Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Dusting down alternative escape plans

Arrived back to see that the flow was looking pretty good  and thinking that our escape plan might be in action next week.  But, but, but the informed word on the cut is that there are major silting problems at Woolhampton and other problems nearer Reading and opening that section, well it's not going to happen.

 For those not familiar with the K&A Woolhampton is .... well a bit tricky going towards Reading especially. Immediately after the lock a fast flowing section of river joins the stream from the right. This pushes you hard over to the bank on the left. Some 50 yards later you have to be back across on the right to get through a road swing bridge with a sharp angle to get to it.. At this time of year it's a bit of a white knuckle ride. So any additional problems  ...... I hope you get the message.

We know CRT are putting a new notice out on the Kintbury to Reading section this week but, as we still have the car and we were driving to/from Reading anyway, we decided to come back via Woolhamoton and  take a look.

Ouch. The silting IS really bad on the towpath (Rowbarge pub) side and going into the middle of the channel. Really bad. This would, for sure, stop traffic from going up towards Newbury as it's their line of travel and where they would moor before the lock. It's hard to see across to the far, non towpath, bank, but it looked  as if it might just be possible. Hands up anyone who thinks a 'just might be possible' is going to have that bit of river opened? I thought not.

To be honest, We were surprised that the lock gates weren't padlocked.  'Our' section of the K&A has been shut since 23 December but when did that stop traffic? A single hander and a work boat went down towards Thatcham last week.  Did they get through Woolhampton???

So, hope is not really springing, and it IS looking as if our options are going to be:

A. Sit here until we CAN get safely to Reading
B.  Leave and turn right and potter the K&A until we can etc etc
C.  Leave, turn right, go to Bristol, go up the Severn Estuary and onto the G&S at Sharpness and      
      make our way east from there.

There is an fourth way, known as the nuclear option, which is to have QISMA craned out and transported to the Fens at a cost of £2K+. You will see why it's not on the list.

Hmmmm,.  We do love the G&S. Alistair has always wanted to go up the Severn Estuary,. I'm seeing Curtis Stigers at Cheltenham Jazz Festival on 5 May.   Hmmmmmm.

Decision after the next CRT notice.