|The tree-lined charms of the K&A|
We had been viewing a trip down the Kennet & Avon with some suspicion after hearing tales of shallow sections, difficult locks, lines of permanent moorers and so on. But so far it's been an absolute delight: sleepy, rural, tree lined and surprisingly free of boats, moored or moving. And especially free of those big plastics from the Thames.
First sight of the K&A however did ring a few alarm bells. Its junction with the Thames in Reading is marked by the all too familiar and sorry canal hallmarks of graffiti daubed signs, litter and hippy boaters – one of whom 'entertained' those of us moored by the riverside Tesco with 3 a.m. drunken boating about, shouting, shrieking and falling in. Other parts of riverside Reading have their appeal but this is an especially charmless spot and worth avoiding except for shop-stops.
|Boating through the Oracle|
|Sorry, Mrs B I'm afraid mooring is not allowed - even there|
The locks though are, in a word, bizarre. Designed by the Edgar Allen Poe of the lock business: all strange lengths, odd widths and depths, with a motley assortment of paddle gear scrounged from the leftovers sheds of other canal companies.
|And full. Well, it's certainly different!|
|And Sheffield Lock with its wibbly wobbly walls|
What surprises will today's locks bring?