Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Kennet & Avon Canal and Avon River from Bradford-on-Avon to Bath & Bristol.

Friday 29th March: Launch at Bradford-on-Avon Marina where there is a suitable slipway plus storage for cars and trailers. Departing that afternoon down the canal for a distance of about 13 miles to Bath for overnight.
Saturday 30th March: morning free in Bath. Afternoon cruise 8 miles and 7 locks to Bristol for overnight.
Sunday 31st March: morning free in Bristol. Afternoon cruise back through Bath to overnight at Bathampton.
Monday 1st April: morning return to Bradford Marina for recovery and drive home.

Total distance about 42 miles. Cruising time according to recommended guide about 16 hours including locks.

Bill & Jean
Avocet 26Xbill.millar
Event Organiser

40 Comments

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Tenacity would like to do this trip (trailer refurbishment and engine servicing permitting). We might get there a day or two earlier to catch up with friends from my days when I lived in Bath. Liz

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Splendid, Liz, thanks for confirmation. Frank Higgins & Vicky are coming along too. Frank has been to Bradford launch site this week to check that all's well.

Bill

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Some more info:

Launch site: Bradford on Avon Marina, off A363 Trowbridge Road. Postcode BA15 1UD.
Marina Manager Jimmy Griggs (not always present); phone 07973 435177. It’s basically a narrowboat marina so facilities for Macs limited. Moorings may be on the canal if not in the marina.
Car & Trailer parking space available – principle already agreed with manager, but details and costs to be discussed a few days before launching, all dependent on numbers attending.
Frank Higgins very helpfully co-ordinating as necessary.

Licensing:
Short term Canal & Rivers Licence available from the CRT website, purchasing on line. One week licence costs £27.34 (increasing to £28.65 from 1st April). Probably best to wait till about 25th March before applying when dates are finalised. If purchased “on the water” cost is double. For boats not having a Boat Safety Certificate a “Boat Condition Declaration” is required but has to be submitted by post.
Licences are also available from the CRT Office at Devizes during normal office hours. It may be that I will go to Devizes on the Thursday afternoon and could perhaps purchase licences for several boats at the same time. Will advise further on this in due course.

Maps & Charts.
Canal & River Trust website http://www.canalrivertrust.org.uk. Select Canals & Rivers – Kennet & Avon – Download free guide to Bath & Surrounding area. Other info re K&A canal also available.
Useful map: Kennet & Avon Canal & River Avon. http://www.heronmaps.com
Interesting info: Bristol Floating Harbour. Google search to Wikipedia

Bill, Avocet 26X

quentin.sands's picture

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Hello Bill, I have my eye on this gathering. My intention would be to arrive from Yorkshire on Thursday 28th with my 26C, Mrs MacGregor - maybe one of my sons too. I have family and friends in Bath and I hope my wife will join us later in the weekend. Let me know if there is anything I need to do ahead of the meet. Do you need some contact details? It will probably be helpful to have a chat beforehand. I'd say I'm 75% on for this at the moment but the logistics are a bit complicated. Thanks. Quentin

Quentin Sands

Mrs MacGregor 26C

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Hello Quentin,

Good to hear that you hope to join the rally. Keep an eye on the website for updates, and we can certainly have a chat nearer the time - I have your contact details from the Membership list.

Kind regards
Bill

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Dear Bill we are planning to meet up with various family members in Bristol on the Sunday morning, sister, brother-in-law, various nieces and nephews and four great-nieces! We are planning to have lunch somewhere in the docks - with local knowledge to book somewhere nice - I don't know if anyone else would be interested in joining us? and the other question is time of departure back to Bathampton - if you have any idea at the moment?? Also, at some point while passing through Saltford (perhaps the Bath - Bristol leg) I would like to pause at the Jolly Sailor (which is where I spent many a Friday lunchtime when I worked at the nearby Wessex Water labs!)

We have got the map - and looked at the Boat Declaration for the Short Term licence but it's not clear about posting it and whether you need to post it with a licence application - I'll do more research later.

All this assuming that we get our refurbished trailer back in good time!

Liz

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Hello Liz,

Splendid to hear that you will be coming along - we now have 5 boats definitely joining and a couple more perhaps. Difficult to be very precise about timing - it depends on how we all feel and when want to get back and weather and........ Basically my old BW guide suggests that Bradford to Bath is 5hrs cruising and Bath to Bristol is 3 hours all including locks, etc. The are numerous intermediate possible moorings, some near pubs, some isolated so maybe we can make daily plans as we go along, albeit within an overall time schedule which is also up for discussion, but suggested to be from midday Friday to about 2pm Monday. I'm sure that your Sunday Lunch party can be fitted in - sounds fun!

