True to their word C&RT turned up at 9am ready to sort out the lift bridge and after going through a short learning curve as neither Luke (C&RT) or the contractor had seen this type of bridge before, they got it working and were able let the two hire boats down from the lock mouth and then we powered our way upstream and into the waiting lock. I must say it was not as terrifying as I had been lead to believe and although there was a strong stream the boat coped with it easily.
I was too busy to take photos so why not check them out on the Nb Chance Blog
A big thank you must go to Alaister and his team, and Luke, from C&RT, for their help and advice in getting us through Reading and Woolhampton safely and with the utmost courtesy.
We motored on towards Thatcham and spotted this swan nesting, in not one of the best places to bring up your young.
The approach to Thatcham town.
It seems most strange to be one minute moving in the River Kennet and the next with it below and running side by side with the canal.
We spotted some interesting craft on this stretch of the journey and in particular a work boat with a raft made up of linked plastic boxes used as a working platform and carrying space for the piling.
With Nb Chance leading we approach Newbury. Our original intention had been to go only as far as Thatcham but we then decided that we would go on to Newbury and ensure that we were through the narrows before the forecast overnight rain came.
Negotiating the narrows in the centre of Newbury where the flow through the old bridge was so strong that I had to really open up the throttle to avoid just standing still. Although there is a strong current from the right just before the lock it has another current from the left which helps to balance the effect and I did not find it as difficult as I had been lead to believe. Going down stream is a little faster however and later in the afternoon Phoenix and I watched a boat shoot down the stretch at a great rate of knots.
We moored up on the visitor moorings just above the lock and enjoyed a relaxed afternoon avoiding the rain.