Friday, 24 October 2014

End of september - towards Bath

All was well at the house and I bring my car back to the marina on the 24th.  The lovely late summer weather continues and I enjoy sunset in the marina sitting out on the back deck.

My mooring viewed from the bridge, looking to the bottom lock
I set out in very pleasant weather on the 26th and spend 3 nights in the bottom pound of the Seend flight.

Looking back from Seend bottom lock, mooring on the left.

I have arranged to meet up with a few people from the Livingonanarrowboat forum - Mike, his wife Ellen and friend Marion, all from Canada from the hotel boat Wessex Rose, Tim & Jo from NB Albion and Norman from NB Teal.  A very pleasant evening and excellent food at the Somerset Arms in Semmington - unfortunately no-one took any photos!  It is a 24 hour mooring so I set off for Bradford-On-Avon on the 30th.

For once the heron did not take flight!
I had intended to moor at Bradford but the visitor moorings are pretty full so I continue and am pleasantly surprised to see a lock-keeper and volunteers at Bradford lock.

At over 10 ft deep it would not be a problem to work on my own but avoiding climbing down the ladder is always a bonus!
The lock landing stage, below the lock and next to the Lock Inn Cafe which serves a "Boatman's Breakfast", which I had hoped to partake off - unfortunately not this time!
Almost like a miniature Bath, Bradford was a prosperous weaving centre and at one time had no less than 30 water-powered cloth factories.
I soon reach the Avoncliffe Aqueduct, built by John Rennie in 1801 and taking the canal over the river.  It is 110m long and 10.4m wide and, as part of the restoration of the canal, the aqueduct was lined with a concrete "cradle" and made water-tight in 1980.
Looking back across the aqueduct

View of the river from the aqueduct
My mooring at Dundas Wharf - 48hr mooring is available at both ends

A long wooded section follows, with the canal following the river along the side of the valley, before arriving at the Dundas aqueduct (named after the first chairman of the K&A) to re-cross the Avon and the railway, which is a constant companion from Bradford to Bath.

Completed in 1804 the aqueduct, by Rennie again, it is 137m long, Grade 1 listed and a scheduled ancient monument.  Over many years leaks had developed and it was closed in 1954. For a while in the 1960s and 1970s, the canal was dry and it was possible to walk along the bed on each side of the river as well as through the aqueduct itself. The aqueduct was relined, with polythene and concrete and restored, reopening in 1984

The Somerset Coal Canal adds a delightful distraction.  Originally a very profitable canal, providing a means of transport for the coal from the Somerset mines, and feeding traffic to the Kennet & Avon and Wilts & Berks canals from 1805.  Only a very small portion of it now remains in water, at its junction with the Kennet & Avon Canal, where it is used as private moorings.  It incorporates a cafe/restaurant and several pleasant walks.  It remained very profitable until the arrival of the railways in the late 19th century.


Tonnage rates on the Somerset Coal Canal in 1805
Cargo Rate
For all Coal, Coke, &c 2½d per Ton, per Mile.
For all Iron, Lead, Ores, Cinders, &c 4d ditto. ditto.
For all Stones, Tiles, Bricks, Slate, Timber, &c 3d ditto. ditto.
For all Cattle, Sheep, Swine and other Beasts 4d ditto. ditto.
For all other Goods 4d ditto. ditto.
For every Horse or Ass Travelling on the Railway 1d each.
For every Cow or other Neat Cattle ditto ½d ditto. ditto.
For Sheep, Swine and Calves ditto 5d per Score.

The canal is currently being restored and it is hoped it may one day be fully re-opened.

Continuation of the K&A towards Bath and where I will be heading

To 30 September

TOTAL:  638 miles; 371 locks (132 broad; 37 large; 36 moveable bridges)

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