Re licence - I'm happy to take Boat condition Forms and obtain licences at Devizes on the Thursday afternoon when the Office is open, if that helps.

Bill

quentin.sands's picture

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

I've gone from 75% to 90% on. Aim to arrive on the Thursday. My plan is to put Mrs MacGregor on the Ouse at York after the Easter w/e muster so I might require a longer river/canal license - 3 weeks? Looking forward to it. Quentin

Quentin Sands

Mrs MacGregor 26C

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Frank has discovered, and the CRT website confirms, that Hanham Lock, approx 4 miles from Bristol, has silted up after the recent floods. CRT does not have the necessary equipment to clear it so the lock is closed and impassable till further notice. We will not therefore be able to get to Bristol. However there are several possible moorings before that lock, some close to pubs if that what we want so there is still the chance of a pleasant cruise Bradford to Bath and then for about 10 miles further westwards from Bath and back again.
Disappointing not to get right to Bristol, but unfortunately can’t be helped. Sadly, no reduction in licence fee according to the CRT website!
There is also the possibility, as an alternative, to return from Bath and to cruise upstream from Bradford towards Devizes if that is considered preferable. Decisions on the day.

Bill

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Steve has kindly passed on the latest info re the K&A. The river Avon from Bath to Bristol is closed to navigation because of flooding - confirmed on the Waterscape website. Although the situation will be constantly reviewed, it appears unlikely that we will be able to go further west than Bath top lock. There should be mooring there with walking distance access to the city, but that's not quite the same as boating right through the attractive parts of the city that we had been looking forward to.

This is open for discussion, but it seems to me that there are two possible alternatives:

Plan A.

To proceed as far as Bath on Friday afternoon (easy journey with only 1 lock) and then next day, or whenever, cruise back past Bradford-on-Avon as far as we wish towards Devizes. The number of locks gradually increase until reaching the Caen Hill Flight of 16, all linked, which might be too much to do in both directions! Turn back to Bradford when we wish.

Plan B.

A one-way trip from Bradford to Pewsey. Go East from Bradford and together tackle the 36 locks up to Devizes. Having reached Devizes there is a long stretch of canal to Pewsey with virtually no locks. The slipway at Pewsey looks good on Google Earth, but will have to be checked. I can do that later this week.

One point to bear in mind is that the very popular Devizes to Westminster Canoe race starts at Devizes on Friday 29th so we should remain west of Devizes until after Friday.

Just for info, in case you haven't looked it up, distances, locks and approx cruising times (suggested by an old BW booklet) are:

Bradford to Bath top lock; 9 miles, 1 lock, 3 hours

Bradford to Devizes; 12 miles, 36 locks, 12 hours

Devizes to Pewsey; 12 miles, no locks, 3 hours

Ideas/Suggestions/Comments welcome.

quentin.sands's picture

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

This suggests we might be ok thro to Bristol - with caution

Stoppage: River Avon, Bath Bottom Lock 7 to Hanham Lock 1 Associated Regional Office: Kennet & Avon Waterways

UPDATE (19 March 2013): The navigation is now open from Bath to Saltford.
Please proceed with caution.

Quentin Sands

Mrs MacGregor 26C

quentin.sands's picture

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Actually, take that back, it doesn't say that Hanham Lock is open....

Quentin Sands

Mrs MacGregor 26C

quentin.sands's picture

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

I'm just going to turn up and follow the leader.

Quentin Sands

Mrs MacGregor 26C

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

It looks like the popular suggestion is to go to Bath and see what the situation is there. It may be that we can continue to Hanham – or perhaps we have to return back along the canal towards, but not as far as, Devizes.

Several boats including ourselves are planning to get to Bradford on Thursday. I will drive to the CRT Office in Devizes on Thursday afternoon leaving Bradford probably about 2.30pm to get my Licence. If anyone would like me to obtain their licence, please let me have the signed Boat Condition Declaration either in advance by post or at Bradford on the day by 2.30pm plus fee of £27.34 for a 26X, less for a Mac 19.

Post to me at:
Medlars Mead, Fairfield Road, Shawford, Winchester, SO21 2DA.

Bill, Avocet 26X

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Further to yesterday’s message re boat licences. As David R has helpfully pointed out it is easy to obtain a licence on line so I will NOT be visiting Devizes on Thursday. During the application if you click the question about Boat Declaration, the necessary form appears on the screen and the application can be completed and printed without problem.

