Day 26 (2nd Oct 2013) – Aldermaston Wharf to Newbury:

Today saw a couple of new arrivals to the crew of ‘Hannah’ with Audrey, a fairly new addition to the Bruce Trust family. With the departure of Paul and the end of the Parke family connection, the paddlers were down to a threesome. Justin, Stevo and Curtis rode east on the Kennet and Avon towards Newbury on a fairly moderate eleven miles and eleven locks. The main problem encountered was the get-out access for kayakers which meant a bit of a forage on occasion to find a useable patch of bank as the moorings were just too high.

The boys got better at getting in and out by necessity and developed better techniques for three guys carrying three boats around the locks. Around halfway along they met Ian paddling towards them from Newbury. Ian had met the crew in Reading when he visited ‘Hannah’ with Marion for cake. Ian was paddling a K1 and had a few decent tips for our lads on better ins & outs. His tales of the top kayakers on the Devizes to Westminster race jumping in and out of their boats inspired Curtis to give it a go which he did with great success at the next lock. Unfortunately Stevo missed it so Curtis attempted a recreation at the top of the lock and managed to put a nasty gash in his knee after misjudging his jump. Luckily Ian had some tissue and duct-tape handy to administer first aid.

They reached the town of Newbury in fairly good time and found their way to the Lock, Stock and Barrel pub for debrief. ‘Hannah’ was about two and a half hours behind due to the number of locks. They were joined by Graham, also Bruce Trust, who supplied a delicious Lasagna which along with Audrey’s apple crumble supplied a fitting supper for the crew.

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Heroic moment #2: When Flat Stanley was tipped into the canal at the bottom of a lock, Curtis enacted an exciting rescue and Stevo gave CPR. Flat Stanley recovered but wasn’t quite as flat as before.

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