Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Back to Devizes, heading East this time

There has been a bit of a gap in our updates but this has mainly been because we have had guests and we don't like to be too rude in spending the time on the internet instead of talking to friends.

The previous blog was in Bristol and we spent two nights there in the Floating Harbour opposite the SS Great Britain. On Saturday morning we walked around some of the places we used to know as students in the 1970's and climbed the Cabot Tower for the views.



The Cabot Tower was built in 1897 to celebrate 400 years since John Cabot set out to discover America.  The tower sits on top of Brandon Hill and has lovely views over the city in all directions.



Here is the view down to the harbour.  You can see the SS Great Britain with its masts and Leo is just out of sight on the nearer side of the water.









Bristol is celebrating Nick Park's animation work by having a number of large 'Gromits' around the city. Here is a lovely golden Gromit outside the Victoria Rooms:
 
On Saturday afternoon we welcomed our friend Gordon onboard for a tour of the Harbour. Gordon brought some fine sunshine with him too.





Here is Gordon with Helen enjoying the sunshine on the back of Leo



And here is the Clifton Suspension Bridge seen from the Cumberland Basin on our tour of the Floating Harbour.  The railings in the foreground are on the gates of the entrance lock from the tidal River Avon.  We reversed right up to the lock gates to get this view.




 Sunday morning we left Bristol with our friends John and Ali on Triskaideka and got all the way back to Bath where we moored down on the River Avon. In the evening all four of us went out for a nice meal at Carluccio's. On Monday morning our friend William joined us for a few days. William had a wish to climb the Caen Hill flight and that was an offer too good to refuse. We decided to repeat our experience of backing up into the arms of the Pulteney weir and so both Leo and Triskaideka now feature in the photos of lots of tourists. After that diversion we went back up the Bath locks and, having left John and Ali at the top, we carried on to Bradford on Avon on Monday evening.



Here is John at the helm of Triskaideka backing up close to the Pulteney Weir with the famous bridge behind.


This old chap and his dog insisted I take their picture.  They were watching the boats go by at the bottom lock.



This heron with his neck sunk down into his chest was enjoying sitting on a boat by the canal in the lock flight.  He seemed more interested in the boats than in any fish he could catch.

  

And here Ian and William enjoy a well earned beer on a bench by the boat at Bradford on Avon.










With William we had a second meal at the Dandy Lion and on Tuesday we headed on, stopping for diesel at The Boatyard at Hilperton where we were pleased to report to Spencer and Victoria that the new engine mounts were fine and that the diesel leak had been successfully cured. A few locks at Semington and Seend allowed us to limber up for Wednesday's efforts. We teamed up with a friendly group of Dutch folk on a hired boat coming up the Seend flight. 
With some friendly Dutch narrowboaters in the Seend Locks.
 
We moored for the night where we had stayed before some 3 locks up the Devizes locks. William and Ian walked up the flight in the evening for a pint at the Black Horse on the edge of Devizes. Today we've come up the 26 locks to Devizes. We've done it this time without another boat to share with, but life was made easier not only by virtue of William's assistance but also because of a couple of CRT volunteers and an Australian chap who wished to help. 



Ian fished this grass snake out of one of the Caen Hill locks.  Unfortunately it was dead as it was a fine specimen over 2 feet long.

Looking down the Caen Hill Flight - distant views towards Bath - the flight climbs 230 feet up the hill
 
We had teas at the cafe at the top of the main flight and later we visited the town museum which included some relics from excavation of Iron and Bronze Age barrows. Many of these showed exceptional craftsmanship and artistry.

In the next few days we will be working our way back to Reading to rejoin the Thames.

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