Bill

quentin.sands's picture

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Hi Bill, I put a form and cheque in the post last night so just dispose of it when it arrives. I will be reviewing my situation this week; the weather is so poor up here without much prospect of a change that it makes me wonder whether the palava of taking the boat off the lake, de-rigging her, trailering down to Bath is going to be a rather bleak experience. I will keep my eye on the weather and try to remain positive. Quentin

Quentin Sands

Mrs MacGregor 26C

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Hi Bill, Quentin and others, sadly I too am now probably not going to take part in this rally. It was always a bit of a wrench for me to leave family behind at Easter but I wanted so much to explore this bit of canal having read about it and seen various points along the way including Bath where we have our son Grahm . However Graham is going to be fairly busy on other things and likewise our other son Matthew so I dont feel I can justify taking the boat away in poor weather if no family can /wish to join in . It is not that I wish to ignore my boating friends and I hope to have good times later in the year.

Roly

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Hi Quentin & Roly
Sorry to hear your news but quite understand. We shall press on and hope that all is well
Regards. Bill

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Yesterday we spent some time cleaning and preparing Avocet for the weekend, all in a sheltered spot out of the chilly wind. Although dressed for the occasion, within a couple of hours we had cold hands and feet and noted that ice was forming on the fore-deck – this at 4oclock in the afternoon.

Event Organisers are required by the Association to consider the weather forecast in their planning. I have looked at several forecasts for Thursday through to Monday and the most optimistic suggest little change with a maximum temperature of 7 degrees in day time; the most pessimistic indicates minus 6 degrees overnight. General agreement for mainly cloudy with little sun, possibility of snow flurries and a F2-5 Easterly is also expected much of the time, giving 3 or 4 degrees of wind-chill. At least half of the time we would be motoring directly into this wind.

We go boating for pleasure and now consider that there would be little pleasure in exposing ourselves to five days and four nights of such weather. I think that it might also be unwise and potentially hazardous. Therefore, with much regret, I suggest that the Easter cruise on the Kennet & Avon be postponed to a later date – recognising that this may be difficult to arrange – suggestions welcome.

Jean and I are very disappointed to pull out –i.e. not to put Avocet in !!

Bill

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

That's unfortunate Bill but sounds an eminently sensible approach!

We are working on plans to put Hera on the Thames just after Easter for a month or more - to be used as a base for being in touch with both of our daughters and our son and his family who are returning from Australia next week - and also to do a bit of cruising - weather permitting!

So we will keep in touch via this thread - if anyone is interested in a rendezvous either afloat or ashore do let us know.

Mike and Bobbie
07909 505 686

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

dear Bill and Jean, I am sure you have made the right decision. It is unseasoinally cold and as you say we sail/boat for pleasure not bravado. Lets hope and look fwd to a good season ahead.

Roly

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Dear Bill and Jean, we are so disappointed!! I was really looking forward to this trip - however, the weather seems to do whatever it wants these days. It's snowing outside now as I write and even with our new trailer axle and wheels and brakes we wouldn't have enjoyed the trailing much - not to mention the risk of the canal freezing over! We would like to thank you for all your work in organising the event and hope it won't go to waste and that we can try again sometime. If a weekend in the "summer" would not be too short - we could get down for around 8pm on a Friday evening and would have to haul out on the Sunday, or school holidays - the whit week is bagged by the Solent event but perhaps if the weather is still so horrendous that a sea cruise is blown out - the canal could be an option??!! Failing that - there's mid-August and October for us! (or next Easter)

The Healeys and Tenacity

P.S. I was just about the enter my card details on the canal website to buy a licence yesterday when an email arrived and I was too nosy to finish one job before looking at it - it was your email to suggest postponement! So I cancelled my licence buying at the very last stage, then received an email with the licence to display and a receipt telling me it had cost £0.00 !! so may be that's a tip for getting a free licence! (I will ring and tell them though)

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Dear Healeys and others,
sorry that it didnt work out. Hard to predict the weather.
Has anyone thought about the May Day bank holiday weekend?
I cant necessarily commit to that at present since we may have arranged to go to relatives, but its a thought !

Roly

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Thanks Roly, good idea.

4th,5th,6th May would suit us and the CRT website suggests that Hanham lock will be open by then, clearing the way to Bristol.

Any interest?

Bill

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

We are, in theory, interested. We have friends pencilled in for that weekend - just finding out if they can change!

Liz

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

We are now definitely up for the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. Frank has also expressed an interest!

