Monday, 7 June 2010

Kennet & Avon 200 Year Anniversary Celebrations at Great Bedwyn

On Saturday June 5th Great Bedwyn haeld a celebration ceremony to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the opening of the canal. The 'Rose of Hungerford' arrived with various 'dignitaries', the K&A Trust were well represented and the canal users and villagers came of offer their support.
The celebration culminated with fellow canal enthusiasts Timothy West & Prunella Scales unveiling a celebratory plaque which will be mounted for all to see.

Timothy West giving his unveiling speech.
Prunella joining in with the applause.

And here is the plaque, now unveiled. All we now need is somewhere to permanently mount it, so that all can read and enjoy it. The information on the plaque is similar to other tourist information boards and shows local walks, items of interest around the canal at Great Bedwyn and shows some of the flora and fauna to look out for.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Ratty and friends

Wildlife is abundant along our wonderful canal system. We have enjoyed watching the little black bundles of fluff that are Moorhen chicks. We have watched mother duck herding her brood together and getting them to paddle in one direction with her continuous quiet chatter.
Kingfishers are an occasional treat. We can usually work out where their fishing perches are, so if a photographer wanted to 'stake-out' a kingfisher, I am sure we could help.
Water voles are stated to be our most endangered mammal and indeed we do not normally see them, so it came as a pleasant surprise that, whilst duck watching, we saw movement on the far bank immediately opposite our mooring. It was 'Ratty' & 'Mrs Ratty' busying themselves along the bank, through the vegetation, with occasional trips into the water. Regrettably too far away for a photograph.
Later in the evening we went for a walk around 'Freeman's Marsh' and were delighted to see another water vole sat on the abundant floating water weed. Three within an hour and within half a mile!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Spring Bank Holiday long weekend

It was great to get away for the long weekend, the weather was variable, some rain, drizzle and some sunshine. Typical Bank holiday weekend weather actually.
We left Great Bedwyn on Saturday morning and made our way towards Hungerford. In the end the rain beat us and we stopped before Froxfield bottom lock for the night. It continued to rain well into the night.
Sunday was a better day. We moved on to Hungerford and stopped just beyond the town. Alison & I went back to town for shopping, then we moved on to Kintbury. We moored along the visitor moorings and enjoyed a warm sunny evening. I went for a short walk around the village and along the canal.
The television decided it was time to die, just as 'Lewis' was about to start, so there would be no more televison this holiday.
Monday we moved on towards Hamstead. I wanted to see what effect there would be when the Kennet joined and left the canal. The river was very calm but the effect could be felt. At least we would know what to expect if the river was in spate. After Hamstead lock, we turned round and made our way back to Hungerford, stopping near the Church for the night.
Tuesday was wet again. It started with drizzle and did not really clear up all day. Upon leaving Hungerford, the first lock is Cobbler's Lock, we had just got through when Alison missed her footing and fell into the canal from the boat. Judy and I were finishing off the closing of gates/raising of paddles when Judy heard the cry for help.
Alison was stepping ashore with the mid line to hold the boat whilst we finished off, she mis-judged the distance and slid into the canal, still holding on to the rope. With the added weight of the water she was unable to climb aboard the boat that had drifted well out of our reach. She held on to the rope and eventually found enough of the length to throw the line to me. We pulled the boat towards the bank, with Alison still holding on to the rope. As soon as she was close enough, we were able to haul her out of the water. As there was nobody about, she took off most of her wet outer garments and went below. There was plenty of hot water to wash with and soon, in dry clothing we were on our way again.
We had a realtively uneventful journey to Great Bedwyn.
Wednesday, because we were going home, was a glorious day. We stayed as late as we could and enjoyed the sunshine.