Monday, 27 May 2013

Woolhampton? No problem.

As we set out this morning the sun came out, promising another all too rare warm day. We had set our target as Woolhampton.

At Tyle Mill Lock we stopped for water, next to this WWII pillbox, now home to a colony of Daubenton's bats.

Tyle Mill has the swing bridge and lock in close proximity, the best bet is to set the lock before swinging the bridge and then sail straight into the lock. Jill encountered a rather impatient white van man who made rude gestures at her as she worked the bridge, so, she claims, she smiled sweetly at him. I've seen her sweet smiles, they can freeze the blood of the hardiest.

At Towney Lock we were caught up by "Twowestis" who were heading home to Newbury. It certainly makes lock working much easier, the K&A locks not being noted for their ease of operation.
Woolhampton is famous, nay, notorious, for the problems transiting the swing bridge and lock pose.

For a kick off the full force of the river is channelled through the bridge, the lock is a couple of hundred yards further upstream. Perceived wisdom is to send someone ahead to set the lock before opening the bridge and making a dash for it.

Unfortunately, as you approach the lock entrance, the river comes in full force under the bridge on the left, pushing you sharply across

towards this boat. At least it's well protected, more tyres than an F1 team.

A view taken from the bridge just before the river debauches into the lock cut, gives some idea of how fast the water is moving.
With much application of throttle I managed to force her round and got into the lock without hitting anything. All this takes place under the critical eyes of the patrons of The Rowbarge as they sit in the garden of that hostelry, one wonders what those unfamiliar with boating think of it all.
That was enough for one day, we moored above the lock. In the woods we could hear a cuckoo calling, the first we've heard this year. Perhaps he was just commenting on our mental state?
We had just finished mooring when I espied a young lad peering through one of our portholes, so we invited him and his family to have a look at the boat. Oliver and Jane, it was a real pleasure to meet you and the boys.
Bad weather forecast for tomorrow so I feel we may remain here for a day or so.

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

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