Family Boat Trip 2016

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The Kennet and Avon Canal from Hilperton to Bath and back.


Address and contact details of the boatyard

Hilperton Marina
Hammond Way
BA14 8RS

Tel.: 01225 765 243

Documents supplied by the boatyard


Monday 23rd May 2016 → Friday 27th May 2016.

We need to take charge of the boat at 2.30pm on the Monday and return it by 9am on the Friday.

Getting there

Pre-trip pub

The Old Bear Inn, BA14 6PB, 01225 782487.



There's a Sainsbury's nearby at 10 British Row, Trowbridge BA14 8GF.

Boat information

This year's boat is "Lark". It has two fixed double beds. There are two bathrooms each with a toilet and shower.


Whilst the boat does have a television, we have never before been very successful in tuning them, so best not to plan on watching any TV.

Electrical power

The boat has a 12v charger point like you have in a car. It's listed as having 240v normal mains sockets as well.

Stuff we generally need

  • Waterpoof map case for the guide books.
  • 12v car power socket to USB power, for charging phones etc.
  • Can't find it. I'll do without. – Andy
  • GPS.
(This is not for navigation! Obviously there's only two possible ways to go, and as the boat is longer than the canal is wide you can't turn around by accident anyway without breaking the laws of physics. It's so that we can put in the waypoints that are of interest and have some idea how we are progressing without having to keep referring to maps and bridge/lock numbers.)
  • Batteries for radios.
  • Got them. – Andy


Two-way radios have proven useful in the past. Otherwise the person steering can't speak with anyone that's not with them on the stern. Talking to people ahead preparing locks is also of benefit. At least two?

  • Borrowed 2 from popey, bought 2 more. – Andy

Stuff each person needs to bring

Space on the boat will be limited, so try not to over pack. Flexible compressible baggage (backpacks etc) will be easier to stow than cases.

Note that all bed linen is provided so you don't need to bring any of that. You will need to bring your own towel however. All cooking utensils and crockery etc. are also provided.

  • Waterproof clothing.
We may end up having to steer the boat and do locks in the pouring rain.
  • Gloves.
For locks.
  • A torch.
If you have one; we may run out of power some nights, plus for walking to pub, etc. Towpaths are generally unlit and tripping over a mooring pin into the canal would not be awesome.
  • Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses.
Just in case it happens to be sunny.

Clothing considerations

Casual clothing that you don't mind getting dirty/worn is best. Jeans are fine, though if it rains can get waterlogged. Due to the possible weather conditions do bring a few sets of clothing as you may end up stuck outdoors in the rain for several hours after which you'll definitely want a change of clothes. Because we have to continue to make progress even in pouring rain, having at least a waterproof jacket with hood is recommended. The boatyard should supply one set of waterproofs for the steerer, but you might prefer your own and other people also need to be outside to do locks/bridges.

Footwear with decent grip is essential. Trainers are good most of the time, though if it's raining a pair of boots won't go a miss. You'll probably want to have more than one set of footwear in case one set gets soaked and needs to be dried.

There will be drying facilities to some extent on the boat, though obviously drying space is limited. There will be some radiators and an airing cupboard.

Some smartish clothes will be needed if we visit The Pump Room.

Entertainment etc.

  • Cards
  • Books
  • Music
  • Bananagrams

Planned route and schedule for the trip

Start at Hilperton marina, travel West to somewhere just outside Bristol and then come back again. CanalPlanAC

Overall statistics of the route itself

Total distance is 47.48 miles and 24 locks. There are at least 4 moveable bridges; 4 small aqueducts or underbridges; 4 tunnels (including Beckford Road Tunnel and Cleveland House Tunnel) and 4 major aqueducts (including Avoncliffe Aqueduct and Dundas Aqueduct).

This is made up of 25.12 miles of broad canals; 22.35 miles of small rivers; 24 broad locks.

This will take 20 hours, 54 minutes. You have asked for it to be done in 3 days, each of which will be 5 hours and 18 minutes.

CSV of places with coordinates

Some guesses as to where we would like to start / end each day

In the unlikely event that we really need to push it, sun rise and sun set will be the limit of when we can drive the boat. They're at approximately 05:06 BST and 21:06 BST respectively.

Mon 23rd May

We get access to the boat possibly as early as 14:30, maybe as late as 16:00.

Suggested stop: Bathampton Bridge No. 183 (guide book page 71)
Suggested pubs: The George Inn, BA2 6TR, 01225 425079. Very close to bridge 183.
Stats: 10.09 miles and 1 lock and will take 3 hours 41 minutes.

Tue 24th May

We will pass Sainsbury's Moorings between bridges 200 and 201 just West of Bath.

Suggested start: Bathampton Bridge No. 183 (guide book page 71)
Suggested stop: Somewhere between Swineford Lock No. 3 and Avon Valley Railway Bridge (bridge 211, Bitton Railway Bridge in guide, page 67)
Suggested pubs: The Swan, BS30 6LN, 0117 932 3101. "200-year-old stone-built cottage pub. Home-cooked food available until 9pm." Close to Swineford Lock No. 3
Stats: (Assuming stop at Avon Valley Railway Bridge) This is 10.62 miles and 10 locks and will take 5 hours 17 minutes not counting time spent in Bath.
Have a look around Bath in the morning
  • Need to moor up somewhere after Bath Bottom Lock No. 7 which we'll probably reach within about 2 hours of starting off.

Wed 25th May

We will reach the limit of our Westward journey early on this day and turn around. We should start early (~9am?) in order to reach Bath in plenty of time to visit The Pump Room.

We will pass Sainsbury's Moorings between bridges 201 and 200 just West of Bath.

Suggested start: Avon Valley Railway Bridge (bridge 211, Bitton Railway Bridge in guide, page 67)
Turn at: Hanham Lock Weir Entrance (just before Hanham Lock No. 1), reached maybe 1 hour after starting off (guide book page 66).
Suggested stop: Lower Bristol Road Footbridge No. 197 (guide book page 71).
Suggested pubs: The choice of all of Bath.
Stats: This is 13.97 miles and 6 locks and will take 5 hours 55 minutes.
Afternoon tea at The Pump Room

Thu 26th May

Suggested start: Lower Bristol Road Footbridge No. 197 (guide book page 71).
Suggested stop: Bradford on Avon Lock No. 14 (guide book page 76).
Suggested pubs:
  • Lock Inn and Canal Tavern both near Bradford on Avon Lock No. 14.
  • Mahrja Indian restaurant over the road from the pubs.
Stats: This is 9.98 miles and 6 locks and will take 5 hours 1 minute.

Fri 27th May

The boat needs to be returned by 9am today, so we'll need an early start.

Suggested start: Bradford on Avon Lock No. 14 (guide book page 76).
Suggested pubs: The Old Bear Inn, BA14 6PB, 01225 782487 is about ⅓ mile from the marina.
Stats: This is 2.82 miles and 1 lock and will take 1 hour.


No relevant stoppages

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