Easter on the Kennet and Avon Canal

Crofton - Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire, England

March 2002

Early morning on the Kennet and Avon Canal, in the summit pound above Crofton. These keen fishermen were up and settled on the bank well before we rose to face the day.

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Another early morning picture of the summit pound above Crofton. The bridge is typical of those that cross the canal at regular intervals.

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The family narrowboat, Helva, named for Anne McCaffrey's "ship who sang". Because of her long, thin dimensions --57 feet long by just under 7 feet wide-- she has been likened to a "steel sausage". The width is constrained by the size of locks on the narrow-beam canals of the British waterways. (The Kennet and Avon, pictured here, is a broad beam canal capable of carrying boats up to nearly 14 feet wide, or two narrowboats side-by-side, through its locks.

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A lock can just be seen through the bridge. Alongside the canal runs a track and a railway. Railways and canals often run together as they have similar needs for modest inclines.

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The helm's view from inside a partly-emptied lock.

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Left: Crofton pumping station. Once, this steam-powered installation would pump water from Wilton Water (below) up to the canal summit to provide sufficient water for the navigation and lock operation. Now, electric powered back-pumping is used, and the old steam pumping engine is maintained separately by a group of enthusiasts.

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Below: Wilton Water, a reservoir used to supply the Kennet and Avon canal summit.

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Another view from inside a lock.

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Above left: The approach to Great Bedwyn.

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Below left: Approaching Bedwyn Lock. By this time, we were in the middle of the Devizes-to-Westminster canoe race, which is why there were numerous spectators here.

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Above right: Approaching an isolated lock between Little Bedwyn and Froxfield.

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Below right: A swan resting in the meadow beside the canal.

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