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Archie's mate

Should we cruise the K&A next season

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On 05/10/2019 at 13:32, Tim Lewis said:

Dis the K & A all the way to Bristol this year and can confirm that it is a great trip with but with lots of locks. Despite all the neighsayers we did not have real problems mooring anywhere we wanted to but do not expect to moor right outside popular pubs.  Moorings on the River Avon are next to non existent but then Bath to Bristol is an easy day's boating. Mooring in Bristol is expensive but worth the trip.


If you are making the effort to boat south  please also do the River Wey and the Basingstoke Canal. Did both this year and they really are the nicest waterways. Make time to do the whole of the Thames as well, 



Have a few pictures from this year's cruising on the Kennet & Avon on the Fulbourne web site, enjoy:




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My boat is on the K&A in Newbury.


Did the run to Bristol this year...and then a month later, through Reading and Thames to Letchlade.

My previous boat was stationed in the Midlands and I must say that the K&A locks seem a lot slower and leak a bit more making them difficult to open.

There are one or two swing bridges that take a lot of heaving. Anticipate slow progress. There are a couple of the preserved 'skeleton locks' with earth sides which are interesting ..but very slow.

There are also HUGE locks that take ages to fill.


You need to check the status of the Caen Hill flight as water supply can sometimes mean travel restrictions. The Crofton pump was causing restricted opening this year, but I think that is now solved.


Mooring on this canal is less readily available as much of the bank is shallow or covered by reeds. If you want a popular spot near a pub then we found that in June we needed to be moored up by about 3pm. That applied to towns like Hungerford and Bradford on Avon. You can find places on the bank but (as has been said) you may need to clamber down a gang plank.

Don't expect any of the CART pump out stations to work. We didn't find any that did.


That being said, the canal offers some wonderful scenery and countryside.  

Bath is such a wonderful place to explore and you can take your boat right into the weir below the town...an adventure.


Bristol is a great place to stay but you need to pay for a navigation license and don't expect much sleep. The moorings are in the city centre; one site being opposite the Wetherspoons etc and noisy and the other being a bit short in length. My boat is 42 feet so was just about practical for that. It faces out to the S.S.Great Britain and is in a little circle of cafes. 

We stayed two nights and had no 'agro' from the cafes, but people chuck out of there on a nice evening and sit chatting at the end of your boat for hours. Being in the centre of Bristol it is a great place to moor and sight see. It's a good thing to leave earlier in the day and do a trip around the harbour. You can do this later but there are large fast moving trip boats.


All in all I'd say...go and do it...but if you run out of time you can always see the great countryside....explore Bath...and then turn there.


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