by having to do Bristol to Bath in one go for the mooring reasons outlined above. We moored between locks 10 and 11, halfway up the Bath flight. Little used and very quiet. Consider it if you're down that way.

 

Overall, a lovely time, Apart from the codpiece on day one, everyone was friendly, helpful and chatty.

 

Boatshare by this time next year.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Onionman

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We have just done a similar trip - Seend to Bristol and back in 4 days. We did Bathampton to Bristol in a single day each way, so didn't need to moor up on the river section.

 

On our way down the pontoon mooring below the Avon Railway bridge (just above Keynsham) was fully occupied by a number of double moored mostly scruffy narrow boats and cruisers, so we assumed the CMers had taken up residence. So we were rather surprised that on the return trip the next day there was only one boat moored, and the rest of the pontoon was being used by several groups - families and teenagers - variously sunbathing, picnicing and swimming in the river.

 

There are plenty of visitor moorings in Bath below Bath Old bridge - just over half a mile below the bottom lock.

 

When we last boated this way in 2003 we managed to secure an overnight mooring on the back of the lock jetty above Saltford Lock, along with a couple of other boats. But now there is a large steel pile and a string of floating sausages preventing access in there.

Aug03023.jpg

Edited by David Mack
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17 hours ago, Onionman said:

We moored between locks 10 and 11, halfway up the Bath flight. Little used and very quiet. Consider it if you're down that way.

 

When you say very quiet, is that quiet enough to overnight there or quiet enough to stop for a spot of lunch ?

 

I'm wondering if mooring overnight in Bath is a good or bad idea (possibly top lock visitor moorings), with our other option under consideration being popping back to Bathampton to overnight.

 

Cheers,

 

John

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Quiet enough to overnight, probably because it's not really close to anywhere you could lunch. It's only a ten minute walk into Bath (via Halfpenny Bridge by the station) but nowhere's on the doorstep.

 

I guess the only downside is that if it's full you're committed to three locks before any other moorings but we've been through four times now and never seen it full.


Here it is: https://goo.gl/maps/eZjH9LCLuJtgkUe16

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Thanks. This at least gives us additional options other than popping into Bath and back out again on the same day.

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18 hours ago, Onionman said:

Quiet enough to overnight, probably because it's not really close to anywhere you could lunch. It's only a ten minute walk into Bath (via Halfpenny Bridge by the station) but nowhere's on the doorstep.

 

I guess the only downside is that if it's full you're committed to three locks before any other moorings but we've been through four times now and never seen it full.


Here it is: https://goo.gl/maps/eZjH9LCLuJtgkUe16

 

It's only a short walk up from the bottom lock landing stage to see if there is space, if there isn't there are is normally space on the new moorings further down the Avon, which you would have passed.

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Nice to read a positive account of the K&A for a change! Nothing wrong with tick over, a lock or two set against you loses all the time you'd gain by charging along. The business and diversity of boats give it its appeal. Try going somewhere absolutly dead like the middle levels or the BCN and you'll be wishing for some moored boats to pass just for something to look at and someone to wave to!

The lack of spaces to moor on the  River Avon is sadly characteristic of many rivers and needs to be remedied by CRT building more. Bath and NE somerset council are partly to blame too I believe for closing the riverside moorings in Bath. The Trent and the Severn are probably as bad in terms of boat length of mooring per mile.

Edited by Dave123

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37 minutes ago, Dave123 said:

 

The lack of spaces to moor on the  River Avon is sadly characteristic of many rivers and needs to be remedied by CRT building more. Bath and NE somerset council are partly to blame too I believe for closing the riverside moorings in Bath.

Why does it need to be remedied? What benefit is there to CRT, the councils or riparian landowners from additional moorings? BANES found out the hard way that if you allow moorings along the river they quickly get filled with scruffy boats that the local residents (i.e. Council tax payers) object to. And whereas genuine visitors might add to the tourism economy, the same cannot necessarily be said for the continuous moorers.

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21 hours ago, David Mack said:

Why does it need to be remedied? What benefit is there to CRT, the councils or riparian landowners from additional moorings? BANES found out the hard way that if you allow moorings along the river they quickly get filled with scruffy boats that the local residents (i.e. Council tax payers) object to. And whereas genuine visitors might add to the tourism economy, the same cannot necessarily be said for the continuous moorers.

