Saturday, 13 July 2013

Our trip to Bath and a treat for any antipodeans who come across this post.

Hooray, we eventually got as far as Bath down what is probably the poshest stretch of canal in Britain.

Sydney Gardens and Cleveland House Tunnels.

Having got this far we winded and made our way back. At Bathwick there is a length of seventy two hour moorings, ideal for anyone wishing to visit the city.

What a pity they are taken up by boats that obviously haven't moved for quite a while. Continuous cruising, Kennet & Avon style. Definitely no welcome for visitors.
So now we are near Bathampton, enjoying the sunshine. We lunched at The George, excellent burgers. I know it's not haute cuisine but, although the menu looked excellent, we didn't want anything heavy because of the heat. The Thwaites Wainwright Bitter was spot on as well.

As is our wont we wandered over to the church, it turned out to be the coolest spot for miles. We always try to explore the church wherever we stop, not that we have any religious convictions but the church and churchyard carry the history of the people of the area. Plus they often have really quirky architecture.

This one contained the tomb of Arthur Phillip, commanding officer of The First Fleet, the one that took the first convicts to Australia. There is an Australia Chapel in commemeration of the event.
As we bimbled back to the boat the towpath took us under Bathampton Bridge and, oh my, wow.

As the canal opened in 1810, whoever IL was carved his initials into the bridge when it was built. Probably not a navvy as they were usually illiterate, so possibly the contractor in charge of building?

These are masons marks, as the stone masons cut each stone to size they put their mark on it so they would be paid for the number of blocks they produced. The marks are invariably made up of straight lines because they are easier to carve. I have seen patterns identical to these carved in granite on Dartmoor and on stones in the locks on the Macclesfield and Peak Forest canals. I suppose there are only so many patterns you can carve quickly into a stone block so duplication is inevitable. Possibly the masons were told which mark they would use when they started on a new contract, so the marks were not personal, just standard issue.
We will never know who cut these marks but they are a link going back to the people who built our canals. Well I find it fascinating.

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

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