View from Hotel room windowI was staying at the Travelodge Menzies hotel which surrounds a pound which serves Lock 7 of the K&A. I had arrived the previous day and after much pleading and reasoning that I was there to do an article on the canal and needed a view of the canal to monitor passing boats, I was awarded a room which overlooked the “lake” as they called it. Once installed in the room I found that if I lay on the extreme right of the bed I could see about 10 metres of the canal just above Lock 7 (the outlet to the left of which is onto the Avon)…..

(click once and twice on images for larger views.)

Having had a miserable experience of a meal the night before at the hotel I had written off the day and retired early. This lead of course to waking up early! So I decided on pre-breakfast exercise at 8am walking up the canal locks (away from the Avon) round into the city centre for a super wholemeal bagel filled with crispy bacon ( from THEWHOLEBAGEL in street Upper Borough Walls).

I digress. During my walk up the locks I saw a super Dutch Barge negotiating Lock 8/9 (as it is termed?!). I took a photo but the thought of a bacon breakfast prevented me from lingering.

Back at Lock 7 after the bagel, I noticed a Dutch Barge moored just outside the lock on the Avon. Thought I “being double width locks on the K&A and the Avon and Severn rivers after, there must be many such barges using these waterways.


 Not querying the barge further I found nb Viola Sarah approaching Lock 7. The boat is owned by Brendan who lives on the boat. He tells me he is a gardener by profession and travels to and moors at the vicinity of his work in the area.



After nb Viola Sarah had exited the lock onto the Avon, the afore mentioned Dutch Barge entered the lock to go up the K&A. Altough my recolections of the earlier encounter with a Dutch Barge were clouded with hunger and semi sleep, something was familiar about the barge.

A chat with the skipper, Bob Lewis, me saying “Didn’t I see you earlier this morning going down Lock 8/9?”, produced an interesting explanation from him.

It, indeed, was he and his barge travelling down to the Avon. But…..once onto the open waters a high wind seized the barge and ignored the wishes of the skipper, propeller and rudder. In fact Bob tells me he was in full reverse to retrace his steps back to Lock 7, but the wind showed no mercy and drove him on. Bob had to use a collision with the bank to halt his enforced progress toward the Severn. Skilfull skipper as he is, he won the day but decided to retreat back up into the K&A to await calmer conditions.

I talked to Bob during his Lock 7 manouvres and the next day. He is the owner of Dutch Barge Louise, a fine vessel in my opinion. He is retired and has given up dry land residence by selling his house to his daughter procuring his wonderful barge. He took delivery 4 months ago and lives aboard. His aim is to keep moving around the suitable canal system, not long term mooring anywhere, eg during the winter. He handles the barge alone with moral support from his very large and handsome Bull Mastif who, Bob very sensibly insists, remains below decks during manouvres.

Unfortunately he has a few simple engineering problems with his boat which those he has appraoched for repare have quoted very high fees. He can’t afford these and is in danger of losing his boat (and hence his home!). So, please, if anyone can offer engineering support for his superb vessel at affordable rates please add a comment for him.

He’s a great, generous guy who needs a leg up! Please help!

Many thanks to Brendan and Bob for allowing me to use them in my tales on the blog.

(photos sub standard as I’m on holiday!)


PLEASE leave a COMMENT to add to or correct this post.