In which case CRT needs to deal with people abusing moorings on the Avon. I've posted elsewhere that I moored at Keynsham in one of three 24 hour moorings. Two days later when I returned from Bristol the other two boats were still there. It's stressful heading down a river with very little mooring riverside to know that the handful of moorings will probably already be occupied by people taking the mick.  I was told by a CRT employee that the CRT is much less keen on moving people on on the river.

Edited by Onionman

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I suspect that CRTs legal position is not quite as clear cut on the river as it is on the canal and as the K&A is the birthplace of the NBTA they probably don't want to get into a big legal battle, but it is a bit Wild West out on the river.

 

Bath to Bristol can be done easily in a single day starting at about 9am, including the locks in Bath, so assume this is the case and then its a bonus if you find a mooring. Did it a few weeks ago and got the steam train going over the bridge but too slow to take a photo. 

 

On a good sunny day the Bristol Avon is hard to beat, and if you take the lock at the Jolly Sailor slowly there is just enough time to sink a very nice pint of 6X.

 

.............Dave

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3 hours ago, dmr said:

On a good sunny day the Bristol Avon is hard to beat, and if you take the lock at the Jolly Sailor slowly there is just enough time to sink a very nice pint of 6X.

 

 

Which is, one of the many things that make boating so completely BRILLIANT!!!!

 

Wasn't it two pints tho???

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Which is, one of the many things that make boating so completely BRILLIANT!!!!

 

Wasn't it two pints tho???

 

 

 

It was a much gentler event this year, and we had had the "major water incident" in Bath deep Lock which had already required our main steerer to hit the BrewDog bottles so we limited ourselves to just the one. Maybe next time we will go for three???? :)

 

Technical note: if descending Bath Deep Lock in a full length boat make absolutely sure that nobody empties the lock above whilst still in that lock, and if you have a real crisis don't expect volunteer lock keepers to make the right decisions :)

 

....................Dave

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33 minutes ago, dmr said:

It was a much gentler event this year, and we had had the "major water incident" in Bath deep Lock which had already required our main steerer to hit the BrewDog bottles so we limited ourselves to just the one. Maybe next time we will go for three???? :)

 

Technical note: if descending Bath Deep Lock in a full length boat make absolutely sure that nobody empties the lock above whilst still in that lock, and if you have a real crisis don't expect volunteer lock keepers to make the right decisions :)

 

....................Dave

 

Can you explain what happened? Wouldn't fancy any trouble in the deep lock.

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14 minutes ago, Onionman said:

 

Can you explain what happened? Wouldn't fancy any trouble in the deep lock.

Done the deep lock many times but this time it went wrong. Sharing with another boat and it was all a bit slow. We had descended lock and volunteers slow to get bottom gates open. Next lock up had been filled and then started to empty, huge amount of water went over top gates, hit cill, and deflected many feet forward. We are full length so just nowhere to escape. This was not a spray, it was a torrent, Gillie had to hang on to avoid getting swept overboard (trad stern). She got back doors closed and door bottom "flood defence" in place but huge amount of water went in through slide. Vollies from bottom gates came to see what was going on but really should have got the bottom gates open to let us out. I ran back up to next lock and closed paddles as people there could not drop paddles as could not comprehend what problem was, but lock was already 3/4 empty. Gillie got soaked, just like she had fallen in. Got about 50 litres of water into back cabin which is a pain but nowhere near sinking. Nasty accident but we coped ok, lesson learned, will send a "guard" up to the next lock in future. I assume pound does not have a bywash to let water escape. Thought about reporting this to CRT but they don't really understand boaty stuff :).

A nice sunny day, a bit of baling and a few pints in Bristol sorted it all out.

 

...............Dave

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With the possible benefit of hindsight, might opening the top paddles of the lock you were stuck in have diverted the flow from over the top of the gates to into the lock via ground paddles?

 

Or are the paddles in the gates? I can't remember. 

