In order not to exceed the allotted 48 hours on the mooring at Bath, and it being a beautiful late afternoon, we started the long trek back towards the Thames after tea, turning round in the Sydney Street winding hole, before having a short but pleasant meander and mooring at Bathampton for the night.
Setting off the next day past Dundas aqueduct and approaching Avoncliff aqueduct, running parallel to the railway, we heard a steam engine hauled train heading up the valley, and Fran was most disappointed not to see it.
Managing to get moored at Avoncliff, the pub was as quaint as advertised, and the views from the aqueduct splendid. It would have been rude not to have a Guinness before continuing our potter east-wards.
And although it wasn’t a steam train, we did see an ordinary one stopping at the miniscule Avoncliff station.
Passing through Bradford-on-Avon it was much quieter than it was on the previous weekend, and with no particular reason to stop, we parked up in the middle of nowhere but fairly close to the railway, on the outskirts of Hilperton cum Trowbridge.
Whereupon, with that lonesome whistle calling again, Fran grabbed the binoculars and rushed out, to return a few minutes later proclaiming proudly that “it was 35028”, which as any train-spotter worth her salt will know is the Merchant Navy class Clan Line. Must have seen it many times in my boyhood while waiting for trains to/from school at various stations on the Waterloo main line, or standing on the foot-bridges between Raynes Park and Wimbledon after school, getting steamy and sooty. Wonder where my old Ian Allan book of numbers went…