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Thread: You know you are in trouble when the dog jumps ship

  1. #1

    Default You know you are in trouble when the dog jumps ship

    My daughter has just moved to Bath so my wife decided a short stay was in order. It was a surprise when leaving to see that the canoe appeared on the top of the car. Surprise to my wife that is. Well, my daughter's house is only a few hundred yards from the canal and river, so it would be silly not to take it. The next day my wife dropped me off at Bradford on Avon ready to canoe back along the canal to Bath and the short portage back to my daughter's house. It is worth while taking a quick visit to the magnificent Tithe Barn which is next to the canal at Bradford on Avon, where there is also some parking available.

    IMAG0136, on Flickr

    The first main feature that you come to is the aqueduct at Avoncliffe with some lovely stone buildings surrounding it. There is a public house down from the aqueduct if you are in the need of refreshment, although I did not visit today, but have in the past enjoyed a visit or two.

    IMAG0140, on Flickr

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    Although it was a generally sunny day, it was when I was exiting from the aqueduct that I realised the wind was a force to be reckoned with. The wind suddenly hit the canoe and sent it scuttling sideways towards the bank. A couple of draw strokes slowed me down and control was restored. I realised that this needed to be taken into consideration when I met other boats and decided the best course of action was to pull into the side if a boat came.
    Passing a line of moored boats I saw a narrow boat approaching in the distance and seeing there were few gaps, decided to pull into the space beside me, where there was room for about two narrow boats, and waited, holding the dog. The boat was now about 20/30 metres away, with me in clear view, when it suddenly turned sharply and directly towards me. I let go of the dog to reach for the paddle. The dog realising the physics of a 10 ton boat meeting a 25kg canoe, leapt from the canoe onto the bank. While not showing much support or confidence in my abilities, it was helpful in that the force of the leap pushed the front of the canoe out a bit. There was then some hasty splashing and rapid bow draws, and I just managed to pass to the side of the bows just before it hit the bank where I had been waiting. Well I was fairly shaken up by this turn of events, thinking that the boat had just decided to go into a mooring, I expressed my concern, before rushing off to find the dog. It was only afterwards that I realised that the narrow boat had itself been caught by the wind and the helmsman had not known what to do.

    IMAG0155, on Flickr

    There were many moored boats along this section providing a generally pleasant backdrop to the canal. Many had items stored on the roof, but nothing like the stored mess on top of this one. If it ever takes to the water it must be at risk of turning over!

    IMAG0150, on Flickr

    Private moorings are supervised in an unusual way on this stretch of the canal

    IMAG0147, on Flickr

    The Dundas aqueduct is an amazing stone structure where just over the bridge is the entrance to the Somersetshire Coal Canal, now not navigable, apart from the first short section.

    IMAG0163, on Flickr

    IMAG0161, on Flickr

    IMAG0168, on Flickr

    I was now in need of a break, so I paddled through the narrow entrance to the Somersetshire Coal Canal and up past the many moored narrow boats to the cafe at the end for some refreshment.

    IMAG0169, on Flickr

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    There were quite a few narrow boats moving on the water.

    Kennet and Avon Canal 21, on Flickr

    IMAG0187, on Flickr

    The other feature of the canal well worth a visit is the Claverton pump. This is a very attractive building in itself, but with the original beam pump inside. This can be seen working this year on 9 and 23 June, 14 and 28 July, 11 and 25 August and 8 and 25 September.

    IMAG0182, on Flickr

    The final excitement was another abandoning ship by the dog, when she saw cat strolling along the bank. To be fair she did not mean to, but was so excited her paws slipped off the gunnels and in she went.
    Apart from the boat incident a very enjoyable and relaxing day out.
    Last edited by Gdd; 30th-May-2018 at 04:00 PM. Reason: unfinished

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Bangor, Co Down.


    I'd have went home and bought a lottery ticket. It was your lucky day. Sounds like an exciting trip just the same. Well blogged too.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Robin Hood's Bay,Yorkshire


    I can empathise with your dog jumping ship. I was going down some simple grade ii rapids on my local river, the Esk and my dog spotted a squirrel on the bank. She was over the side and swam through the rapids onto the bank and chased the squirrel into the shrubs/trees at the side. By the time I'd pulled into a safe spot, she was still 100 yards back up stream attempting to climb up the oak tree the squirrel was in.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Kettering Northamptonshire


    Nice blog and empathy on the dog tale.
    Narrowboats and wind are a beast.....a lucky escape.
    A ship should not ride on a single anchor, nor life on a single hope - Epictetus

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    Its a lovely paddle that, apart from the dodging of out-of-control narrowboats, that is!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    ditch crawling


    Unfortunately there's not a lot a helmsman can do in the wind, there's only about 2' of boat underwater and about 4' above it, plus the length of the boat, its a bit like steering a giant kite, but generally as long as the boats under power it's possible to steer a straight course, mines 62' and about 26 tons with no brakes, what could possible go wrong ?.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Ditch Crawler View Post
    but generally as long as the boats under power it's possible to steer a straight course, mines 62' and about 26 tons with no brakes, what could possible go wrong ?.
    Many inexperienced boat owners do what they do in a car when things are going wrong; they panic brake !! Not realising that without power, they have no steerage. I ate my lunch on the plank-bridge over Sutton Court weir on Monday and it was entertaining watching the various owner-operated and hire boats negotiate the tight hairpin there.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Lochwinnoch, Scotland
    Journal Entries


    I’ve just realised that when my daughters were making up the list of universities to apply for I never took the paddling possibilities into consideration. Rookie mistake.

    Glad your daughter has been more obliging in her choice of residence

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