22 August 2011
Lady talks River cruises. Then Canal rage!
We are cruising along the River Severn, as I pen this. The morning cruise is beautiful and the river has been like a mill pond. We are heading for Stourport-on-Severn and then going to turn onto the
(Staffs & Worcs). Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal
The River Avon cruise passed quickly. Probably going downstream helped this passage. A pretty winding river with very little, in the way of, free mooring. Most of the locks had overnight mooring but little or no access to nearby towns unless it was possible to walk on water at the adjacent weirs! We had purchased a 7 day ticket (₤50) to use the
Avon as this river is not part of British Waterways. (For the use of canals & some rivers we pay a yearly registration with British Waterways). Evesham was a fab Charity Shop centre, and free moorings near downtown. Pretty night light views from our window. A bit of rowing happening on the river in the evening as the club was opposite where we moored. Next day started with a bit of rain and the first lock had some newbies in it. I offered to assist but they were reluctant wanting to do it all themselves. Actually, she was happy for a hand but Mr Captain thought that was not the done thing! I felt their tension and I empathized with her. After they had gone we found a nearly new pair of gloves they must have left behind (just what we needed as ours were at the holey overuse stage). I hope she didn’t get into trouble! The funniest place name we encountered was Wyre Piddle and there was a free mooring site, for a drink, at the riverside pub. The opposite bank (no mooring) was . As it was midday when we arrived there we had lunch, had a little walk, had a little beer and headed to Pershore which had the best free mooring on the banks of the park and only metres away from the supermarket and shops. Also the best kept, cleanest and sweetest smelling public conveniences (that’s what they were called) I have ever used! The toilet attendant gave me a card to fill in, in the hope Pershore Public Conveniences would win the Public Convenience competition. Tiddle Widdle Island
The nearby Pershore lock was a tricky one as the lock was a diamond shape and it was not possible to snuggle AM close to the lock wall. 14 miles later we came to the end of the navigable
Avon River at Tewkesbury. A sweet town with some beautiful Tudor and Elizabethan houses………………….
….We had just arrived at the last “manned Lock” on the River Severn, so I had to stop typing and go and assist the safe upward passage of AM and accompanying boats. Avalon Mist was a key part of this lock filling and we had a bit of chat with boaties tied on to us. It was the first time I’d been so close to the front gates and the possibility of water gushing in. But somehow the filling of these locks on the River Severn water doesn’t pour in within view, as is usual on Canal locks where you keep your distance. On leaving the Lock we came quickly to Stourport-on-Severn. We knew there were Locks to experience in order to leave the River. So the Lock we needed to use was for a 7ft beam. It was a staircase Lock which means it is 2 Locks dependent on the other’s action to work, meaning the boat gets lowered or raised in 2 sequential moves. It seemed straight forward, at the time. We moored in the ‘Only mooring for lock’ and checked out the territory. A short climb and we see the initial staircase. A boat is coming into the top part of the staircase Lock and we liaise with a fellow ‘boatee’ from the last Severn Lock. We thought they were there first so they may as well go in to this Lock after the current boat that was leaving the flight. So we went back and pulled AM into queue no. 1 position. Then we went up to the Lock to help. That done we both had to go back to AM to facilitate her sharp right turn into the lower staircase lock. All good but the gates were not left open. At the gates, I jumped off AM and opened the gates, leaving it for Chris to shut them and I went ahead and to get the Lock above filled. As I went up I saw the lock was full (as we had expected) but the gate was open. I was pushing it shut when this man, windlass in hand, came rushing to me telling me the lock was his, they were coming down and I was not to shut the gate! I said we were already in the bottom lock, he said we must get back out on to the River. Suddenly it was Canal rage. A lot of words went flying and the intensity of the encounter was not pleasant. Windlasses were waved!
Our Lock mates, Barbara & Roy, were really supportive and
had come back to help us get up the next staircase, hassle free. Barbara was moored outside the top Lock and was going to stop anyone coming down while Roy wanted to wind up the ladders with me and open the Lock gates. So we got to the marina basin area and on our way to the next Lock we found diesel and gas at a reasonable price. That was good news. And then Chris’s John Lennon prescription sunglasses plummeted into the Canal and sunk! That wasn’t good news. Roy
But we are back on the Canal’s’. The River Severn was an adventure in that we went to
Gloucester, stayed in the (in the old docklands) with free 48 hr moorings. The city shopping was just down the road and round the corner. So was the amazing Gloucester Cathedral. We had gone from Tewkesbury down to Gloucester Basin Gloucester, a journey of 14 miles and thought we’d go to Sharpness (on the Gloucester and ). But we decided not to go on to Sharpness but to ‘wind’ and head to Sharpness Canal (30 miles away by boat). If we had gone to Sharpness we were only a short distance along the Bristol Cannel to another Worcester Avon River and the , where our Adventure started. Kennet & Avon Canal
with a selection of boats sharing the Lock and cruised out in an orderly line for a mile or 2. Then the bigger plastic boats put their foot down and overtook us. We were heading for Gloucester , only 20 miles away. Chris put the revs up on AM, as we were going on upstream and we made good time and got to Upton after @ 5 hrs cruising. Upton-on-Severn is a cute little riverside town. Elizabethan houses and 16 pubs. There used to be many more pubs in the shipping days. A big tall wall is planned to be built as a safeguard against the River Severn-in-flood. Upton
We headed to
, yesterday, and had a brief squizz at downtown, found Tescos then back to AM moored on ₤3.50 overnight moorings. The signage clearly stated the terms of mooring. It is really hard to find moorings on the R. Severn, a high banked deep river prone to flooding. We were preparing to leave this morning when I saw something like a parking ticket stuck on our bedroom window. We had had a calling card from the ‘Park Ranger, he hadn’t knocked or made himself known but he had written us the bill! I was envisaging a trip to the Council office but Chris said he had just seen a high vis jacket in the distance. I ran off and met Mr High-Vis and asked him if this bill was from him. He smiled and said yes, so I gave him the money, he gave me the receipt and I put it in my scrap album. Worcester
And then we cruised up the beautiful
Severn River. Today it was like a Mill Pond……