 

28 minutes ago, dmr said:

Next lock up had been filled and then started to empty, huge amount of water went over top gates, hit cill, and deflected many feet forward.

 

 

Edited by Mike the Boilerman

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12 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

With the possible benefit of hindsight, might opening the top paddles of the lock you were stuck in have diverted the flow from over the top of the gates to into the lock via ground paddles?

 

Or are the paddles in the gates? I can't remember. 

 

 

 

Ground paddles (and flippin big ones) - no bywash on the deep lock

 

Normally not a problem as the pound above the deep lock tends to be down due to the lock taking a double helping every time you fill it. 

 

@dmrMight be worth a report as a near miss - the simplest solution for CRT would be to raise the top plank or even remove the gap between top plank and towpath altogether. Their engineers understand the risk, that's why they won't let boats go through the top three locks when the bottom three are drained for maintenance

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On 21/09/2019 at 15:16, David Mack said:

Why does it need to be remedied? What benefit is there to CRT, the councils or riparian landowners from additional moorings? BANES found out the hard way that if you allow moorings along the river they quickly get filled with scruffy boats that the local residents (i.e. Council tax payers) object to. And whereas genuine visitors might add to the tourism economy, the same cannot necessarily be said for the continuous moorers.

I think you have answered your own question. CRT installing extra moorings or lenghthening existing moorings would help genuine visitors contribute to local economy etc 

Overstaying boats isn't a reason for no extra moorings...It's a reason for better enforcement. 

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17 hours ago, dmr said:

Done the deep lock many times but this time it went wrong. Sharing with another boat and it was all a bit slow. We had descended lock and volunteers slow to get bottom gates open. Next lock up had been filled and then started to empty, huge amount of water went over top gates, hit cill, and deflected many feet forward. We are full length so just nowhere to escape. This was not a spray, it was a torrent, Gillie had to hang on to avoid getting swept overboard (trad stern). She got back doors closed and door bottom "flood defence" in place but huge amount of water went in through slide. Vollies from bottom gates came to see what was going on but really should have got the bottom gates open to let us out. I ran back up to next lock and closed paddles as people there could not drop paddles as could not comprehend what problem was, but lock was already 3/4 empty. Gillie got soaked, just like she had fallen in. Got about 50 litres of water into back cabin which is a pain but nowhere near sinking. Nasty accident but we coped ok, lesson learned, will send a "guard" up to the next lock in future. I assume pound does not have a bywash to let water escape. Thought about reporting this to CRT but they don't really understand boaty stuff :).

A nice sunny day, a bit of baling and a few pints in Bristol sorted it all out.

 

...............Dave

 

My word!

 

Been through that lock and never even considered that situation as being possible. Probably because when we've been through the pound between the deep lock and the ones above has been damned low. Glad you were OK.

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16 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

With the possible benefit of hindsight, might opening the top paddles of the lock you were stuck in have diverted the flow from over the top of the gates to into the lock via ground paddles?

 

Or are the paddles in the gates? I can't remember. 

 

 

 

With hindsight several options were available, but I think we probably mostly made the right decisions.

It takes ages to get the top ground paddles up and I don't think they would have helped much quickly enough.

The volocky had the bottom gate almost open (they take ages now they are windlass operated) and we really hoped he would get them fully open so we could escape. Opening the top paddles might have pushed the boat forward right up against the gates to prevent the gates getting opened, though the flow is quite gentle in the deep lock.

Another option would have have been for Gillie to go inside and close the slide (she already had the back doors closed and our "anti flood bar" in place), and just sit it out, using a handy "boat towel" to catch any leakage, but this is giving up control of the boat which is not an easy thing to do. 

 

As Magpie says, its rare for this pound to be full, and there are not that many full length boats, so its not going to be a common thing, but it was potentially dangerous so I will report it. I did manage a photo just after we got out of the lock but in the excitement had my finger over the lens.

We've been in many wet locks before but this was almost a lock full of water going over the top gate so it was a torrent rather than a spray.

 

Gillie had a shower and an early bottle of Bredog, my son drove down the next lock and I got the waterlogged rugs onto the roof to start drying in the sun, and wiped down the cabin walls, and 10 minutes later we were on our way.

 

.................Dave

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