Ten Bob Note


Wednesday 9th April 2008

Location: Melksham, Wiltshire, Kennet & Avon Canal

Today: 3 miles, 29 locks. Total distance: 1298 miles.  Total locks: 866

Woke up to another lovely cold and frosty morning. The temperature had dropped to minus 3 during the night.

Pulled the pins around 07:00 and headed off westward. We wanted to be at Melksham around lunch time as we had planned to visit my mother in the early afternoon. All was going well until we arrived at Newton swing bridge. The bridge was well and truly jammed half closed. A piece of chain was jammed between the steel Bridge and the stone side. Phoned BW and reported the problem We waited until some kind folk passed on bicycles and gave us a hand to try and shift it – no luck. After about an hour, a holiday boat arrived and again we tried to move the bridge – no luck. Eventually, with no sign of BW arriving, we got out a mooring pin and a very big hammer and managed to shift the jammed chain out of the way to free the bridge. We were on our way again.

While waiting for BW to come and sort the bridge, I walked ahead with the dogs to look for a suitable mooring spot. There was not much in the way of free space after the locks – looks like a popular spot for long term mooring. There was some space between the two locks so we decided to moor up there as we are intending to stay Near Melksham for the weekend so that we can visit family. There are limited 24 hour moorings just west of the bridge but we need longer than 24 hours.

We moored up and all was well until a boat emptied the bottom lock to come up into the pound. The water level dropped considerably (they are all deep locks along the K&A) and we were leaning over at an uncomfortable angle. We quickly agreed that there was no way we could spend the weekend rocking about as and when the locks are operated. We pulled the pins and dropped down through the bottom lock and were lucky enough to find a space about 100 yards past the visitor’s moorings. Moored up again and it was time to head off and visit my mother. A BW guy turned up as we were dropping down through the lock. We informed him that between us and the crew on the hire boat we had managed to free the bridge.

We walked the 1.5 miles from the canal to my mothers house and were joined there by my sister, brother-in-law and niece’s 4 year old son – Luke. Had a pleasant afternoon visiting before heading back to the boat for an early night. We have had a busy three days getting here and were a bit on the tired side after all of the locks etc.

Sunday 13th

This seems to be a very popular mooring spot – there were no spaces available at all last night. One of the boats on the 24 hour moorings has been there since we arrived – he (a young chap and his dog) even put a couple of potted trees on the tow path outside his boat – can’t blame him I suppose if BW let him get away with it. It’s a shame for those wanting to moor here for the night to visit one of the two pubs close by. Even if his boat is broken down, it would be easy for him to pull it back to the 14 day stretch so that a visitor mooring is freed up.

Melksham is a handy town just one and three quarter miles from the canal at Semington. There are plenty of shops and places to eat. We went out with my sister and brother-in-law to the Sultan Indian resteraunt on Friday evening and the food was excelent.

We have spent much of our time here in Melksham visiting family and it was lovely to have my mum visit us on the boat yesterday – photo below.

We are all getting together at my sister and brother-in-law’s house this evening for a family dinner – looking forward to that as they do a lovely roast dinner :)

We will be moving on in the morning as the water tank is now on the low side and needs topping up.

We have spied a lovely length of fallen dead tree not too far from where we are moored. If we can get the boat into the side on the way past tomorrow the chainsaw will be out again and it will be on to the roof with it.

Current Mooring

First attempt at mooring - lack of water in pound when bottom lock empties

Early morning mist after a minus 3 degree night

Barge Inn at Seend

Old entrance to the Wilts and Berks canal - their is talk of re-opening it


My mum - she will be 87 in June

Popular spot this - wall to wall boats

Friendly moorhen

All Material Copyright © 2010 Ernie Williams