Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
lucyboatgirl

some help needed for cruising the Kennot and Avon. Is there a strong current? When does it flood? and more????

Featured Posts

Hi lovely boaters,

I am planning on trying to get to Bristol from London leaving next week in my beautiful little 20ft cruiser. But I dont know anything about the kennot and avon and have been warned about being caught in floods and that it happens every season. When does it tend to happen? and where along the stretch tends to get affected?

I have already checked the stoppages and the first are on Jan 6th which would give me three weeks to get London to Bristol before they begin which is totally possible. The only thing that concerns me is that it is upstream. Is there a current on the Kennot ad Avon? Is it strong? Is it upstream all the way. I sort of can't figure out if its a river or a canal and there seems to be people saying it carries a current.

I only have a 25HP engine on my little boat and i dont really like the idea of fighting my way up the current all the way to Bristol. I have gone upstream on the non tidal thames and it was ALOT slower than downstream. It is making me concerned that I wouldnt make it bristol in time and get stranded somewhere along the way. Which would also be exciting too ha ha.

Any help or advice any of you can give me would be really greatly appreciated. Anyone that lives on the KandA that could give some idea what it is like to cruise it.

Thank you you beautiful boaters. I love you all x x x x x x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is only a current in the river sections at the eastern end, and for the most part they are barely noticeable, and certainly no where near as fast at the Thames downstremm from Reading. However there are a few places where it is strong, the most notorious being the "Brewery Gut" through Reading, which is controlled by traffic lights, followed shortly by County Lock which has a fast weir next to it. The lock keeper at Blakes lock should be able to give you advice on both locks when you join ther K&A from the Thames.

There is one other lock where the river runs into the canal immediately beteen a bridge and the lock, and the flow can push you over to the left with some force. I cannot remember the name of the lock, but someone will know which one i mean. Again get some advice from boaters coming towards you and keep well to the right as you approach it. You do not state whether your cruiser has steel hull or a Glass fibre one but, either way, some substantial fenders will help protect your boat if you are pushed over onto the railings.

Edited to Add:- The bit I forgot to mention is the River Avon between Bath and Bristol. Some short sections are bypassed by a canal section, but most of it is on the river, which can be quite fast and does flood easily. The ony advice I can offer is to keep a watch for any flood warnings issued by both the C&ART and the Bristol Harbour Authority.

Edited by David Schweizer
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would check the stoppages again. End of October Blakes lock closes for four month. There's others that I have written down for our own journeys over the winter,but don't have them to hand presently.

You will pass us at some point. Give us a wave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, lucyboatgirl said:

I am planning on trying to get to Bristol from London leaving next week ...............

I have already checked the stoppages and the first are on Jan 6th which would give me three weeks to get London to Bristol before they begin which is totally possible

Unless I am missing something, I am not following the 'maths' here.

2 weeks in October, 4 weeks in November + 4 weeks in December.

 

The K&A is notoriously bad for 'unplanned' stoppages so you should keep an 'eye-open' - example from yesterday :

THE Kennet & Avon Canal is closed yet again, and no prizes for guessing where!

For the countless time this year the summit pound is low and the navigation was closed from locks 54 to 55 yesterday Tuesday, which of course is at Crofton.

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Almost certainly no Lock-keeper at Blakes, and yes there is a big stoppage soon.

Reading to Newbury is mostly river, Bath to Bristol is River (downstream), Newbury to Bath is lovely canal (with a tiny bit of river above beyond Newbury).

Flow depends upon rainfall and can vary between very little and impossible. Going upstream Woolhampton Lock will likely be the most difficult. Lots of advice on this forum.

Bath to Bristol (The Avon) comes up very quickly after rain so check conditions before leaving Bath.

...........Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, David Schweizer said:

There is only a current in the river sections at the eastern end, and for the most part they are barely noticeable, and certainly no where near as fast at the Thames downstremm from Reading. However there are a few places where it is strong, the most notorious being the "Brewery Gut" through Reading, which is controlled by traffic lights, followed shortly by County Lock which has a fast weir next to it. The lock keeper at Blakes lock should be able to give you advice on both locks when you join ther K&A from the Thames.

