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Category: Bonny Journey

Day 52 – Seend Park to Taunton

Day 52 – Seend Park to Taunton

A drab and dreary day, that took me down through Frome, across to Wells, down to Glastonbury and in to Taunton.

About 70 miles.

The damp weather has caused some problems with my knee, and I’m not sure how it’ll be functioning tomorrow.

I’m going to book something close, and not risk straining it.

Canaltime

Spent most of the morning cycling down the canal towpath.

Stopped for a coffee in Monkton Combe at the Angelfish café, where some other cyclist had congregated for the same reason.

Avoncliff is a particularly good stretch, with the canal looking down on the Avon winding it’s way through the valley below.

England's Glory - Avoncliff
England’s Glory – Avoncliff

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Day 50 – Seend Park to Bradford on Avon

Day 50 – Seend Park to Bradford on Avon

I don’t think I’ve hated anywhere in England more than Bradford on Avon.

It’s snotty, fascist, ‘Little England-esque’, chocolate box nimbyism got me feeling the place would be better off bombed.

Never wish to go there again.

I’ve been to places all over the UK. All over Europe. Been to 55 countries. All across the world.

I’d rather hang out in Salford than here.

Wigan.

All better.

Horrible.

Anyway, on with the journey.

Bonny End

I made my way down from Seend locks to Hilperton, in the hope of lodging at the marina for a short time, whilst I complete the rest of my John O’Groats to Lands End journey.

The journey itself, if you subtract the time taken for getting up to John O’Groats is 36 Days.

That’s why I’ve changed the day back to 36.

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Day 49 – Caen Hill Marina to Seend Park

Day 49 – Caen Hill Marina to Seend Park

An easy half day, leaving Caen Hill at around 12pm after buying a bell for my bike in Devizes and having my lunch.

Engine

As you may have read, I fixed the engine myself.

Believe it or not, it actually runs better now.

In the new smoother Bonnie, I took off through the gates of Caen Hill along my merry way.

Double parking

It wasn’t long before I hit some locks. There’s just so many of them on this canal.

When I went to park the boat before the locks, so I could operate the paddles and open the gates, there was a 60ft wide beam sitting, covering all the bollards.

I thought ‘they may be in the locks’, unlikely. As I approached, it became clearer they weren’t in the locks. The boat was abandoned. Just left close to the locks, with a sign in the window with a phone number on it.

As I pulled up, there was no-where to put my boat, and I had to tie it to the side of this widebeam whilst I negotiated the lock.

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Day 48 – Caen Hill Locks

Day 48 – Caen Hill Locks

Caen Hill Locks
Caen Hill Locks

Diesel hasn’t sorted the engine out, it now needs ‘bleeding’.

Whilst the engineer I spoke to yesterday agreed to make it for 10, his cat was taken ill in the night, and their were some complications and confusions.

These weren’t helped by the fact that my phone was flat and I couldn’t get a signal.

Whatever, I decided to pull the boat down to the next marina.

7 Locks away.

Caen Hill Marina

The boat is now moored in Caen Hill Marina.

I’ve had a chance to tidy her up a bit, and her batteries are charging.

Haven’t had chance to look at the engine – due to the weather.

I’ve got until 2 pm tomorrow to sort it out myself.

It ain’t a great or difficult job.

Bleeding a BMC marine engine

Bleeding is a case of getting all the air from the injection system, by means of manual pumping and turning the engine over.

When you run out fuel, it’s a kind of standard job you’ll find yourself, or someone else, doing.

I’ve got some additional kit and tips off other boaters, and TBH, I’d managed to bleed it through most of the bleed points on the BMC 18,000 engine. I need the power in the batteries to continue the job and finish off.

I’ll have another look at it tomorrow, when it’s not raining.

No pictures or map today.

Day 47 – Devizes – Caen Hill Locks

Day 47 – Devizes – Caen Hill Locks

The biggest set of ‘staircase’ locks I’ve encountered.

29 Locks in 2 miles.

I believe, we got to lock 23, with anther 6 to go…

Ran out of fuel

I dipped the tank at the top, the day before I set out and there seemed to be a good 2 inches in the tank, which I thought would easily power me down to Trowbridge.

Turned out not to be the case.

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Day 46 – Honey Street to Devizes

Day 46 – Honey Street to Devizes

Penultimate day on the boat…. I suspect.

Honey Street is only down the road from Devizes, saw this on the way. Milk Hill I believe they call it.

Wiltshire white horse
Wiltshire white horse

Weather is only just holding off rain, and cold.

Pass this contraption.

img_1933Filled with hi-vis CRT workers.

On the end it has a fork lift contraption and a massive rotating disk. It looks like something out of ‘Robot Wars’.

Honey Street Visitor moorings

I pass by the visitors moorings in Honey Street, which are outside the ‘Barge Inn’.

Impossible to find either on the OS map, or the internet. Probably about 300 yards from where I moored in someone’s back garden.

Kennet and Avon
Kennet and Avon – Devizes
Small Bream
Small Bream

Devizes

I intend to stay in Devizes for the next couple of days.

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Day 45 – Great Bedwyn to Honey Street

Day 45 – Great Bedwyn to Honey Street

Woke up in the morning to find the boat on it’s side.

During the night, the pound, (the expanse of water between locks), had emptied out. I can see from my bed that one side of the boat is much lower than the other.

This makes me kind of uneasy, as I don’t know how much water has gone from under the boat.

As I look out of the window, it doesn’t look to be a lot. Still, if I leave it, it will get worse, especially if people come and start using the locks.

Quickly put some clothes on, do an engine check and start the engine.

I can push the stern out from the bank, but not the bow, which seems lodged.

I shove it in reverse, kicking up the mud and gravel and shit, and waggle the tiller a little, which has the right effect.

As I drift backwards, the front end follows, and I drift backward to the safety of the bollards of Potters Lock.

It looks like the pound had emptied by around a foot or so whilst I was asleep.

Moored at the locks, which you’re not supposed to do. Had a bit to eat and got going before anything else could go wrong.

Later on down the pound, a wide beam has run aground on the shallow water.

Earlier on the following day, some large canoeists had been leaving all the bottom paddles up and gates open, now all the pounds are empty.

16 Miles 16 locks

There’re more sets of locks on this Kennet than any other canal.

They’re all double.

Apart from that, they only have one sluice or ‘paddle’, this means that unlike the other double locks on the CRT system, they fill very slowly.

Most double locks have a ‘ground paddle’, which opens and lets water in from the bottom of the lock, and a ‘gate paddle’ that lets water in at the top of the gate, water level.

This has the net effect of creating an even filling of the lock.

These locks are much slower. Painfully slow.

So, I hang around.

Crofton pumping station
Crofton pumping station

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