An unassuming narrowboat perusing the
"Longest Friendliest Village in England".



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Posted by PentargonSpringer on August 26, 2017 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Arrived at Newbury from Kiltbury about 10am on Sat.26th. negotiated the swingbridge with help and tied up to get my bearings with Pentargon starboard to in a 24hr slot on a ring above the town lock.  A passing boat told me 14days was available just east of town by the marina. Since the lock gate was still open on his lift, I swung on the mooring, entered and grabbed the lock, to be dropped down by the crew of a charity boat just about to come up. In short order, Pentargon was set into a 14day slot opposite the marina, boat housekeeping was completed, the bike was brought out to get me to the library about 12am where I updated the BLOG for the next hour or so (and walked off without my wallets which luckily I retrieved later).

It being a bank holiday the show is in town and five trader boats are in situ, including the coffee boat which I last met at Alvecote. No.1 bus departs for Reading every 30mins so I was on the 1525. What a boring 90mins to arrive in Reading, where I found a Natwest bank at 1651!. I came back on the train for £4.50 and 15minutes. arriving about 6pm. Off to Waitrose which is a wee bit out of town and had my few groceries by 7pm.

Down to the station to suss out trains to London for the following day. Because of the Reading Festival and possible Bank Holiday travel mayhem, it was considered prudent to get a train out of Newbury on Sunday morning 27th at 1030 which took just over an hour to Paddo. Interconnecting with H&C almost seamlessly, bike and all, I arrived at Upm 1250. Having to wait almost 25mins for a 370 meant I finally arrived home at The Stone Frigate just before 2pm. Call it 4hrs door to door with the Strida playing an active part. 

Wiltshire to Berkshire via Kiltbury

Posted by PentargonSpringer on August 26, 2017 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Marshalls Bread in a plastic bag and a sticky bun in a paper bag "because it's the law". There has to be a story here. You got it. I'm working on it. In Teddington Library at 1303 on 5th September. on a day out lock-wheeling forward

The Leaving of Wiltshire and the White Horse

Posted by PentargonSpringer on August 26, 2017 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Bishops Canning overnight 23rd ... GPS ... N51º22'24.5" x W01º56'19.6"

I was escorted up the six lead-in locks to Crofton top of navigation by a very helpful volunteer lockie who chained and locked each gate as I passed through. He had been advised ahead by the lockie who was doing the same job at the other end of the pound and had expected me to appear at 3pm which I did. It took an hour to get to The Crifton Beam and ringed moorings.

Here I expected to languish til 10oc in the morning. Severe water shortage all Summer meant transit was restricted to between 10am and 3pm. However, a little lock-wheeling never goes amiss so ... on checking L65? it was found be to unlocked. Next morning before 6.30am it was turned and Pentargon escaped. Two hours later we arrived at Lock xx to find a broken paddle. which was also part open and a huge vulval leak on the bottom gate. The Spanish Windlass was invoked and passage was achieved, allowing Hungerford to be passed about midday ... WIP ...

24th August The Beam Engine and an unlocked gate and a 6.30 start and ...

The Leaving of Devizes

Posted by PentargonSpringer on August 26, 2017 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Lay-over of three days to go home for therapy and TLC and rest and organise Credit Union to pay for my wintering. I want to take the prop off over the winter and also tidy up thwe whole boat so I'm looking for cheap moorings that dry out. 

Caen to Devizes

Posted by PentargonSpringer on August 26, 2017 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

19th August 2017.The final push from the Black Horse Pub to Wadworth Brewery. (ON51 caen)

When the boat is lying at the lock landing above the top lock in Devizes, it is exactly on the 2nd meridian west of Greenwich. Once there was a time when I could use trigonometry to tell you exactly how far i was from Greenwich observatory by using the tan of the angle 51º21'10.7" but nowadays I could not be arsed and anyway by GPS array could do it for me. The meridian conveniently passes through the Brewery front door.

