Despite yet another late night (for three-quarters of the crew), we weren't too late getting up and about and enjoyed a cooked breakfast before setting off for Bath. Having stayed not far from the city, our plan was to go to Pulteney Bridge on the River Avon, and moor just below the weir - I'd seen narrowboats here when on my hen weekend in Bath last August, and thought how cool it would be to stay there.
Prior to setting off we had a bit of a disaster with the toilet as it decided to go on strike and not flush. It wasn't showing a red light, but it'd been a week since we last pumped out, and having an extra two bodies on board we felt that maybe it was just overfull.
Boats moored outside the George Hotel were we drank last night
This looks like it might be one of the more controversial boats - though with it's red nose it doesn't look much different to Barry & Dickie this morning
So prior to dashing to Bath, we checked out the nearest pumpout at Bath Narrowboats. Having cleared the tank there was still no joy, but there was an engineer on hand who suggested the likelihood was a combination of low power and a full toilet overnight (sorry, don't wish to be too descriptive!) causing the blockage. His advice was to turn up the revs on the engine and then try flushing - hurrah! It did the trick! I wasn't totally convinced though, as I'd felt our 'macerator pumpout' loo had been making a bit of a strange noise for a while now, but hoped all would be well - especially as we had guests on board with another due on Friday evening.
Bath Narrowboats - our hopeful saviour
We worked easily through the Widecombe flight of locks on the outskirts of Bath. Locks 8 & 9 have been made into one deep lock, which at 19ft 5ins vies for the title of the deepest lock on the system. I'd been a little apprehensive about the lock, but it wasn't at all scary and emptied calmly - what was surprising was that the lock isn't marked in any way to show its claim to fame. There was also a glorious, ornate, ironwork footbridge behind the previous lock which appears not to have been cared for terribly well, as it's all rusty - such a shame that a place like Bath doesn't celebrate the canal - and of course it's theoretically the end of the Kennet and Avon here as we'll soon be on the River Avon for the remainder of the journey to Bristol.
The lock and lock house at the first of the Widecombe flight of six locks
The awesome 19ft 'Bath Deep Lock' the deepest on the canal system - with a lockie equal to the task of operating it
They are some gates all right, though they could certainly do with a trim
Exiting the last lock, Barry correctly guessed that turning right would take us to Pulteney Bridge - but as far as we could see there were no signposts to tell anyone this fact - maybe they try and keep it quiet? It seems bizarre as surely this must be one of the highlights of the system, cruising right into the centre of Bath and taking a trip to the edge of the weir at Pulteney Bridge?
Bath Bottom Lock then onto The Avon River again
It was mid-afternoon but there were still two mooring spots in this treasured place - excellent! Sadly though, although you're allowed to stay for 48 hours, there were notices everywhere stating that there was a canoe race planned on Saturday and no boats would be able to stay after Friday evening. Ah well, it was £9 a night or £16 for 48 hrs, so we'd save £7 though we wouldn't have minded paying. We would however stay until Jamie arrived around 1730hrs on Friday and have another drive to the weir with her before finding another mooring for the night.
One of the numerous open top buses circling the city
The magnificent Empire Hotel with Pulteney Bridge and Weir from mid stream
Not long after tying up it started raining. We waited a short while but then left the boat and went for an afternoon walk around the town. Getting a bit fed up of the downpour we subsequently found a pub for a drink, and later on a restaurant to eat for our final night with Sandra and Dickie. After walking around looking at menus, we finally settled on a Greek restaurant the 'Opa Meze Bar' that we went to for my hen night last year. From the road it doesn't look like much, but once you've walked down the stairs there's a huge and very opulent bar and restaurant. We had drinks sitting under the bridge and could see Northern Pride from our table - how wonderful. We had a delicious meal, served by groovy Greek waitresses, in good company - a lovely night. Around 2300hrs the venue turns up the music and down the lights and it becomes a night club - we left shortly after this, tempted as I was to stay and boogie the night away - much more my scene than sitting around drinking alcohol, lol!
The Roman style mosaic in the centre of the paving stone maze, at Beazer Gardens by the weir
another view of Bath Parade, weir and Pulteney Bridge
Looking into the coffee shop on the bridge
"Like a bird on a weir" Just one of many of floral arrangements
Parade Garden costs a pound to enter though it is well worth it to just sit in a deck chair relaxing by the river
'The Forum' conference and concert venue
The stunning 'Thermae Bath Spa' rooftop pool where Sandra visited on her hen weekend
The new Debenhams Shopping Complex due for opening in September built to blend in with the rest of the city
only with slightly different light fittings?
Pillars through the ages
Doors in any colour you like
Bath Cathedral dominates the city centre
A wide range of musical entertainment
Dickie and Sandra sit in the rain for a while and take in the sounds of the lone guitarist
and Sandra applauds this opera singer braving the rain for the opening of the British Transplant Games 2010
First levied in England in the year 1697 for the purpose of defraying the expenses and making up the deficiency arising from clipped and defaced coin in the recoinage of silver during the reign of William III. It was an assessed tax on the rental value of the house, levied according to the number of windows and openings on houses having more than six windows and worth more than £5 per annum. Owing to the method of assessment the tax fell with peculiar hardship on the middle classes, and to this day traces of the endeavours to lighten its burden may be seen in numerous bricked-up windows.The revenue derived from the tax in the first year of its levy amounted to £1,200,000. The tax was increased no fewer than six times between 1747 and 1808, but was reduced in 1823. There was a strong agitation in favour of the abolition of the tax during the winter of 1850, and it was accordingly repealed on the 24th of July 1851, and a tax on inhabited houses substituted. The tax contributed £1,856,000 to the imperial revenue the year before its repeal. There were in England in that year about 6000 houses having fifty windows and upwards; about 275,000 having ten windows and upwards.
as it got dark the windows came alive
the tourists left and Barry snapped away
We'll stay in Bath on Friday and have a quiet day as Sandra and Dickie will be heading back to Brighton on a four hour train journey, so understandably preferred not to do another 6-7 hours in the boat beforehand to get to Bristol! We'll save that trip for Saturday when Jamie's with us
Here's three photos I found from our brief trip to Bath in 2007
The Roman Baths