Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back up the Severn

We had a couple of quiet nights on Baker’s Wharf, next to Llantony Bridge. This pontoon mooring is on the offside and the offices alongside are not in use, so there’s no pedestrian traffic going past.
It’s handy for the town centre as well, although that’s a bit chaotic at the moment, dust and noise as some roads are pedestrianised.

This morning dawned beautifully, bright blue skies and a warm sun at half past six. But the clouds rolled in again before we left. I managed to get these shots before the light died, though.

Panorama of the docks from Llantony Bridge. Look how still the water is….
Llantony PrioryWe were away through the lift bridge at 09:00, straight into the lock across the basin. I’d given the lockie a call, and he’d set up ready for us.
We dropped down in company with NB Forget Me Not. We’d met Dave and Ann and their two terriers further up the canal, and they caught us up here last night.
They were going up to Upton, though, staying on the Severn where we turned off to Tewkesbury.

Leaving Gloucester on the East Channel, Dave and Ann on Forget Me Not following.
The winding, fairly narrow East Channel takes you back onto the main river at Upper Parting. The West Channel leads down to a weir and a derelict lock, beyond which is the junction to the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal.

This is another navigation built to take advantage of the excellent trade route that is the River Severn. 34 miles and 20 narrow locks took boats to Hereford, but it was short lived, opening in 1845 but becoming a casualty of railway expansion in 1881. But it looks like restoration and reconnection to the main network via the River Severn is a possibility, thanks to the hard work of the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Trust.

We had an uneventful trip back up the river to the Avon confluence just outside Tewkesbury.
The river wasn’t very busy, half a dozen boats coming down, and just one overtaking us.

Move over, coming past.
We had an early lunch on the move….bacon butties, excellent.
And this guy was enjoying his as well. I think I prefer mine, though. Raw eel, anyone?
We were cruising comfortably at 1100 rpm, recording 4¼mph on the GPS, so made Upper Lode Lock by noon.

Into Upper Lode Lock
This chamber is huge, with a bowl-shaped section at the downstream end. Originally divided by a third set of gates that have been removed long since, it was designed to pass a tug and a train of barges in one go. The whole chamber is used now, and we were a bit dwarfed on our own. We’d left Forget Me Not behind.

Shortly after Upper Lode we turned into the River Avon, and arrived at Avon Lock just as the keeper knocked off for lunch.

Turning onto the Avon
Approaching Avon Lock.
At 2 o’clock, when he came back on duty, the lock-keeper gently brought us up the 6 feet or so to the Avon river level, while politely relieving us of £45 for a 7 day licence, £3 for an overnight mooring above the lock and £6.50 for a new guide to both the lower and upper sections of the river.

In Avon Lock.I’d had a rummage through the archive and found an old guide to the Upper Avon, but thought it best to get a bit more up to date. It must be over 20 years since we were last here, doing the Avon Ring on a hire boat out of Evesham.

The pretty lock garden.
This is the last lock we’ll have done for us, now the work begins! Where did I put that windlass?

Locks 3, miles 14.

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