75. I break the Swing Bridge on the Kennet & Avon Canal!


Hello, thanks very much for watching. I’m still heading west on the Kennet and Avon Canal. In this episode I go through a really strange lock with vegetation on the sides. There’s only two like it and you have to drive down the middle of the lock and get off. It almost feels like a sort of a gangplank and then I break a swing bridge. It’s not just a swing bridge that leads onto a farmer’s field, oh no, it’s a main road swing bridge, with red lights flashing and lots and lots of chaos. Even Canal and River Trust can’t fix it. So how all of that coming up in this episode. [Music] I left the long straight mooring area at Fobney Lock and headed west. After
passing under Milkmaid’s Bridge there was my first lock of the day. Just to the
south here is the Burghfield Fishing Complex where you can fish for carp 24/7.
Passing under the M4 motorway that spans the UK from Wales to London, there is
Garston Lock. This is the wide lock with slanted vegetation sides. I then headed
towards Tyle Mill where there is a lock and a rather difficult swing bridge. {Dog barking} I was keen to take it easy and enjoy the
mix of canal and river ahead. [Sounds of water and birds singing] In 1850 the buildings alongside Southcote
Lock used to be part of a pumping station that provided the town of
Reading its first filtered water supply. Now it’s been converted into residential
properties where future generations can watch the boats go by. [Music] Garston Lock was built between 1718 and
1723 and has a rise of seven feet and seven inches. Unlike a brick or stone
sided lock, this has sloping sides, covered in plants. It’s a really strange
lock to navigate into, as you exit the boat via small walkways located either
side of the lock. As more water is required to fill the lock, it does take
some time. [Music] At either end of the lock there are pillboxes
dating from World War II. These bunkers were built as anti-tank defences
and their steel doors needed to be just as strong as their concrete walls, to
withstand enemy blasts. [Music] [Sounds of water and birds singing] At Tyle Mill there are bins, a water and elsan
point and just before the lock, Tyle Mill swing bridge. I was told it regularly
breaks down and today was my turn. The bridge opening procedure was activated
by a single button as normal and the stop light started to flash.
Well oh deary me. We tried to lower the barriers and open
the swing bridge but it jammed and all it was as the red lights flashing. Which
then of course, we had to be traffic management and help the people cross. Canal and River Trust were called and
arrived relatively quickly but couldn’t fix it. More and more engineers
arrived throughout the afternoon. Remember the lights are still flashing red confusing the motorists. Around five
hours later, the swing bridge was manually opened for me to pass through
and I’m moored up just beyond the lock for the night. And that’s the end of my
filming on the Kennett and Avon Canal. I’m back up here in the East Midlands
now. I needed to return back up here because I’ve just been away to Romania
for a week to do some filming for Victron and I needed to ensure that Alice was
nice and safe and friends could look in on her. I thoroughly enjoyed the
Kennet and Avon Canal. I didn’t do all of it.
I got roughly to Great Bedwyn, a little bit before then. It’s quite a
difficult canal to do on your own, as a solo navigator because there’s a lot of
locks and a lot of swing bridges and the further, you go west, the more
there were it felt like. I knew that that’s how the canal was. I was told that
previously but it is quite tough on your own having to spend most of your day
opening and closing locks and swing bridges – when they work! It’s a nice canal
though, very pretty. It’s got a very good community feel,
I think it’s because it’s cut off from everyone and there’s this big river. They
have that sort of them a us feeling, which is really nice. It goes through
some quite urban areas as well. Obviously Reading and Newbury were the two that I
experienced. No real trouble at all. There weren’t that many mooring spots I must
say, and they’ve let the banks be angled
quite a lot but I didn’t really find any problems, the sides were strong enough to
hold pins in and things so, I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I experienced for a
couple of weeks the canal as a boater, which is the first time I’ve done
that ever since I’ve bought Alice really. So that is the end of the Kennet
and Avon, I’m back up here in the East Midlands, lots and lots to do. Until next
time, see you later.

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