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  • clivenmel

April 25th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Friday April 24th � we left Bradford on Avon around 10.15 after breakfast.  We cruised past the Tithe Barn � it really is a big place!  Once again it was a beautiful warm sunny day and it was very pleasant cruising along in the sunshine.    A short while after leaving Bradford we arrived at the Avoncliff aqueduct. The unfortunate thing about crossing an aqueduct is that you can�t see the structure itself, which is a shame as they are usually quite spectacular.  This one was designed by John Rennie and even from our aspect looked quite grand with its lovely stone balustrades.  We actually wanted to moor up here as it was so pretty and there was a lovely little pub just below the aqueduct called The Cross Guns, however we just couldn�t get the boat into the side at all, we tried several times but it just grounded!   Soon after the aqueduct we entered the lovely Limpley Stoke Valley.  The canal was sort of perched half way up a cliff side with the railway down in the bottom of the valley, along with the River Avon on our left and quite steep banks full of trees on our right.  We also passed a couple of gorgeous cottages perched on this cliff side, one of which was for sale!  No we aren�t ready to settle down quite yet!   Looking at this photo you can see how the houses in Limpley Stoke seem to cling to the hillside above the valley.  The canal book informs us that this stretch of the canal from the Avoncliffe Aqueduct to Limpley Stoke became known as the �dry section� as it was extremely prone to leakage and landslips.  The canal bed now has a layer of hardcore on a porous membrane, which is then covered by a layer of polythene sheeting and finally a bed of reinforced concrete.  Regardless of all this it is still difficult to get into the side to moor.  We finally managed it just above the village of Limpley Stoke but even so we were about a foot of the bank and it was still grounding somewhat.     Saturday April 25th � I didn�t sleep well last night.  It took me ages to get off to sleep in the first place and I kept waking in the night, Clive was also very restless.  When we finally woke up this morning we realised that the boat was tilting alarmingly and Clive almost rolled out of bed - seriously!  It was still quite early but Clive got up and dressed straight away and went up on deck to discover that the boat was actually beached!  Whether the water level had receded a little in the night we don�t know but whatever the reason the bows were quite stuck, however once the engine was on and Clive put it into reverse it soon pulled us loose and we were free floating again � what a relief!  There didn�t seem much point in re-mooring so we set off and I made a cup of tea and some breakfast and we had it up on deck as we were cruising.   It was lovely and sunny again this morning, however there was a cool breeze and we needed our fleeces on.   Not long after we left our mooring at Limpley Stoke we arrived at another aqueduct, also designed by John Rennie.  This one was at Dundas.  Again one can�t see the whole of the aqueduct from the boat so I have taken the liberty of pinching a photo off the internet again so that we can all see what it looks like.   There seemed to be a lot of boats around this morning � two had passed us before we even set off this morning and we ended up behind them, both going extremely slowly!  They got slower and slower and eventually we approached a swing bridge.  The first boat up in front stopped and one crew member got off to open the bridge and they let the second boat and us through before coming through themselves.  Then a little while further on we came to another swing bridge and this time the boat in front of us stopped and did the honours and let us through so we were in the lead at last and managed to go a bit faster.  Its not that we are in a rush or anything but some of these holiday boats go sooooooooooooo slowly that Clive struggles to steer the boat because the engine is barely ticking over and if the boat isn�t actually moving through the water, thus allowing water to flow over the rudder, it doesn�t work!    Within a few minutes we were approaching the little village of Bathhampton and it had suddenly become very dark and gloomy and the wind was really getting up � it was obviously going to rain, very soon!  We spotted some visitor moorings and pulled in sharply and got the boat tied up, just in the nick of time as the heavens opened!  It was very close, but we never felt a drop as we were already inside the boat, however several boats passed us over the next few minutes and the crews looked very bedraggled and miserable as they had been caught out!  One hire boat went past full of pink ribbons, balloons and L plates and lots of girls on board � we assumed it to be a hen party!  The four girls on the stern all had Tesco bags on their heads to protect their hair-do�s!  Very chic!   Within ten minutes the shower had passed and the sun was out again and we had chance to look around.  It is really lovely here and you will never guess what we found ourselves moored right next to���..a pub!  Honest, we didn�t know, we just grabbed the first mooring that was available!  It�s called The George and looks absolutely lovely, all covered in Clematis, its going to look even prettier in a week or two when the flowers open.  It is a very old inn as it predates the canal and is said to be haunted by the loser of the last legally fought duel in England!  We�ll let you know tomorrow if he pays us a visit!   Bathhampton was, until 1983, the site of Harbutt�s Plasticine factory!  Evidently William Harbutt invented the substance in 1897 and generations of children, including Clive and I, played with the stuff until its demise when Playdough took over the role!  There is also a rather nice church here and its claim to fame is that the first Governor of Australia�s New South Wales lies buried in the churchyard and evidently there is a small Australian Chapel inside the church.   So, although the rain has stopped, we have no desire to leave this pretty mooring flanked by flowering Cherry trees full of blossom, not to mention the pub, so Bath can wait until tomorrow!  It also happens to be a Grand Prix weekend and although the TV signal isn�t brilliant Clive is managing to watch the qualifying!  The good news is we have a 3G dongle signal � yippee!  

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