Day 31 (7th Oct 2013) – Semington to Avon Valley:

Day 31 of 32. Wow. Just the final run left into Bristol. Hard to believe we’ve all made it this far…

The foursome of Justin, Stevo, Curtis and Terry set off from Semington with Charlotte riding her bike along the towpath as wingwoman. Today was another long hike of 20 miles with 11 locks. The tradition of kayak unfriendly locks on the Kennet & Avon continued with the lock in Bradford-on-Avon requiring a portage across a busy street and down the road to the pub. There followed a long pull towards Bath through some picturesque wooded areas and across a couple of aqueducts. After portaging the set of six locks in Bath, Stevo swapped with Charlotte and took over the mountain bike. After stopping to give helpful tips on paddling technique from the towpath, he rode on ahead until finding the Dolphin Inn and stopped for a pint. Stevo raised his glass as the kayakers paddled past and presently rode back upstream in search of the ‘Hannah’ and rejoined her in the middle of the Bath lock flight.

Up ahead the paddlers were having increasing difficulty with the river locks and at one stage had to use the weir as a get-in point. They stopped for a pint at the Jolly Sailor pub at the Saltford lock before ending up at the rather disappointing mooring at the Avon Valley Country Park. The Park had charged the Bruce Trust a substantial fee for use of this rather temporary looking scaffolding structure. Not cool. The ‘Hannah’ eventually arrived after dark, finding her way using the tunnel light and with Tony standing on the bow giving guidance on where the Avon River was going. Walking across lock gates is bad enough during the day let along after at night.

Supper consisted of several courses as Alice attempted to finish off what was left of the supplies and the guys made an attempt to finish off the 40 litres of West Berkshire Brewery’s finest donated by David Bruce.


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