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colmac

Kennet and Avon info

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Hi, after many years on the canals we have decided to cruise the K&A. Never been that way before so would appreciate an overview from someone with experience of this area. Have heard the stories about lack of water and difficulty finding moorings. Have always taken these anecdotes with a pinch of salt about any canal hence the request for info from someone with personal experience. Thank you. 

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5 hours ago, colmac said:

Hi, after many years on the canals we have decided to cruise the K&A. Never been that way before so would appreciate an overview from someone with experience of this area. Have heard the stories about lack of water and difficulty finding moorings. Have always taken these anecdotes with a pinch of salt about any canal hence the request for info from someone with personal experience. Thank you. 

Finding good moorings can be a problem in some parts,  and where they exist fill up quite early. One of the biggest problems with the K&A is that it that has a barrel shaped profile and the edges are often quite shallow, so the first rule of the K&A is get yourself a long plank (at least 8ft), and learn to jump several feet between the boat and the bank, then you can choose where you want to moor with greater ease.

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Depends how long you want to moor for and how close to the pub you want to be. I always found a mooring when I brought Lutine Home, but on one occasion I was a mile walk from a road and needed to go home (actually I needed to go to the USA on business)

 

I moored at Theale (just downstream of the bridge - one night)

Aldermaston  (Above the lock, the first bit of bank that wasn't lock moorings - two weeks)

Midgham (Ditto but only 1 night)

Kintbury - couple of hundred yards below the lock** (two weeks)

Hungerford - By the church (Two weeks - water shortage)**

Froxfield - above lock 70 (Two weeks - lock gate off it's collar)

Bedwyn - above lock 63 (Above the lock, the first bit of bank that wasn't lock moorings - two weeks as I was in the USA - longest walk to a road)

Crofton visitor moorings 1 night

Wootton Rivers - above bottom lock - 1 night

Wilcot - 1 week**

All Cannings - Two Weeks

Horton Chain Bridge - 1 week**

Horton Bridge - 2 weeks** (Devizes Locks Closed)

Devizes Wharf - 2 nights

Devizes above lock 44 - 1 night

Devizes below Lock 28 - 10 days (Christmas)

Devizes below lock 22 - 1 night

Seend Below Lock 17 - 1 night

Bradford below the lock - 1 night

 

** needed a gangplank

 

From Bradford I got to Brassknocker Basin on the Coal Canal on new years day

 

It took a long time because of an unreliable engine, work getting in the way, the summit running out of water and then, just as it reopened a gate coming off a lock ahead of me (and by the time it was fixed I had to go back to work) and finally the planned closure of Devizes Locks, but the mooring pattern shows you can moor pretty freely so long as you don't insist on a popular pub and arrive at 7pm. Aldermaston to Devizes Lock 44 was single handed

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I have had no problems finding mooring - lots of towpath. If you want to be on visitor moorings with rings etc, then you will have a lot less choice. I use a combination of Pearson's and satellite mapping on line to plan ahead - especially where to stop near easy parking.

Many people use a plank with a hole in each end so you can pin it to the bank and tie it to your boat. Saves it floating away - there is a flow of water on much of the canal as the rivers join the canal often.

Have fun!

  • Greenie 1

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48 minutes ago, MaryP said:

Many people use a plank with a hole in each end so you can pin it to the bank and tie it to your boat. Saves it floating away .

Have fun!

That's what we did, but rigged it up so I could lower it drawbridge fashion from the boat, saved all that dodgy leaping. 

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Thank you all for your replies, guess the answer is to "suck it and see" so will give it a go.

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No-one has mentioned that the locks on this canal can be quite challenging, especially if you are a single narrowboat.  Managing the flow of water into the locks when going uphill is the key, but they are hard work especially if you are used to well maintained narrow locks.   Some of the swing bridges are a pain as well.    

 

Re moorings, I wonder if the situation on the K&A has improved since the last time we did it, about three years ago.  At that time there was clearly a major problem with liveaboards overstaying at decent mooring spots, but we could also see that CRT were trying to get to grips with it.  

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The place we found difficult was Pewsey Wharf. The permanent moorers have the nearest moorings to the Wharf. If, CRT in their wisdom dredged for three-four hundred yds-mtrs eastwards an installed pilings, including water supply, then permanent moorers could move further away from the hustle and bustle of the Wharf and the bar. Visitors could then moor conveniently for a short time. 

 

We have been on here for far too long. What with bereavement and other constraints, which are now the past, we are on the move again. K&A is not as bad as some will lead you to believe. Yes, some locks are troublesome, but we have experienced worse. Going uphill is tricky, watch the inflow of water, especially the gates paddles. Ground paddles are not so bad. Some lovely sections. The further west you go, the better in my view.

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2 hours ago, Neil2 said:

No-one has mentioned that the locks on this canal can be quite challenging, especially if you are a single narrowboat.  Managing the flow of water into the locks when going uphill is the key, but they are hard work especially if you are used to well maintained narrow locks.   Some of the swing bridges are a pain as well.    

  

 

That is a very fair point - I enjoyed the journey but except for Midgham to Kintbury really didn't push the pace, not so much the long gaps between each move but a "day" crusing was often 3-4 hours and half a dozen locks at most, which meant I never got tired, for (in my case at least) tiredness leads to frustration, attempting to rush and making mistakes, and not enjoying oneself. I'll guess each lock took between 20 minutes and half an hour single handed, but unless someone was waiting (in which case they could help speed me up) that didn't matter.

 

It was only last week, long after I finished the voyage, that I realise I did fifty locks single handed on the K&A, including Monkey Marsh (turf sided) and Hungerford Common(?) with a swing bridge over it - I've done considerably shorter trips single handed and enjoyed them much less because I was pushing too hard.

 

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