Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Our Canal Holiday - 3rd to 10th October 2009

I just knew that something was happening!!! On Friday (2nd) Mum was rushing around like a whirling dervish putting things into boxes & bags & then putting it all into the van - I was a bit worried at first coz she didn't put my bed in there...but I needn't have been coz on Saturday morning that went in too!  And then we were off!!

First of all Mum & me drove up to Cirencester to collect Nan Iris & Dad (he'd been to a meeting & had gone to Nan's first)...then we set off for Hilperton. When we arrived I was really surprised coz all I could see were loads of funny long, narrow boats (& a lot of water) - it turned out that Dad had hired one of these boats...called Gawaine...& we were going to spend a whole week on it on the Kennet & Avon canal.

Once we'd loaded everything into the boat Dad gave me a present...he called it a buoyancy aid & said it would help him & Mum get me out of the water if I fell in coz the canal hasn't got sides where you can climb out like a river! What d'you reckon...do I look smart or what?!

As it happened, I did fall in (twice...misjudged the distance from boat to bank!!) but, unfortunately, both times they'd forgotten to put it on me...typical...they got pretty wet lifting me out!!


We didn't go very far on the first day coz we didn't leave the marina until about 4 o'clock & weren't allowed to "drive" in the dark!! We managed to get to Bradford-on-Avon before the light went, where we moored right by our first lock &, conveniently for Mum, Dad & Nan, next to a very nice pub called, believe it or not, The Lock Inn!!!

Here's a picture of Dad...practicing driving in a straight line - he
said it was quite hard coz he had 60' of boat in front of him!!!

And here's me...getting my "canal legs" & keeping watch!


We had a much busier day today...Dad said that we managed to cover 6 miles (going from Bradford-on-Avon to Bathampton)...it probably doesn't seem like much but our boat was going VERY, VERY SLOWLY!! As I couldn't do much running around on the boat, I spent quite a bit of time walking along the tow path with Mum which was really good as there were loads of new smells to be smelt - believe it or not, Mum & me could walk faster than the boat!!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: 4th October 2009
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I had a BIG surprise shortly after we got to Bathampton...you'll never guess...my bestest mate Indy (& his Mum & Dad of course!) came to see me for a sleep over...yippee!!! Here he is looking very handsome in his Hurtta harness...


Today we travelled along the canal from Bathampton to Bath. We left our mooring at Bathampton at about 8 o'clock but although it was only a journey of about 3 miles it took us until lunch time to actually get to Bath...this was because not only was the boat very slow but we also had to negotiate the Widcombe flight of 6 locks...phew! This was loads of hard work for everyone (except for Indy & me...we just played!)...Mum, Aunty Gail & Uncle Roger opened & closed most of the locks...Dad did the driving bit & Nan worked really hard at the pointy end - she had to keep putting the boat on a lead - so it didn't wander off I think... She looked after me as well - I think she thought I might fall in again, I like swimming but two unexpecteds was enough - if I weren't a big dog I'da been scared!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: 5th October 2009
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Unfortunately, Indy, Uncle Roger & Aunty Gail had to go home today...boo hoo! So after lunch they left us & walked back to Bathampton where they had left their car overnight.


This was our longest day...the canal changed into the River Avon just after the "Bottom" lock in Bath & we were able to go a bit faster & did about 8 miles finally stopping for the night at a place called Hanham.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: 6th October 2009
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When we arrived in Hanham we managed to moor right next to something called Cleeve Wood...I took Mum & Dad for a really good walk through the trees & up & down the hills. The ground was really wet & slippery coz of all the rain we'd had & coz of the leaves on the ground - I didn't mind but Mum managed to slide down one hill on her bottom...did we laugh?!! After our walk Mum, Dad, Nan & me went to one of the local pubs (called the "Old Lock & Weir") for our dinner. Even though I'm only 2, I was allowed in the pub which was good coz it was cold & rainy outside - I sat under the table & had some chicken wings for my dinner...yummy, my favourite!


Believe it or not, today we had to turn round & start to make our way back coz it takes SO long to get anywhere!! So, at about 9 o'clock, we left Hanham & started back towards Bath. It was a really rainy day (in fact it poured for most of the time...yuk!), so Mum didn't take many pictures plus she was pretty busy doing the locks - I think she missed Aunty Gail & Uncle Roger loads coz this time she didn't have any help opening & closing them...!

Swineford Mill & Weir

Nan showing Dad how to tie up properly...

Pretty, despite the rain!

It is Dad hiding under all those clothes...honest!


Yesterday afternoon we moored up just after the Wash House lock in Bath - it was so rainy & we were all so wet that we didn't manage to complete the last 3 of the Widcombe flight of locks. This morning, however, was bright & sunny plus there were loads of other boats & people around...those last 3 locks flew by coz we had a bit of help!! Once past the locks we motored on pretty quickly (well, quickly for a narrow boat!). Mum & I walked a lot of the time which was good coz I got to meet lots of other dogs & people! At lunch time we stopped at a place called Dundas Wharf - we walked down the old Somersetshire Coal Canal & had something to eat in a cafe overlooking Limpley Stoke...very pretty.

Dundas Bridge

Dad negotiating Dundas Wharf


Having spent another night at Bradford-on-Avon, we spent our last full day motoring past Hilperton to Seend - there were only 4 swing bridges & 4 locks to negiotiate on this 6 mile stretch of the canal so Mum had a pretty easy time of it!!!!

Just me trying to be as tall as Dad!!

We got to Seend at lunch time so, just for a change (!!!), we walked to one of the local pubs for lunch (this one was called The Brewery). After lunch we motored back to a place called Semington for the night - Mum, Dad & me walked into the village & found a really nice place called the Somerset Arms where we had dinner. I was allowed in this pub too even though it was really posh - people kept coming up to Mum & Dad asking what I was (Dad was tempted to say "a dog" but didn't!!!) & commenting on how well behaved I was - I was lying under the table keeping watch & only came out when someone wanted to give me a back or tummy rub!!


We left our Semington mooring at about 7:30 as we had to be back in Hilperton by 9:30. As I hadn't had my morning walk, Mum & I decided to walk along the tow path - we had intended to get back on the boat after half an hour or so but there was nowhere for the boat to moor so we ended up walking all the way (nearly 3 miles...& all before breakfast!)...we got there ages before Dad & Nan arrived!!!

And that was the end of my first boating holiday...fantastic...thank you Dad!

And a special BIG thank to Nan for for not complaining when I kept bruising her legs with my waggy tail & for letting me lick her nose first thing in the morning & for giving me loads of ear, back & tummy rubs!


  1. Love it...great photos and story. Ahhhh, you need to bring Radar to the states to play with us American Vizslas!

    Cindy, Turbie, & Remo

  2. Glad you enjoyed it! I think you met Radar's "Dad" John when he was in SF last month?


  3. John and Juliet,
    Great trip. This sounded like a wonderful way to unwind for a week. Nothing like that here in California. Really enjoyed following your adventure. Radar looked like he enjoyed himself.

  4. Hi Radar, thanks for your comment. We are very jealous of your trip on the canal. We go away in our caravan but certainly don't get snazzy jackets to wear like you did :-)

    Sophie & Ruby