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CribBlog April 27 . Reading to Aldermaston Wharf on the Kennet and Avon canal

Wanted to move on quickly from Reading as I was not very happy with the spot on Blake's Wharf and because the leak in the fuel tank was getting worse. When I left Calcutt boats last summer I noticed that sometimes oil could be seen coming out of the starboard gas locker vent. At first I thought that canal oil was washing in and then out but kept an eye on it. Rattling and vibrating down the Thames definately made it worse so realised that I had a problem. So wanted to move on to find a boatyard able to do the repairs.

Moored in Reading at Blake's Wharf

The bow and island with fisherperson statue

The passage through Reading town centre is one way and controlled by a traffic light. To obtain permission to procede, one has to press a button on the lamppost itself. There are mooring bollards before the lamp but nowhere to walk. As I was single handing and it was very windy, this became a rather complicated operation. Decided that I would run the bows past the lamp and hold on as best I could with what little overlap that then gave me with the bollards in the stern. Even then I could not reach the button and the wind had other ideas and I was swept away. Finally managed it on my second attempt and was rewarded with a RED light and 15 minutes later a narrow boat appeared travelling at an angle to the stream which then struck the wall on their port side before recovering and disappearing from view. I could see why a traffic light system was needed. It was much easier for me passing upstream of course but the river is very narrow and winding here as lots of it has been appropriated by commercial operations in the town.

Soon on to County Lock, Relieved to find easy lock mooring bollards well away from the stream over the weir.

A better account than mine of the navigation from Reading to Garston Lock can be found in this link. Garston Lock is turf sided and was another puzzle for the timid single hander. Normally, I either tow the boat into the lock by hand or climb out on one of the lock ladders to operate the lock. I'm afraid the prospect of wobbling along that rusty gantry in the middle of the lock convinced to lurk at the back and use the tail ladder instead. One interesting discovery was what I think was otter spraint on the turf side of this lock.

Lock 106, County Lock .

Fobney Lock and fierce bywash.

Turf sided Garston Lock with pill box.

Rusty gantry.

Pill box at the tail end of Garston Lock.

Cribbit waiting below Garston Lock.

Approaching Sheffield Lock .

Moored for the night above Theale Bridge.

Moored at Almermaston Wharf boatyard moorings.

They have drained the fuel tank and fixed a boom to contain any leaking oil


Aldermaston Wharf

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