Liz

quentin.sands's picture

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Hello, I will not be able to attend in May however I did take Mrs MacGregor (26C) off Windermere and yesterday put her in on the Yorkshire Ouse at Linton Lock Marina - above the Lock. Paul the Marina manager was very helpful and it's an interesting place - with a pub and a roaring fire too. Paul issued me with a river license and charged a reasnable rate for 2 weeks mooring. He said he'd had a Mac in last summer for a month or so. I put a short, broad rudder on Mrs M before launching (one that came with the boat) and I filled the ballast tanks. After a bit of a hiccup with the outboard (it would not tick over in neutral when I took the choke off and the throttle had little effect - ended up setting off with a balance of choke and throttle and then after a while the throttle took over fine - common problem?) then had a super little cruise up river to Aldwark. Hope to do more exploring in the next couple of weeks - up to Ripon, down to Naburn is the plan. Do other Mac owners use a river rudder? Do you always fill your ballast tanks on canals/rivers? Another quick question, how is the pop top on a 26c supposed to stay upright without a mast? I ended up cutting a piece of aluminium to make a mini mast - not pretty but highly effective and doubles as a back rest....I will try and upload some pictures....Q

Quentin Sands

Mrs MacGregor 26C

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Nice shots Quentin, sorry to hear you cant make an early May date.
If Bill and Jean and any others are still on then Ros and I would like to join in with Aranah. We may have to do evenng surgery and arrive late with early morning launch .
Bill, do you think we would go as far as Bristol on day one ,or is that too far?
Roly

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Hi Roly

The old BW handbook recommended to allow 8 hours from Bradford to Bristol so with a reasonably prompt start on Saturday morning we should be able to get there in one day in time for an evening out. With only three days we might have to start on the return on Sunday afternoon and stop overnight at Bath or somewhere suitable to allow for shorter day's travel on Monday.

Bill

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

yes, thats what I thought, longish day on Saturday with two shorter days to follow to allow time to explore.
Looking forward to it.
Liz is going to include it in the magazine as a Stop Pres item so may get a few more.

Roly

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

I see that there have been lots of views of this rally now planned for the bank holiday weekend of 4th/5th/6th May, most arriving and perhaps launching at Bradford on Friday 3rd.

It would be helpful to have confirmation of boats expected to attend, so if you would like to join us, then please let me know.

Boats currently expected include Aranah, Daydreamer, Tenacity & Avocet.

Bill
Avocet

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Aranah shall be coming......as will R & R
Looking forward to it. Have to work Friday morning so hope to get there not too late.
I didnt get as far as applying for the waterways licence before. I assume we just do the declaration saying " nothing to declare " wrt electrics and gas etc.

Hope others can join in , it should be fun.

roly

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Only a few days to go. Unlike Easter, weather forecast looking better and better. No lock or river flow problems for our planned cruise reported on the Waterscape website.

4 boats expected: Tenacity, Aranah, DayDreamer & Avocet . Jimmy Griggs, manager at Bradford Marina, confirms all ok for launching on Friday/Saturday and recovery on Monday, also car & trailer parking.

No advance arrangements for eating out or other social activities made since we don’t know how far or where we will get to in the time available. However it is probable that there are plenty of watering holes on the route.

Don’t forget to book your Licence on line before Friday and bring your insurance certificate.

Looking forward to meeting up at Bradford-on-Avon Marina, BA15 1UD. We hope to be there by about 1700hrs Friday.

Bill

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Help!
at the risk of sounding dim I must say I dont understand the on line application procedure . The exemptioon regs are a bit confusing with regard to the definition of an engine. Do I assume that we are considered not to have engines but outboard motors with non-fixed fuel systems ?
Can anyone advise me asap ?

Roly

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

also , whats the trick to allow application form to be written on? I have tried downloading it to my desk-top.
Roly

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Roly, I think you are on the wrong form. It's very confusing and I wasted some time trying to complete that form.
You need to go through the pages:
Boating - Licensing - choosing & buying (NOT Application Forms) - Short term Visitors License - then go down the text to find "Via the Internet".
This leads to "start Your application" From there on it's straight-forward.
Bill

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

got all signed but then DISASTER !!!!

the clutch on my lovely , and fairly new , Kia Sorrento has burnt out !
so , unless I can find a car to borrow for the weekend Aranah shall not be coming !!!

I am devastated. Not just at missing the event but at the cost of a new clutch .

wishing you all a lovely time.
Roly and Ros

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

So sorry to hear your news, Roly & Ros. Really bad luck at the last moment and costly as well but hope that you can get everything sorted in time for Chichester at the end of the month. Will miss you both on the K&A, hopefully in the sunshine.

Best wishes

Bill & Jean

Re: Easter on the Kennet & Avon

Have now cleaned the boat - or rather - tried to clean the boat, I think that Kennet & Avon Canal water was the dirtiest that Tenacity has ever been in!

Many thanks to Bill and Jean for their organising and also to Frank for carrying out his duties as Social Secretary so diligently. Looking forward to seeing everyone's photos. Who's got the front cover??!

Liz