Hello, thanks very much for watching. I'm
still heading west on the Kennet and Avon
Canal. In this episode I go through a
really strange lock with vegetation on
the sides. There's only two like it and
you have to drive down the middle of the
lock and get off. It almost feels like a
sort of a gangplank and then I break a
swing bridge. It's not just a swing bridge
that leads onto a farmer's field,
oh no, it's a main road swing bridge,
with red lights flashing and lots and
lots of chaos. Even Canal and River Trust
can't fix it. So how all of that coming
up in this episode.
I left the long straight mooring area at
Fobney Lock and headed west. After passing under Milkmaid's Bridge there was
my first lock of the day. Just to the south here is the Burghfield Fishing
Complex where you can fish for carp 24/7. Passing under the M4 motorway that spans
the UK from Wales to London, there is Garston Lock. This is the wide lock with
slanted vegetation sides. I then headed towards Tyle Mill where there is a lock
and a rather difficult swing bridge.
I was keen to take it easy and enjoy the mix of canal and river ahead.
[Sounds of water and birds singing]
In 1850 the buildings alongside Southcote Lock used to be part of a pumping
station that provided the town of Reading its first filtered water supply.
Now it's been converted into residential properties where future generations can
watch the boats go by.
Garston Lock was built between 1718 and 1723 and has a rise of seven feet and
seven inches. Unlike a brick or stone sided lock, this has sloping sides,
covered in plants. It's a really strange lock to navigate into, as you exit the
boat via small walkways located either side of the lock. As more water is
required to fill the lock, it does take some time.
At either end of the lock there are pillboxes dating from World War II. These
bunkers were built as anti-tank defences and their steel doors needed to be just
as strong as their concrete walls, to withstand enemy blasts.
[Sounds of water and birds singing]
At Tyle Mill there are bins, a water and elsan point and just before the lock, Tyle
Mill swing bridge. I was told it regularly breaks down and today was my turn. The
bridge opening procedure was activated by a single button as normal and the
stop light started to flash. Well oh deary me.
We tried to lower the barriers and open the swing bridge but it jammed and all
it was as the red lights flashing. Which then of course, we had to be traffic
management and help the people cross.
Canal and River Trust were called and arrived relatively quickly but couldn't
More and more engineers arrived throughout the afternoon.
Remember the lights are still flashing
red confusing the motorists. Around five hours later, the swing bridge was
manually opened for me to pass through and I'm moored up just beyond the lock for
the night. And that's the end of my filming on the Kennett and Avon Canal.
I'm back up here in the East Midlands now. I needed to return back up here
because I've just been away to Romania for a week to do some filming for Victron
and I needed to ensure that Alice was nice and safe and friends could
look in on her. I thoroughly enjoyed the Kennet and Avon Canal. I didn't do all of
it. I got roughly to Great Bedwyn, a
little bit before then. It's quite a difficult canal to do on your own, as a
solo navigator because there's a lot of locks and a lot of swing bridges and the
further, you go west, the more there were it felt like. I knew that
that's how the canal was. I was told that previously but it is quite tough on your
own having to spend most of your day opening and closing locks and swing
bridges - when they work! It's a nice canal though, very pretty.
It's got a very good community feel, I think it's because it's cut off from
everyone and there's this big river. They have that sort of them a us feeling,
which is really nice. It goes through some quite urban areas as well. Obviously
Reading and Newbury were the two that I experienced. No real trouble at all. There
weren't that many mooring spots I must say,
and they've let the banks be angled quite a lot but I didn't really find any
problems, the sides were strong enough to hold pins in and things so, I thoroughly
enjoyed it. And I experienced for a couple of weeks the canal as a boater,
which is the first time I've done that ever since I've bought Alice really.
So that is the end of the Kennet and Avon, I'm back up here in the East
Midlands, lots and lots to do. Until next time, see you later.