Saturday, 14 October 2017

Pewsey to Wootton Rivers on the Kennet and Avon

Up later than we planned, we didn't get going till about 10am.

George turned into a nervous wreck as soon as we started the engine and got underfoot as we prepared to leave, only relaxing when he realised that he and I would we walking the towpath once more while Michael steered the boat. It is only 3 or so miles to our destination. A quick goodbye to our neighbour on NB Luke and then slowly passed the long line of moored boats including the ex life raft boat that Michael got a little peek inside when George was having his early morning walk.

It's a mild October morning and the canal is covered with a sprinkling of leaves. On the tow path they rustle under foot as George and I walk along. George is behaving himself off lead, not venturing out of sight and resisting the urge to chase ducks on more than one occasion. We test his recall and he is back on the lead whenever we see another boat approaching or get too close to a road.

At a little fence he becomes very excited and when I approach I can see why there is a lost tennis ball just the other side and as much as he stretches he's paws underneath he is far from reaching it. I walk on, but his distress is heart breaching so together we hatch a plan. I move the fence just wide enough that he can squeeze through, he grabs the ball between his teeth and is back on the towpath before anyone has seen our mischief. Not a thought for the pooch that lost the ball in the first place. George is very happy with his towpath treasure and immediately drops it at my feet to throw. I oblige but my aim is a bit off and so it bounces straight in the canal. Without missing a beat George is straight in to retrieve it before clambering back up the bank to place it at my feet again.
The towpath is an exciting place when you are a dog. George disappears down a bank on the other side of the towpath and then emerges a few seconds later black from the thighs down! Oh George! Usually we can't keep him out of the canal but now he is covered in much and in need of a bath he refuses to jump in the canal to wash off.

We walk ahead, our pace much faster than Michael who is reduced to tick over past all the moored boats along this stretch. We reach lock 51 and the moorings below the lock are all for 'permit holder only' so we cross the road to find the visitor moorings above the lock are all free. They are only 1 Day moorings but that is all we need so I call Michael to tell him we are going up the lock and as our very good luck would have it, there is a boat on the lock landing waiting to go up, its skipper has just emptied the lock in preparation and is making use of the waste facilities. He is a single hander so I open the gates for him and we then wait a few minutes for Michael to join him in the lock.

A gongoozler visiting  from Kent stops  to chat and tell the tale of the time he hired a narrow boat and nearly lost his head when he popped up from below deck just as they were going under a low bridge. I keep saying it, narrow-boating is dangerous!

Once mored we make use of the tap below the lock to hose down George. He is not happy about this but as he has repeatedly refused to go anywhere near the Bath he doesn't have much choice.

A little explore round the village which is full of thatched wooden framed cottages and then a late lunch of home made soup and an afternoon nap.

In the evening we meet up with our friends on NB Let It Be, how have arrived at the moorings from the other direction. We first met them way back in June on the Basingstoke canal and we have passed each other a few times since. We visit the pub in Wootton Rivers and then back to their boat for some Moussaka and wine. A really lovely evening and so nice to be able to park our home next to theirs so we only have a short walk back to bed.