There is one other lock where the river runs into the canal immediately beteen a bridge and the lock, and the flow can push you over to the left with some force. I cannot remember the name of the lock, but someone will know which one i mean. Again get some advice from boaters coming towards you and keep well to the right as you approach it. You do not state whether your cruiser has steel hull or a Glass fibre one but, either way, some substantial fenders will help protect your boat if you are pushed over onto the railings.

Edited to Add:- The bit I forgot to mention is the River Avon between Bath and Bristol. Some short sections are bypassed by a canal section, but most of it is on the river, which can be quite fast and does flood easily. The ony advice I can offer is to keep a watch for any flood warnings issued by both the C&ART and the Bristol Harbour Authority.

I have never seen a keeper at Blakes Lock

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The lock that David couldn't remember where the Kennet enters just below the lock is at Woolhampton.

Also, there are a number of stoppages in November and December, in addition to those in the New Year that the OP mentioned.

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the eastern end there are a number of lock cut/canalised sections where you could shelter from floods until they go down.

20ft cruiser - what engine?

If its a smaller outboard remember the centre part has very long stretches with no petrol and precious little diesel.

It happens at any time after fairly heavy rain. It may last a day, week or months. Yesterday it all looked fine around Reading.

I too think that you have the stoppages wrong, especially the EA Blakes lock one.

The boat is short enough to tie up at Fobney below the fierce cross current from the bywash and at this time of year you should be able to tie up between Woolhampton swing bridge and lock for lock setting.

Some of the K&A locks are heavy so what with that and swing bridges you may do well to take a friend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

I have never seen a keeper at Blakes Lock

 

Well maybe lock keeper is an exageration, but every time I went through (up to about 6pm) there was always an EA officer in uniform checking on licences, and selling short term ones for those without a full icence. It is some years since I went through Blakes, so maybe economies have led to it not being staffed any more.

3 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

On the eastern end there are a number of lock cut/canalised sections where you could shelter from floods until they go down.

20ft cruiser - what engine?

If its a smaller outboard remember the centre part has very long stretches with no petrol and precious little diesel.

It happens at any time after fairly heavy rain. It may last a day, week or months. Yesterday it all looked fine around Reading.

I too think that you have the stoppages wrong, especially the EA Blakes lock one.

The boat is short enough to tie up at Fobney below the fierce cross current from the bywash and at this time of year you should be able to tie up between Woolhampton swing bridge and lock for lock setting.

Some of the K&A locks are heavy so what with that and swing bridges you may do well to take a friend.

And some bottom gates insist upon oopening before you reach the other end of the lock to open a paddle, so a pin, hammer and length of rope are useful to hold the gate in closed position !!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, David Schweizer said:

There is only a current in the river sections at the eastern end, and for the most part they are barely noticeable, and certainly no where near as fast at the Thames downstremm from Reading.

I've got to disagree. I went up the Kennet from Reading and I found that the current was noticeably stronger than the Thames downstream from Reading (Thames was on reds and yellow boards at the time). It took a lot more concentration on the Kennet but as long as you have enough power then going upstream will certainly be easier then coming downstream because you have plenty of water flowing over your rudder and plenty of control. My biggest fear was meeting a fast moving boat coming downstream.

And what about the current at the other end at the Avon?

You've basically got current heading upstream from Reading to Hungerford and the current running downstream from Bath to Bristol. As to how much current, well that just depends on how much it's been raining. 

Edited by blackrose
  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All I can say in response is that I have travelled the K&A from the Thames to Bath, many times in both early spring, and late Autumn, and only experienced any significant flow on one trip, but certainly no more than i had found on the tidal Thames. I know we had a lot of rain this summer, so maybe that increased the flow, but my experience suggsts that you chose an unfortunate year to travel on the K&A.

Edited by David Schweizer
  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have spent ten winters on the K&A, arriving late autumn, leaving in the spring, but for the first two years had a home mooring actually on the River Kennet. It really can flow significantly. We usually breathe a sigh of relief when we turn onto the Thames :D.

