Returning upstream we stopped above Shillingford lock for the night before joining the Kennet & Avon navigation at Reading early the next morning.
Even though it hasn't rained much recently the Kennet is a frisky little river and there was noticeably more flow against us as we worked through the city. Part of the navigation is one-way and controlled by traffic lights so we had to press the button and wait for the green light.
The Kennet winds out of Reading in a narrow, fast flowing channel. Virtually every lock seems to be a different size or design and the first one out of Reading is a whopper, probably over 100' long, which is no bad thing given the strong bywash which crosses the lock at its entrance.
We stopped early once we got a little way out of Reading, giving David time to mentally prepare himself for his annual baking effort - a (belated) birthday cake for Victoria.
Next day we came across a really unusual lock - these are turf sided locks which have no walls as such, the water fills all around the boat and the boat is held in place by metal beams. They were a feature of the K&A (amongst others) but only two now remain.
The river is right at the heart of Newbury and the channel up to Newbury lock is really pretty. This is another lock the guidebook suggests you set ahead as the river current can be quite strong through Newbury and there are cross-flows beneath the lock. Again we did as we were told and had no problems.