Friday, 30 August 2013

Kennet & Avon Canal - From Bath to Bristol

Bitton Station
It was another of these greyish but hot days when the sweat is running down your back.
I managed to get from the camp site to the canal but then I had a hard days work. The easier way would have been to take the cycleway from Bath to Bristol which shares it´s route with the Avon Valley Railway for some miles. But I had decided to take the towpath, so I fighted with the circumstances like small gates, high fences and overgrown footpathes.
After some miles I gave it up and changed to the cycleway up to Bitton Station where I turned back to the River Avon for the last miles to Bristol.
In Bristol I checked in in the Youth Hostel which is in the midst of the city. I got a room with shower of my own and went down to the laundry where I met Tessa from The Anchor Inn again - the world is quite small sometimes :)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Kennet & Avon Canal - From Trowbridge to Bath

Woke up with the sun and hurried to get my stuff together. I reached Bradford-on-Avon in the early lunchtime, went around in this pretty village for a while before cycling on in direction Bath. On my way I crossed the Avoncliff Aqueduct and the Dundas Aqueduct before I reached Bath. Here I searched for Sarah and Steven, the first boaters I met one year ago and who inspired me to travel on the towpathes. I found their boat, but they wasn´t home so I checked in on the camp site in Bath.

Kennet & Avon Canal - From Wilcot to Trowbridge

On Monday I decided to travel further in direction Bath and Bristol. The weather was warm and dry.
Wilcot is not far away from Avebury, but it was bank holiday, and I don´t like loads of people, so I didn´t visit this prehistoric site.
I came across Lady´s Bridge, the White Horse Landmark and met Kara from Bristol, she was travelling with the bicycle :) 
I rolled down the Caen Hill Locks in Devizes and found a nice camp site direct beside the canal for the night.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Cluck cluck cluck

cluck cluck

Stanley Steam Car

This steam car left the Stanley factory in Newton, Massachusetts, United States, on May 15 1914. It is one of 12 survivors from a production run of 106. Three of them are in the UK, the others in the USA.

Crofton Pumping Station

The engines of Crofton Pumping Station were built nearly 200 years ago to supply water to the highest pont of the Kennet & Avon Canal. This is the stretch of water lying 1,25 km to the west which does not have a natural supply of water to keep it full. The nearest supply of water is the small lake on the far side of the canal, Wilton Water. Water flows from there into the canal, under the railway in a culvert and then to the Crofton pumps. The engines and pumps lift it 12 meter into a leat which then flows to the canal summit.
I had luck and met Richard, one of the volunteers working on the station. He walked around with me and explained everything - unfortunately I only understood a small part of it :) ... But I took loads of pics.

Kennet & Avon Canal - From Hungerford to Wilcot

I was early up and all my stuff was easily packed. My landlady prepared an english breakfast so I had a lot of power for my day :)
The day was damp and foggy. I came across locks, Great Bedwyn, Crofton and it´s pumping station, a tunnel called Bruce, and arrived the pub the Golden Swan in the late afternoon. The pub has a camp site where I decided to stay.

Kennet & Avon Canal - From Brunsdon Lock to Hungerford

It had been raining in the night and the morning brought more showers. So my tent went wet onto the bike.
I decided to go to the next village to do either camp site or Bed & Breakfast. As I reached Hungerford after some mile the sun had come out. I found a B&B, put up my tent for drying, was invited to use the washing machine, and took a walk through Hungerford.
The region between Reading and Hungerford is Englands Silicon Valley. Microsoft, Nokia and other companies have settled here and Hungerford turned out to be pretty, expensive and full of shops selling antiquities.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Kennet & Avon Canal - From Aldermaston to Brunsdon Bridge/Lock

The morning was beautiful and I made it slowly. And short after having made this pic I had to realise that I have a puncture. So off with the luggage again and start the day with work - I was quite happy it was the front wheel :) I managed to repair but had to realise that the tyre had seen better days, so I decided to go to Newbury in order to buy a new one.
After having had this done I went to a webcam in Newbury and made a wave before I left the village. In the evening I put up my tent on the midst of Brunsdon Lock :)

Kennet & Avon Canal - From Reading to Aldermaston

I got up early and this day brought me the two miles, or less, to Reading. The Kennet & Avon Canal starts here.
I used the big town for getting some money out of the hole, do some shopping and I went to a cyclist shop for some air. The shopkeeper told me that I would lose air soon, but I didn´t listen ...
In the evening I reached Aldermaston and pitched up my tent behind some bushes on the football field.

River Thames - From Henley-on-Thames to a hidden gem near Reading

The day started grey but turned out to become nice and sunny.
After some locks, bridges, meadows, and boats I found a nice little place beside the River Thames. I felt I had to stay there over night :)

River Thames - From Hurley to Henley-on-Thames

It was already about lunchtime as I managed to leave Hurley and it´s camping island.
The whole day turned out to be sunny and hot, I didn´t go very far. I went over rich men´s field, white deers on big plaines. Miles before reaching Henley-on-Thames I heard the music of a festival in the village.
I had decided to go on camp site again, and found myself on one of the biggest i have seen for a long while.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Hurley - Boats

Hurley - Regatta

There was a regatta in Hurley at the weekend. I didn´t take part, but I went and made a security check.

Hurley and it´s surroundings

I stayed on the camp site in Hurley and did some walks in the surroundings.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Camping Island at Hurley Lock

I had seen this camp site on my map but didn´t have a clue how to get there. First as I arrived at Hurley Lock there was a sign that one has to book and pay for the camp site at the lock keeper in Hurley. So I did that, paid 10 pounds and got the code for a padlock for the gate on the weir.
The camp site itself has a long story. During the Blitz in 1942 children were sent here to get out of London. The military tents they used are still there and for 1000 pound a year one can have one of those tents. The people staying there has been there for generations already. Mostly everybody who spent his childhood on the island keep on coming every summer.
Apart from that, there are 8 places for touring campers. I had luck to get one of the rare pitches.

River Thames - From Maidenhead to Hurley Locks

 My third day on the River Thames started with bright sunshine. Like the days before it went grey during the day. I was right in time on a nice camp site behind the Hurley Lock, before it started to rain. I spent a lot of time getting my tarp up between two trees and decided to stay for some days.

River Thames - From Sunbury Lock to Maidenhead

The day started with blue sky, but turned overclouded during the day.
I saw loads of locks, bridges, came along Windsor, where I had planned to visit the castle.
In the afternoon a shower made me hide under a tree.
Near Maidenhead, just behind the motorway, I found a camp site for the night.
Whilst the children were screaming on the camp site I watched the sunset sitting at Brey Lock.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Richmond - Boats

River Thames - From London to Sunbury Lock

... and I started from London in 2013.
That Monday turned out to become a cloudy and windy day.
Come with me and look at big bridges, locks and a castle.

The next posts are going to be about my journey along the River Thamse, in direction Reading.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

From Bull´s Bridge Junction to The Islington Tunnel

Thirteen miles on the Paddington Branch of the Grand Union Canal took me from Bull´s Bridge Junction to little Venice. Here I turned into the Regent´s Canal branch of the Grand Union Canal where I went 3 miles to the Islington Tunnel.
Sorry, here comes even more boats :)

From Watford to Bull´s Bridge Junction

Back from Germany I felt for doing a missing part of the Grand Union Canal.
Weeks ago I had been taking the train from London to Watford in order to cycle in direction north.  This time I wanted to cycle the Grand Union down to London.
Tuesday was warm and dry so here we go.
Be prepared for loads of boats and colourful close ups the next 15 miles :)

Monday, 5 August 2013