.................Dave 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The strongest flow I have ever experienced on the K&A was going through Brewery Gut in Reading. I went through there like a rat up a drainppie, which was quite exhilarating. But the flow was not as fast as leaving the Brent into the Thames on a strong inflowing tide. Trying to move over to use the southern arch at Teddington resulted in me being being pushed upstream towards the central arch at something like 8 knots was very "interesting".

 

Edited by David Schweizer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, David Schweizer said:

The strongest flow I have ever experienced on the K&A was in Brewery Gut in Reading. I went through there like a rat up a drainppie, which was quite exhilarating. But the flow was not as fast as leaving the Brent into the Thames on a strong inflowing tide. Trying to move over to use the southern arch at Teddington resulted in me being being pushed upstream towards the central arch at something like 8 knots was very "interesting".

 

 

ok, but you are talking about the tidal Thames here. A fair few years ago we did Teddington to Brentford on a spring tide, doing a boat delivery of a very under-powered boat, turning into Brentford was a reallyt dodgy as there was serious tide flowing. Have done it several times in our boat but always go Brentford upstream.

We have been on the Thames on Red Boards (a miss-calculation rather than intention) but still reckon the Kennet in heavy flow is the hardest river we have ever done.

Going upstream I reckon Woolhampton is the hardest bit, though the lock landing below County lock can have a nasty eddy. Up through Newbury is intimidating but is actually ok as long as you have enough power and steady nerves. Going downstream Woolhampton is a bit scary, the tight bends a little way up from the Cunning man are very tricky in a full length boat, but that horrid "high" bridge at the bottom of Reading is by far the scariest bit of all, potential for a very serious accident.

.............Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 05/10/2017 at 14:26, David Schweizer said:

There is only a current in the river sections at the eastern end, and for the most part they are barely noticeable, and certainly no where near as fast at the Thames downstremm from Reading.

 

I disagree.

But your later posts in thisthread suggest you actually mean the tidal Thames downstream of Teddington. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I am more concerned about the OP not realising that most of this trip is along a canal, not rivers.

Do she have any experience of what she is going to be doing?
Will she be able to work the locks on her own?
Has she realised how hard Caen Hill might be for her?
How much experience of single handing has she got?
Has she realised how difficult it might be for her to get fuel for her outboard?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and Bristol is quite expensive, though for a 25 foot boat is probably only about £10 per night. Unless op has booked a winter mooring or got a marina berth it will be quite tricky finding anywhere to moor in Bristol.

..............Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't normally suggest this, but if you need to get to Bristol quickly, and there are stoppages en route, then for a 20 ft cruiser it shouldn't cost that much to get it taken by road.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 06/10/2017 at 00:04, David Mack said:

I wouldn't normally suggest this, but if you need to get to Bristol quickly, and there are stoppages en route, then for a 20 ft cruiser it shouldn't cost that much to get it taken by road.

I'm inclined to agree. Will a 20ft GRP go on a trailer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

I'm inclined to agree. Will a 20ft GRP go on a trailer?

Easily- we used to trailer our 21 foot Bayliner (+ 90hp O/B) all over the UK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

is this yet another case of a newbie asking a question and then not being around to clarify things like the timing, type of boat, etc.?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, David Schweizer said:

All I can say in response is that I have travelled the K&A from the Thames to Bath, many times in both early spring, and late Autumn, and only experienced any significant flow on one trip, but certainly no more than i had found on the tidal Thames. I know we had a lot of rain this summer, so maybe that increased the flow, but my experience suggsts that you chose an unfortunate year to travel on the K&A.

Maybe it was. Spring 2013 all the way from Laleham on the Thames to Bristol. But on my boat it was a LOT harder to go upstream on the Kennet than the Thames.

Edited by blackrose
  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, dmr said:

Going upstream I reckon Woolhampton is the hardest bit...

Too right. There are a couple of tricky lock entrances where you're facing weirs or have them coming in from the side on the Thames, but nothing as tricky as Woolhampton when the river's running a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×