|Moving up through the picturesque Wooton Rivers locks|
It is all down hill from here to the River Thames at Reading, though a long drawn out, slow down hill of forty something locks strung out across nearly as many miles.
|Pewsey's statue of King Alfred stands in the village centre|
I suppose it was inevitable but shortly after I'd commented to Harrywoman that the K&A might be shallow at the edges but as a wide canal it was always decently deep in the middle when we ground through some filth in a bridge hole and spent the next five miles churning slowly through shallow, silty waters.
The trouble is that for mile after mile the banks are eroded, eating right into the towpath in places, so the canal has become wider and shallower, and more and more silt has been deposited into it. Presumably piling of the edges isn't allowed by the nature lovers so eco-friendly new banks are being laid with painstaking slowness. It was never a problem when the canal's boats were horse-drawn but the coming of power – and especially the 'too fast' brigade has created it.
Guide book opinions differ on Pewsey. Michael Pearson says it 'admirably repays a visit' while Nicholsons says it has 'the usual mixture of buildings; while many are attractive, few are noteworthy'.
We'd go with the latter: aside from a decent Co-op and a charity shop the shops are esoteric in the extreme – galleries, bespoke furniture makers and a clock restorer. And, all the while, the little town is pulverised by main A-road traffic. Even the pleasant little station, just out of town, seems not quite up to its extravagant praise in both guides.
|Brian meets Sally: a friend from a boat we locked with|
|Burbage Wharf, once a working site by the summit tunnel|
|The picture postcard village of Wilton|