A lovely bright sunny morning so we were up and off by 7.30am enjoying a leisurely cruise along the Pewsey Valley. We think this is the nicest part of the K & A with its glorious views over the surrounding hills and White Horses etched in chalk on their sides. It is also a lock free 15 mile stretch of canal with only the odd swing bridge to interrupt your cruise.
As we leave Devizes we pass this magnificent show of daffodils and model narrowboat which someone on the adjacent allotments has carefully tended to welcome boaters to the town.
Soon out into the countryside we pass under Lady’s Bridge and enter Wide Waters, an attempt to make the canal seem like a lake, rather like Tixell Wide on the S & W canal but not quite so large.
As we negotiated Wilcot we again spied the pole lathe (without the pole) but this time it was being worked and the gentleman told us he was making a Beech Bowl.
The lovely wooded areas of the Pewsey valley.
Just outside Pewesey Wharf contractors are carrying out dredging work on behalf of C&RT and were very quick to move the equipment out of our way as soon as they saw us approach. They seem to be making a very good job of the dredging and rebuilding the banks and towpath.
June took a turn at the helm and Phoenix kept her company whilst I made a coffee and charged the computers. We were buzzed a couple of times by the local Police helicopter no doubt keeping an eye on the canal after a spat of thefts over the last few months.
As we reached Wootton Rivers Bottom Lock we came upon a lady being trained in locking single handed by a training company and had to wait a while for her to come down the lock as she learnt the correct technique. She had just bought her boat and sought professional advice before embarking on her cruising.
Whilst waiting I spotted this Grey Wagtial on the bye-wash preening itself.
There is a real mixture of boats on this section of canal and here are a few examples, the first has all sorts of plants aboard, the second is a tiny wooden vessel and the third is a Dutch Tjalk which I saw in this months Towpath Talk for sale at £67,000.
Once we had moored up above Heathey Close Lock on one of the few stretches of Armco I walked back to the village of Wootton Rivers composed almost entirely of timber framed and thatched houses. The pub, The Royal Oak, is a free house and on Tuesday nights has a pie night for £6 per head.
St Andrews Church in the village is somewhat unusual as if you look closely at the clock tower you can see that one face has numbers and the other letters which spell out “GLORY BE TO GOD”. Inside the mechanism is equally eccentric being assembled from a bizarre collection of cast-off agricultural implements.
Wootton Rivers is obviously a wealthy village with many Porche and Audi cars adorning the driveways as well as some impressive gate posts.
Even Phoenix had a gatepost named after her.