Ten Bob Note  

Wednesday 19th March 2008

Location: Woolhampton, Berkshire, Kennet & Avon Canal

Today: 7 miles, 9 locks. Total distance: 1248 miles.  Total locks: 789 + lots of bridges today

A busy day today, lots of obstacles to navigate past – lift bridges, swing bridges, weirs and locks.

We pulled the pins around 07:00 as we wanted to get past Woolhampton lock today just in case there is more rain and the river rises again. We have heard lots of stories about how difficult it is to get into Woolhampton lock when there is a strong flow on the river – the stories are all true. The river joins the canal from the left just below the lock and there is a strong cross flow. Also, just below the point where the river joins the canal, there is a swing bridge at a bit of an angle. You have to set the lock, open the bridge and make a run for it. A bit of a challenge when the flow is up as it is now.

Just below the lock is a house with an end of garden mooring. There is a boat on the mooring with lots of dents in it – must be one of the worst mooring locations in the country.

After phoning all of the marinas and boatyards in the are to find out who has the best price on diesel, Aldermaston Wharf (Reading Marine) turned out to be the best at 61.5 pence per litre. The highest we were quoted was 71 pence.

We stopped off at Aldermaston Wharf to take on diesel. Some of their hire boat fleet had engines running. I asked if any were booked out for the weekend and they said that all of them will be out. I asked which way they will be heading and the answer was ‘up stream’ as they don’t allow them down on the Thames. I asked what they do about Woolhampton lock and the answer was that they explain to them how best to approach it and if the customer is really worried, they will take the boat through for them. There is a pub right between Woolhampton swing bridge and the lock. It must be great entertainment for the customers in the summer – watching the hire boats coming past.

Once Ten Bob Note was safely in the lock, I had a chat with the guy that lives in the house with the end of garden mooring. I told him about all of the hire boats coming out for the weekend and heading his way and he made the decision there and then to move his boat away from the lock for a few days. He ended up mooring it behind us and I took his phone number so that I can call him if there are any problems. He was showing me some of the dents in the side of his boat, all inflicted by boats attempting to enter the lock. He went on to tell me some stories about attempts at the lock that he has witnessed from his garden, many boat get spun around 180 degrees by the flow from the river and end up shooting back down river.

After mooring up, we walked up to the village as there is a little shop there that sells papers, bread and milk etc.

Thursday 20th
Walked up to the villages with the dogs to pick up the papers than walked along the towpath to give them (and us) some exercise. We spied a dead tree very close to the boat so on return, it was out with the chainsaw. We also had some lengths of wood on the roof that needed chopping up so while the chainsaw was out, we processed them as well. The roof is now full with logs again – just as well as there may be snow over the holiday weekend!!!

Current mooring

Steel sided lock

Side-less lock

Lots of pill boxes along the river, there is one each side of this lock

Another strange shaped lock

Down stream of Woolhampton swing bridge

Up stream of Woolhampton swing bridge

Woolhampton lock - river joins from the left, mooring on the right

Looking back out of Woolhampton lock

Lots of dents in that boat!!!

Must be the worst mooring spot in the UK ???

Plenty of logs again


Material Copyright © 2008 Ernie Williams
This page last modified on: 23 April, 2014 5:32 PM