Wednesday, 22 May 2013

We swap the Thames for the Kennet.

All I can say about our meal out is, brilliant. The food at Shaun Dickens at the Boathouse was amazing and the staff could not do enough for us, Jill's pudding, Basil Baked Alaska, even came out with "Happy Birthday" written on the plate in chocolate. The restaurant is just behind the Salters Steamers office and has a view of the river. Not cheap, in fact expensive, but for a special occasion, perfect. Would definitely go back.
This morning we set off for Reading.

At Sonning the old bridge crosses the river while the weir stream

pours in from the right, which makes negotiating the centre span a tad awkward.

We just managed to avoid the bridge pier, we thought that would do for today's thrills but we were wrong.
After the usual discussions we changed plan, instead of stopping at Tescos we decided to head straight for the Kennet and Avon.

Just before the junction we came across a junior dragon boat race, the kids were having a great time, even if they weren't managing to move very fast.

So we turned left and were soon through Kennet Mouth and passing the local flock of swans.

An international gathering, an Aussie, a Canadian and the local mute swans.

Blake's Lock, the first on the K&A. has somewhat unconventional paddle gear, I won't say unique because if I do someone will immediately inform me of another lock with the same.

This must be unique, press the button to change the traffic light, shame there is nowhere to land to get at the button, it's a case of hoping you can get the boat close enough to reach it. Jill gamely hung off the front and managed to get a finger on it before the current pushed us away.
Then it is up revs and push against the current swirling through the narrows of The Oracle, Reading's shopping centre.

Eventually you arrive at

County Lock, which provided the day's second set of thrills. As I started to enter the lock the current from the weir pulled the back end out and I ended up  bouncing off the lock island and having to power round to get in. We made it though. Definitely my least favourite lock.
After that we just pushed on for Burghfield and The Cunning Man. I suspect we will stay here for a day or so as the weather for the next couple of days does not look good.

Watch this space..........

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