Kennet and Avon Canal and River Thames Holiday

30 August to 6 September 2014

Having explored much of the western and central part of the Kennet and Avon Canal in 2012, this year we returned to complete the eastern section, plus do a little exploration of the River Thames.

On Sunday morning we reach the strange Monkey Marsh Lock. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument being one of only two surviving "turf-sided" locks (though it is more general vegetation than turf). The water spills sideways a long way when the lock is full, hence the barriers to keep the boats in the middle. This was the original style of lock on the Kennet, but most were eventually rebuilt in brick or stone.

With Mary at the tiller, Lucy holds our boat in to the side with the middle rope.

Continuing west along the canal

Newbury Bridge with Newbury Lock beyond.

Opening West Mills Swing Bridge in Newbury

Some of the gates on this canal are a bit heavy, and here it is taking three people to close this one at Aldermaston Lock as we make our way back down the canal towards the Thames, having joined up with the section we'd previously visited at Hungerford

Lock 100, Sulhamstead Lock

More scalloped edges

After an overnight stay above Fobney Lock on the edge of town, we are now heading through the very shallow County Lock into the centre of Reading

The relatively fast-moving water through the centre is controlled by traffic lights so there should be no-one coming the other way

Safely through the awkward bit we moor below Duke Street Bridge to do a bit of shopping

Then we head out onto the Thames and upriver through Caversham Lock

Above Gatehampton Railway Bridge

We moored just above Wallingford Bridge and walked around Wallingford and then Crowmarsh Gifford.

Next day we pass through Reading again, here looking at the mouth of the River Kennet as we continue downriver.

We stopped for the night at Sonning, where at least one of the locals has a sense of humour.

Next day going back upriver, we pass through Sonning Bridge

On the Kennet and Avon, Sarah winds the delightfully easy paddle gear on Blake's Lock

County Lock and its very shallow weir

Queuing below Fobney Lock isn't terribly easy as there is mooring for just one boat so we lurked in mid-river, using occasional engine against the current. The swans and cygnets jump the queue.

Approaching Ufton Swing Bridge

The crew on the last morning


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson