Saturday, 4 May 2013

And so to Newbury - Saturday 4th May 2013

First we moved up to the Services block and filled with water whilst having a pump out and then made our way on towards Kintbury. With the trees bursting out in green and Kingfishers flying in front of us the canal has taken on a different and delightful image.
C Locks
A short way out of Hungerford we met an Twitcher on the towpath with his binoculars to his eyes and he pointed out a Sandpiper and told us that there was breeding pair in the area. I was not fast enough to get a good picture but this is the bird we saw.
e sandpiper
As we entered the outskirts of Kintbury and were slowing down for the moored boats before the bridge we spotted a Muntjac watching us as we glided by. Usually they are off so quickly you are lucky to get a shot but he seemed quite unconcerned until we were right on him.
d Muntjac
The dominant feature as you enter Kintbury is the Victorian Gothic Vicarage with its lovely gardens stretching down to the the canal.2 Vicarage
Immediately below Kintbury Lock we passed the Dundas Arms a lovely pub which over looks the lock and the Horse Drawn trip boat mooring.
3 Dundas Arms Kintbury
At Higg’s Lock we had to wait a while as three boats came up, I think everybody on the narrowboats was on tenter hooks as the plastic boat was wedged in by them with only inches to spare, but the owner seemed quite unconcerned. Luckily there is only one paddle working on the top gates so the water came in gently and so the boats were reasonably stable. The narowboat owners were not looking forward to the next few locks however.
A Threes a Crowd
As we went down the lock so another two boats went in and other boats were coming up the canal, this is the busiest we have seen the canal and it must be because it is the bank holiday weekend and boats were coming out of Newbury Marina.
Soon we were approaching Newbury and wondered whether we would find a mooring. Luck was on our side and we were able to moor on the 24hr mooring we had used on the way up. No sooner had we moored than several other boats arrived from down stream looking for a mooring and the canal was busy all afternoon.
6 entrance to Newbury
On North Croft Park on the other side of the river to our mooring there are lots of tents and Hockey matches going on. It is the three day Newbury Hockey Tour with about 15 teams from the area taking part, both men and ladies teams. Those not playing were enjoying themselves in the encampments.
North Croft dates back to Anglo Saxon times and was where Newbury people were allowed to graze their animals until the 1950 when it was turned into a sports area. Competitors in the annual Devizes to Westminster canoe race camp here en-route. The river between North Croft and the town centre is magnet for novice canoeists  as the river here is one of the fastest flowing in the region.
B Hockey Festival
Later in the afternoon Nb Tacet passed us looking for a mooring, waving as they went by. Just before dinner Ian and Karen walked back up with Jumble to see how June was coping with the locks and we had a nice chat before they returned to their boat.

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