The boat itself was moored at N51º21'10.7" and W02º00'31.0"

Climbing Caen without Carabiners

Posted by PentargonSpringer on August 26, 2017 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Bath to Devizes

Posted by PentargonSpringer on August 19, 2017 at 4:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Have I said Bath is the most beautiful English city I've ever been in? After almost three days at sea including a mud mooring overnight at Portishead on Sunday night and a mud baptism at Harwood pontoon on Monday morning while waiting to get into Bristol Harbour, I needed a bath? Have you copped that you can have a bath in Bath at a price? And you get to soak for an hour and a half and it spirits away not only the grime but every last bit of energy left.

The time lost at Wolverton had to be clawed back, so it was onward to Bradford on Avon after the bath.  Bradford on Avon is up there among the most beautiful villages I've ever been to in England? I would loved to have stayed a week but time is racing on and August is half through.

Thursday I overnighted at Sells Green where I found the Three Magpies Pub on the A365 just yards from the cut. The Three Magpies supplied the nicest homemade dinner I have ever eaten outside my own home, my mother's home or my grandmother's home. This establishment has it down to a tee. Even the Three Horseshoes pie has serious competition from a restaurant where the food and the service is so good you don't even care how it's dents your flexible friend.

Replete and rested,  it was onwards (with minimal haste) to the next tent on my GPS. Lower Foxhangers Farm it's called and there is NO apostrophe in Foxhangers. I am well read in my Eating, Shooting and Leaving and know an apostrophe when it fails to put in an appearance. At this point I am beginning to shit myself.

Ahead of me in the morning are the six lead-in locks to the Caen Flight. All identical; each lifts 8'2". I hit them at 6am and it is nine oclock in the [bright sunny] morning when I emerge from Martinslade and see the staircase for the first time. I am running totally on empty. My candle is burned out and I am going to avail of 48hrs recuperation.

It is not funny carrying chronic ME as a passenger and it must be humoured.

Suddenly, life takes one of those turns. The word had travelled along the canal that there was a mad Irishman on a mad venture, doing a circuit of England solo and he was just arrived at the bottom of Caen Hill. Out of nowhere appeared FIVE volunteer lockies, who surrounded Pentargon and declared ...

"We'll escort you to the top of flight

landing you there in about two hours."

It was Friday 18th August 2017 and 10oc in the morning. I was going to be topside at mid-day. 

Later, I'll pad the story out

but suffice to say that at 1156,

we said our goodbyes

and I am eternaly grateful to volunteers

who give freely of their time

to help their lesser brethern

achieve improbable dreams.


Sandford to Bath

Posted by PentargonSpringer on August 16, 2017 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Kennet & Avon Canal Broad canal, 86 miles Bath to Newbury, 106 locks, 1 tunnel, at least 1 week to cruise. Locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal were built to take barges with maximum dimensions of 73 feet long by 13 feet 10 inches wide.

On paper it appears the K&A starts at Avonmouth, comes up the Avon gorge under the magnificent Isombard Brunel Cliftin Suspension Bridge, passes through Bristol towards Bath and continues eventually to Reading. The Avon Gorge is tidal for about 6mls and under the jurusdiction of Bristol VTS. At Harwood Pontoon (totally derelict!) control passes to the Bristol Harbourmaster and Bristol Council has authotiy over the navigation for some six miles and the first actual lock, where authority passes to C&RT.

None of this is clear from any publication I could lay hands on.   It seems obvious to me that no-one has ever before attempted this trip solo. Suffice to say I spoke on VHF with thge harbourmaster at 8.45am and he told me if i could hang around Harwood til about 10oc, he had a couple of boats going out and he would then get me in. I had left Portishead on the very first of the incoming tide at 7.30 and followed the tide up the Avon gorge on tickover as always. It was intriguing to see the tide pushing up the gorge on lone side while the river continued to flow out on the other.

WIP ... 30/8/[email protected] ...

Hang in there for the rest of the totally right way to get from Portishead to Bristol titally against written advice from, among others, Imray! ...

Bristol Bath via Sandford

Posted by PentargonSpringer on August 16, 2017 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

At last a pontoon dedicated to cleaning a boat

Re-entry of C&RT Waters

Posted by PentargonSpringer on August 16, 2017 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Nothing in Nicholasons or Imray on the subject. Nor anything on how to clean up yer boat after two days at sea