Monday, 21 August 2017

The Basingstoke Canal day one and two

The Basingstoke canal are new waters for us, our pals on this trip have tried to cruise it twice before and failed. Third time lucky for them and a bit of an adventure for us.

Today we would be travelling through Woodham, Woking,  St Johns, Knaphill & West Hill all familiar places to us being ex locals of nearby Shepperton but we didn't even know this canal existed until we bought FL.

We had to be at lock number one (Woodham lock) to meet the lock keeper Carl at 09:30, he would provide us with our licences and more importantly unlock the paddles. Once we had gone through, the paddles would be locked. We will meet Carl again tomorrow as we have booked to go up Deepcut (Frimley) locks, he has the key.

The timed locking system helps with water conversation as this canal is notorious for water shortages. After paddles are locked Carl used wood shavings and the water flow to plug any leaks in the lock gates.

Basingstoke canal joins from the right at Woodham junction.

As we took the turn we were met by a blanket of weed.

Looking back to the M25

Lock one (Woodham bottom lock)

Carl & Gordon  sort the paperwork while Dot looks on.

Houseboats line the bank on this stretch

Gordon poles a route through

Today we only had problem with one lock where neither of the  bottom gates would open fully Ewn ha Cul got well and truly stuck between FL and the lockgate. We had to enlist the help of passers by to help haul the boat out again so we could go up the lock one at a time

Sue gets a little help

Sue uses more child labour.
We moored for the night at Brookwood Lye, only two visitor moorings here, with two boats already on them and no welcome to pull alongside from their captains FL got her nose on the pontoon and back line on a tree and Ewn ha Cul breasted up.

Gordon and I were straight down our weed hatches to remove the accumulated vegetation.

We were up at a reasonable hour and through the first of 17 locks by 09:45, three boats had gone up the flight before us, half way up we came to a halt as one of the crews had inadvertently drained a pound of water this allowed us a rest in the lock and have lunch while Carl sorted levels out.

Woods to both sides of the canal at Deepcut.

WW2 Pill box

After finishing the flight we pulled in at Frimley Green and treated ourselves to tea at a nearby Harvester.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Henley to Weybridge

Henley getting ready for The Rewind Festival on Temple Island meadow

We have never noticed this hill top building before. Maybe the surrounding trees have been lowered

This home which is after the river bend at Quarry Wood below Marlow lock has been work in progress for a few years looked to be finally completed.
No! still more to do.

Nuneaton & I think Brighton breasted up going up stream at Bourne End
Had quick chats on the move with George & Carol at Medmenham and Ken at Marlow lock  we also passed Sue & Vic's boat in Cliveden deep but as it was 06:45 we thought it best not to knock.


The new homes finished on the Skindles Hotel site near Maidenhead bridge

Stopped at Windsor, it's always nice watching all the people on and around the water enjoying themselves. In the evening we had an excellent meal in the Two Brewers with friends.

The next day we had a short cruise to Runnymede, the Egham towpath visitor moorings were empty when we pulled in, within 15 minutes three more narrowboats and a couple of cruisers joined us.

The same thing at the Weybridge moorings, these new NSL signs (used to be NCP) are freeing up moorings for the visiting boater who only wants to stay a day or two.

Glyn and Christine came to visit us and we retired to the Old Crown for beer and tea while we waited for Dot and Gordon coming from the other end of the Thames to join us.. By the time they arrived the mooring was full so they snuggled Ewn Ha CUL on to FL's starboard bow.

In the morning after a visit to the Weybridge shops we cast of for the River Wey where we bought transit licenses  for £6.75 including a 10% reduction for National Trust membership. This will get us to the Basingstoke canal where will we will spend ten days exploring a new waterway.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Early morning cruise.

Last night we paid the price for a sound nights sleep the previous night by being awake before dawn. When I got up to make the tea a mist was rising off the water and the suns rays were peeking through the trees.

We had planned to get going early this morning but not this early, just before six we pulled the pins and set off for Whitchurch lock . Today we were the culprits that get mentioned under the duvets of sleeping crews.

Exiting Whitchurch lock.
Letterbox Folly.

Sonning bridge.

Reading swans.
A long cruise today we pulled in at Henley at noon.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Lower Basidon

We have had a lovely quiet weekend moored on the meadow above Childe Beale Wildlife Trust. A few jobs got done yesterday I missed the 200 hour engine service by one hour. The first this year, we don't seem to be doing the mileage of previous years, oils and filters have been refreshed.

An annoying roof rustspot was dealt with to the under coat stage, I've worked out that the roof paint must be 18 coats thick in places so after rubbing down and rust proofing the patch the filler came out to make up the depth before a primer was applied.

The rest of the time was spent picking a few blackberries from the hedgerows but mainly sitting on the bank waving at passing crews.

While out picking the fruit I came upon a young chap having problems with his engine on his Freeman 22. He called out to me 'do you know anything about 'injuns' . Well his luck was in I used to own one of these vessels 35 years ago, the engine in it was a Ford 105E his was a little older  Ford Popular 100E.

As I stepped aboard I couldn't help thinking back to Capricorn and her highly polished walnut interior this one was a bit dull and showing its 55+ years.

His problem was an oil leak from the breather, to be more accurate the hole in the engine where the breather should be. He'd overfilled the engine with oil, after a while the leaking seemed to abate. I advised him to stop at Sheridan marine( only 3 miles away) a Freeman specialist to find out where to get the correct breather parts for his engine.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Dorchester to Goring

What a difference a bit of sun showing in the sky makes to the day. Yesterday we hunkered down as the rain showers kept coming, today all is well with the world, we move into Days lock an hour before the lockie is due. 

Wide stretches on this part of the river.
 With sun warming us we can cruise and drink in the vistas. Benson was on self service and Sue did the necessary for the assembled boats. A huge aircraft carrier type hire boat would have to wait for the next locking. Through Wallingford and onto Goring where we find a good mooring just before midday.

Goring lock

George Michaels adoring fans are still making  a pilgrimage to his Goring home

FL is fifth on the bollards

Across the bridge in Streatley the Swan is having renovations.

St Mary's Streatley

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Days Lock

Leaving Culham lock.

Passing fuel boat Merchant

Clifron lock

Since 1985 and our first Thames boat we have always moored on the meadow at Dorchester near   Days lock, for us it was a tranquil spot in a beautiful landscape, form here we had good walks up the nearby hills or into the picture postcard village for groceries or a drink in the pub. 
Things have changed , read about it here

We could still moor there for a fee and still visit Dorchester and Wittenham clumps as we are fit enough to scale the locked gate to get out of the barbed wire fenced pound. 

Bad enough for us boaters who stop here for a few days a year but devastating to the locals who use the area as a recreational facility all year. They host the World Pooh Sticks championship there. 

We will not moor there on principle and in support of the villagers who are fighting the new owner to get the fencing removed so they can continue to use the area as a village green. They have a campaign going. FL is moored on the opposite bank.

This saga reminds me of another knobhead who took a fancy to a beauty spot and fenced out the locals. It took 5 years using the courts to get the fencing removed. read about that here

Looking down on the meadow taken  last year.
Wittenham Clumps from opposite bank.

Abingdon to Days lock.