Our 48 hrs was up in Great Bedwyn, so off we went. We had wanted water and this is situated immediately past the bridge hole here, but last evening a wide beam had come along about 7pm, clearly no mooring space for him so he stopped right there on the water point. I was infuriated and said that we should moor up alongside and walk over their boat and fill up anyway, if we happened to wake them well, all the better. However this was impossible due to the size of this vessel, our hose would not have reached, but more to the point we would have blocked the bridge hole. So at about 9:15am when we passed by they were up and getting ready to move off however I don’t really call that early when you are blocking the facilities. Rant over.
We pootled away.
Main adventure of the day, was on approaching the first lock in the Croften Flight, there was a boat moored just before the lock landing, but here the lock landing was a little on the short side. At this one there was one of those nasty sluices bombing out right by the lock entrance, now all this meant that our boat which is a 70ft, does not have enough space to go around the moored boat and snug in to the lock landing, without being pushed out at the pointy end by the jet propelled sluice to the other side of the bank. Dearest David wanted to go and do the lock himself to save me as I was flagging, but I was reluctant having seen what was afoot, he insisted and said he would tell me what to do….
OMG!!! What a performance.
OMG!!! What a performance.
Picture this reader;
Little short bald guy hanging onto the centre line for all his worth, boat nose is heading for the bushes on the other side of the canal, wife who has no idea of how to save this situation and didn’t want to do this in the first place is receiving yelled instructions of REVERSE, FORWARD, REVERSE FORWARD, TILLER AWAY and KEEP THE BOW THRUSTERS ON!!!!! There was a lot of revving, at one point the tiller slipped from my armpit and almost flung me into the drink, this resulted in just a little bit of screaming which brought another crew down from the lock above. The rope he was hanging onto was getting shorter and shorter, his little legs were giving ground in the afloat version of Tug o’ war.
The result?? The sluice won, David second and I jumped ship with the windless and ran off out of it. Sorry to say no photos.
We moored up amongst a group of four boats, no one on any of them, where are all the owners one asks oneself. After the lesson in boat handling at the lock, I felt the need for a bit of a treat, so we had bacon and avocado sandwiches, then Ginger and White Chocolate crunch cake…
In the afternoon we walked back to the Croften Flight and the Steam Pumping Station Museum. This houses the oldest working Beam engine still in its situation IN THE WORLD!
I didn’t really understand the finer points of steam engineering but it pumped water from a well at the bottom if the flight to the top, it needed one ton of coal a day to power it, which was delivered by canal of course. The museum has Steam Weekends when its all powered up and running and they serve very nice cake. The gardens overlook the canal and Wilton Water beyond full of birdlife. Fab. So come and visit.
|Bottom of the Crofton Steam Museum Chimney|
|Top of it.|
|Where all the action happens|
|Biggest spanners I've ever seen.|
|Clock taken from Pewsey Wharf yonks ago.|
|As much of the beam as I could fit in.|
|Start of the Leat where the pumped water flows to the upper locks.|
|Where the pumped water emerges at the Leat start.|