We left Greensforge earlyish this morning – well, just before 8am anyway. We have travelled only 4 miles today but there were 9 locks including one staircase of 2 locks and the 3 Bratch locks to do.
The first lock, at Hinksford was set for us and we only met one boat coming the other way all trip. This was when we got to the end of the Hinksford moorings which was good because that meant we didn’t have to pass them while passing the moored boats as well.
At Swindon the locks were also set although I got a bit of a panic on when I spotted a couple of CRT vans and a load of scaffolding which looked like it was at the top lock. However they were shoreing up the bank before the lock and it wasn’t a stoppage I had somehow missed.
Next was Botterham staircase and on to the rather cutely named Giggetty, where there is a handily placed Sainsbury’s (although we didn’t stop there) and some rather lovely canalside allotments. I think the peoiple who own the allotments are very trusting of the public not to nick their produce as it is so accessible!
After Giggetty is the beautifully named Bumblehole Lock which is my favourite lock name on the whole system and then Bratch Locks. There used to be a triple staircase here but they were turned into 3 separate locks, which fill from side pounds, to cut down water usage. These locks raise the canal 30ft.
At the top of the locks we decided to moor up, rather earlier than we have been used to of late and in a position guaranteed to not present any signal problems for the tv. There was no one moored here at all when we arrived which surprised us (although it has subsequently filled) so we took advantage of this to moor right in the middle where the mooring rings are nicely spaced.
After some lunch (toasted sandwiches because the bread had seen better days) we walked the mile or so into the village for some shopping, including a packet of apple puffs which I just couldn’t resist (naughty) and a pint or two at The Vine. It has been lovely weather today so we sat outside.
On the way back down the high street we went in the butchers for some sausages, eggs and beef dripping (naughty). Then it was back to the boat. This would have been a quick and simple task if I had not spotted a ‘shortcut’ footpath which in fact ended up taking us well out of our way – about an extra mile and a half, oops! One of us was not a happy bunny! At least it wasn’t raining.
When we eventually got back we had to eat the whole packet of apple puffs with our cup of tea to recover. Well it was a good excuse anyway. During this recovery I enjoyed watching some rather unusual mooring techniques from a couple of the people who have now stopped here, fascinating!
Following our extended walk, this evening will be spent torturing ourselves further with the England v Iceland football match.
Tomorrow we are heading for Coven or Gailey depending on how we feel.