Sunday 6th July
Smell of the day – Wild garlic. As the sun warmed the wooded slopes the smell of wild garlic, just coming into flower, wafted along the canal.
A peaceful, warm and very slow morning until we got onto the Dundas aquaduct. We are re-branding it the Dodgems aquaduct. We were wondering what to do and where to go to avoid ramming someone. Our lock buddies from Caen Hill were trying to tie up on the right but had grounded on an underwater ledge, so they were unable to get out of the way. Two long hireboats were trying to turn in the entrance to the Somerset coal canal but found that each was in the others way. There were also boats two abreast at the waterpoint. We decided that the only thing to do was to cruise through, then at least we’d be out of everyone’s way even if displaying no manners.
As we approached Millbrook swingbridge, we were pleased to see an oncoming hireboat crew had got there first and had waved us through despite Graham arriving at the bridge, windlass in hand. They regretted their polite manners when two more hireboats arrived and started hooting and shouting rudely at them because they had started to close the bridge. I explained to them that the poor blokes boat was way ahead as he’d shown us a kindness but that didn’t matter, they were still aggrieved.
We approached Bath top lock and Jannock is now in new territory. We passed down the first three and then moored for the night on the temporary 48hour moorings between locks 3 and 4, looking forward to meeting up with my brother and his wife and sons this evening. A hireboat was about to moor up as we came out of the third lock but they changed their mind and decided to use the lock that was in their favour instead. Unfortunately they had waited a bit too long since the gates were closed and the windlass-less crew member who was sent to open the gate was unable to do so. When they realised this they then tried ramming the gates with the boat – vandals! Much reversing out of the lockmouth and then crew with windlasses were deposited ashore to do it properly and safely instead.
After a needed cuppa, taken in the shade of a suitable tree, we walked into Bath and met up with family that we haven’t seen for ages. I didn’t say “haven’t you grown” to my nephews but they surely have. We got a guided tour of the main part of town, Ann telling us about how her father was brought up in a top floor flat above Pulterney Wier. They had to haul their coal up in buckets. He watched the river being bombed during WW2 from there. A lovely walk with plenty of insider info and then a tasty meal. All too soon it was time for them to go back to Ilchester, school and work tomorrow. Thanks for coming, it means a lot to me.