Narrowboat AREandARE

From the 2009 & 2010 tantalising tales, traumas and stunning photographs of Barry (photographer) and Sandra (writer) from New Zealand aboard NB 'Northern Pride', to the stories of their 2013 return journey, purchase of 'AREandARE', progress on sustaining their live aboard continuous cruiser lifestyle, and Barry's quest to gain residency and 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' in UK ...

Monday 9 August 2010

An 'extra'ordinary day on the fascinating Kennet and Avon Canal

Our first full day on the Kennet and Avon on Sunday and we still didn't manage to get up and away terribly swiftly!  Jon, Ruby and crew from NB Guelrose left an hour or so before us and we didn't see them all again until we were mooring up in the evening.  We did manage to set off mid-morning though, without going to investigate anywhere on land - mainly due to there not being much to check out locally as far as we could make out.



Ruby and Jon getting ready to start their day's journey


We've seen this narrowboat a few times recently, and on Sunday it moored up alongside us. 

Wakanui is a Maori word meaning Waka (canoe or craft - pronounced 'woka') and nui (big - pronounced 'noo ee'). The present owners of this narrowboat must have got their pronunciation from an Australian as they described it "Wacka nui".


P1300952A Looking back from our mooring to Burghfield Bridge and a happy fisherman

It was a day filled with an amazing variety of locks and lift-bridges, and of course after spending too much time on the boat passing through 'manned' locks it was a day of much-needed physical exercise! 

It was also a gorgeous sunny day, so along with the manual labour I may've sweated off a couple of pounds with a bit of luck - there's certainly some tough lock gates to negotiate, but we're already finding that it's well worth the effort.

P1300954 Our first dilemma of the day was this direction sign - yes under there somewhere is an arrow pointing right to the lock, not left to the weir neither of which could be discerned from the junction


Then we came across a few normal looking locks like this ...


and then, unique to the Kennet and Avon, a strange turf-sided one like this (you're requested to leave the lock empty when you've passed through so that the foliage doesn't become sodden) ...


and beautiful scalloped shaped locks for no apparent reason than aesthetics


there were manually operated swing bridges galore


and electronic ones


as well as the odd lift bridge


plus towpath change over bridges


weirs to watch out for


and dangerous feed channels


some deep and feisty locks


as well as lots of Gongoozlers watching

but otherwise a very ordinary day!

We travelled just 8 miles, working our way through 9 locks, 6 swing bridges and one lift bridge during the day - quite a mammoth task, but that's going to be an almost daily adventure for a few weeks now!

Arriving at Woolhampton after 1800hrs, it was a bit challenging to find a mooring, but we did eventually settle on a rural spot not far from Old Woolhampton Lock, sufficient distance from the pub to prevent us from being tempted into spending any more money - we need to be much more frugal from now on if we're going to manage until the end of October!  Once again we had lots of nettles on the bank for company, but not as bad as our overnight stay in Goring, and we didn't need to leave the boat.



Barry got talking to a couple at one of the locks who've owned a narrowboat for 30 years, but it's still not quite finished for various reasons. They said the painting and blacking is due for completion next week, but it sounds as though they're not holding their breath in case they're disappointed once again!



Barry also finally managed to get around to placing a map of the waterways, including locks, winding holes, marinas, etc, onto our blog home page. This was kindly supplied by Tom Jones and his wife from Australia (no! not that Tom Jones - he's from Wales!) who sent it to us earlier in the year, just prior to us leaving New Zealand. Thanks Tom, it's been a handy tool on our travels.

On Tuesday we'll be heading to Newbury where we will explore and possibly stick around for a day.

P1310179A Not really a flower photo, but I love the colour of these, found in many floral displays, if only I could remember what it's called ...


  1. Great article in Canal Boat. If you cant be rich at least you can be famous!
    Have finished Kiwi Afloat - review to be posted in Captain Ahab in the very near future.

  2. The bins have gone at Hungerford so nowhere to dump rubbish.. There are some good moorings above the lock after the main bridge.. walk through the church yard to the middle of the town and Tescos!

    Great Bedwyn pump out is broken as of today, but a BW man did visit.. hopefully gone off and reported, so it may well be working when you get there..

    There is a good farm shop at Cobblers lock.. just moor as best you can to the end of the lock landing and cross the lock on the non towpath side and follow the path to the road..

    Looking forward to seeing you!

  3. The bins at Hungerford have gone.. access problems.. There are good mooring above the lock after the bridge, just walk through the church yard, left the right under the bridge and left again will bring you to the town centre and Tescos.

    There is a good farm shop at Cobblers lock.. shallow by the way between Marsh Lock and there, keep to the middle!

    Moor on the end of the lock mooring landing and walk across the lock on the non towpath side, find the footpath to the road by the ford, it's on the opposite side of the road.

    Gt Bedwyn's pump out is out of order although BW did inspect today and go away.. so it might be fixed by the time you get there!

    Looking forward to meeting you both soon..

  4. Hi all home now :( .We have had a good read and look through your photos and blog although some photo are at my expence LOL, hope your still having a good time . I have now read your articel and it was very good . JON, CHLOE, RUBY AND CHARLIE . PS if you do make the boat show let me know we planning to be there on the sunday and monday