On Wednesday morning we were woken by strimmers and a lawn mower on the towpath, "Not again," I said, "they only cut the grass yesterday!" - lol, of course we were in another place on Tuesday morning! It's a strange life when you wake up somewhere different most days, it can be a little disorientating!
We ventured into Bradford-on-Avon once we'd all got ourselves together, what a gorgeous place. Many of the buildings are made using Bath stone, and we came across the quaintest little place which turned out to be a cafe, 'The George Tea Rooms and Restaurant' voted the best tea room in UK 2009. The waitresses are all in costume, and I peered in and asked one of them how they make their cappuccino as when I visited a couple of places in England last year I was served the revolting (imho) powdered stuff. But no, they do the proper ground coffee and frothed milk here so we took a table. It's delightful inside as well, though you wouldn't wish to maintain the building, it's amazing that it's stood the test of time so well.
Very busy at Bradford Lock on the way into town
Lovely Georgian style cottage by the lock though not sure if it's the lock cottage
If it's good enough for you to have a blue door we'll have one too
The river Avon runs right through the centre of Bradford
and under the old bridge complete with a prison - why wouldn't you?
The tea shop by the bridge - looks a little dated - by about 400 years
Four coffees at the tea shop - splendid, what what!
One of the many lions around this area each decorated uniquely for charity
Not sure, but I think this is the post office
A bit of a cross section of Bradford-on-Avon
Looks like a model railway but no it's full size - very cute
After lunch we made some more progress towards Bath. The next highlight of this thouroughly enjoyable canal was the Avoncliffe Aqueduct, which we cruised across and then found a mooring spot so that we could explore on foot. Down the hill from the aqueduct is 'The Cross Guns' pub, in what must surely be one of the best settings anyone could wish for. Unsurprisingly they've had lots of celebrities visiting who've left a signed 'thank you' note and photo; people such as Kevin Spacey, Harry Enfield, Ruby Wax, who've been travelling along the K & A in their widebeams (they'd be hard pressed to 'slum it' in a narrowboat I feel!) with the 'Moonraker Boats' hire company that seems very popular in these parts.
I have to say this really is becoming one of our favourite canals, there's so much variety - despite all the 'continuous cruisers' this canal is famous for, who moor permanently along much of this part (and others), just moving a few yards every now and again . Sadly some of these liveaboard boats are poorly maintained and look as though they may sink at any given moment - but of course you get that on land too, and at least you can just cruise past such sorry sights on the waterways.
We partook of just the one drink at the pub, sitting happily in the afternoon sunshine watching the fish in the crystal clear river water and the contented ducks sitting on the hillside. On our way out Barry and Dickie bought a takeout flagon each from the bar which supposedly had 5 pints in for £12 - a veritable bargain! However, later on after they'd polished off said beer, they realised that they'd actually only consumed just over four pints each, so it turned out to be a bit of a rip off. The morale of the story is that if you pay for 5 pints, make sure that they fill the container up to the brim!
We shared the lock with a hire boating family
Over the Avoncliffe Aqueduct with Dickie and Sandra in control
The Cross Guns pub and some duckie gongoozlers
Sandra and Dickie spotting Carp or Perch or whatever
Ten pints of beer please and don't short change us!
What a great setting for a prison or whatever it is
This highly polished little boat had a couple enjoying a very special tea and cakes
Continuing on our journey we subsequently travelled over Dundas Aqueduct but didn't stop to explore (we'll maybe go on the way back, lol!). It was a rather a busy little junction with boats coming and going and the odd one getting stuck, so it wasn't the best place to linger for long
Over the Dundas Aqueduct high above The Avon
A hard right at the end to Bath
A few shots along the way that say it all
A stretch with no boats - we're happy ...
We'd had enough by Bathhampton, and found a good mooring place. Prior to coming onto the K & A we'd heard the usual horror stories that some boat folks feel obliged to share (doom and gloom!), one of which was that you have to start out early and moor up early if you want to get a place on this canal - well we've not been doing that and have yet to experience a problem! We'd also been 'reliably' informed that it's one of the busiest canals on the system, full of those 'dreadful' hire-boaters and 'oh so difficult' that many people simply turn around. We must just be incredibly lucky as we haven't really experienced any such difficulties, though the locks at the beginning were certainly hard work
After some dinner on board, we took a five minute walk to The George, a popular, packed pub which is good to see, but again it's one of those where everyone's eating so is more like a restaurant than a friendly local. It's sad that this appears to be the way that many pubs are going nowadays just to survive - maybe in years to come the good old British pub will be a thing of the past?
Returning to the boat we saw off the remainder of Sandra's red wine, Barry's home brew wine and heaven knows what else! After a short while my lightweight self left them to it and went to bed just after midnight. I think it was after 0200hrs when they eventually retired rather the worse for wear after many a song and much raucous laughter - all good fun!
First the red then ....
Oh! where did you get that hat, where did you get that smile
These blooms are the staple diet of the flower baskets