That we have left the River Kennett far behind us on our way westwards towards Bristol, is now plainly obvious. There is no wild current anymore and ‘Futurest’ struggles to make any way even in the centre of the sluggish waterway. Here beyond Honeystreet this so called wide beam canal with rushes encroaching from both sides is hardly wide enough on occasions for the passage of a single narrow boat and finding a mooring at the end of a day’s cruise is very difficult as well as hazardous on occasions.
The Red Kite (not quite the usual silhouette)
For the amount of traffic using the Kennett and Avon Canal the allotted visitor moorings, though very well maintained are probably not sufficient in number anyway.
But notwithstanding this, many of these are still filled by occupants who believe that ‘24 hours’ entitles them to 24 years. Furthermore, to add to the vexation of the genuine occasional visitor, many of the allotted spaces still available to him as he approaches with glee and gratitude at the end of a long day aren’t, because a paper notice pinned up on a board that has been stuck in the ground in front of the 24 hour sign tells him that the mooring has been reserved for certain boats, which only in fact use them occasionally when the vessels are on charter. So valuable moorings are left unused at night because of the possibility of a visit by the said boat.
If these boats cannot arrange special moorings with the authorities and so must use the limited ones of the bona fide visitor, why can’t a representative of said organisation come along the night before they are due to arrive to post the notice then and remove it when they leave?
The lack of visitor moorings along the River Kennett was less of a challenge since I could easily manoeuvre ‘Futurest’, with her after draft of thirty three inches, alongside at virtually any place I wished, the flowing river having eroded the sides to the vertical. It was then a challenge only to drive the mooring rope pins firmly into the ground, even though wrestling with the foliage alongside could be adventurous sometimes.
Janis and I both enjoy our country moorings and this part of Wiltshire is absolutely glorious but unfortunately I cannot get close enough to the bank to even safely jump ashore with a line anywhere fore or aft. So it means us having to breast up with ‘Roots and Wings’, with a draft of only eighteen inches, mooring on the inside. Even she has to use her long plank for us to safely get ashore. Two thirds of our whole cruising day yesterday was spent trying to find a decent enough mooring at the end of it. We dithered about furiously, trying this spot and then that, not letting anything pass us that might possibly be a mooring.
We nearly made it at one point just before All Cannings, with first me trying to get alongside unsuccessfully and then Janis. We tried very hard and almost made it with the very generous help of Tony who lived on board nb ‘Holderness’ moored nearby.
It was good to discover that he was at one time in the Merchant Navy and so refreshing to hear him refer to the boats in the old tongue i.e. Bow and Stern instead of Front and Back and that he would venture ‘Fore and Aft’ to get there. When he took my ‘Bowline’ from me he ‘took a turn’ around the pin instead of ‘tying it to the pin’. Honestly it was all lovely stuff. I’ll bet he has aboard ‘Holderness’ a Forepeak Locker and as well as a deck, I expect he has bulkheads and a deckhead to keep him warm and dry. Many thanks for your help Tony and happy sailing.
Nevertheless yesterday was a beautiful day and in spite of the negative sounding vibes above, Janis and I were happy with the day’s adventure and grateful for the beautiful evening, relaxing with our gins and tonics on the after deck of ‘Roots and Wings’, whilst watching the Sunset and the little brown birds come into roost, a flock of busy and very gymnastic Long Tailed Tits in particular.
Our Mooring near Allington Swing Bridge
Through the After Hatch
At the setting of the Sun
Long Tailed Tit with the evening Sun on his breast