Friday, July 16, 2010

A very long day….

Eight hours from Worcester to Gloucester. Mostly into a brisk headwind. Certainly puts colour into your cheeks.

We were moored last night right alongside Worcester Racecourse, so Meg and I had to have a walk around the circuit.

Worcester Racecourse and the Cathedral
It was a very wet windy night, and there was a light shower while I was out with Meg this morning, but the sky was clearing as we set off just before 8 o’clock.

The Cathedral from under Worcester Road Bridge
Just a mile away is Diglis Lock, not far after the connection to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.

Canal Junction

Diglis Lock
We shared the lock with another narrowboat and a dinghy going to act as Safety Boat for a crew painting a bridge below the lock.

Leaving Diglis Lock
The river is pretty remote, villages on either bank hidden by the woods and high banks. Upton is one of the settlements that was built on the river, and is a popular stopping point.

Upton Upon Severn
This morning the moorings were all full, there’s a Blues Festival on this weekend.

Commercial carrying is all but extinct on the Severn, but there’s still some aggregate moved by barge. It’s only short haul, though.

Loaded near the M50….
And discharged 2½ miles upstream at Ryall Wharf.
There are some exposed reaches where the wind raised some substantial waves to butt through….
The trip had a logical half-way point at Upper Lode Lock. The lock-keeper here gave us advice about the procedure on our arrival Gloucester. He also confirmed that there’s a high spring tide, due to reach it’s height at around 1 o’clock.

Upper Lode Lock
Tides are not normally a problem on the Severn above Gloucester, but high springs back up over the weirs and reverse the flow up to Upper Lode. And that's just what happened today. The lockie at Upper Lode recommended that we pause at the moorings at The Lower Lode Inn till just after 1 o’clock, so we’d arrive at Gloucester to meet the 4 o’clock locking and avoid most of the debris brought up on the flood.

The Lower Lode Inn

The trade here must be very seasonal. Apart from the moorings on the river, there are a couple of caravan sites nearby. Must be quiet in the winter, though.

Avoid the floods. Stick your mobile home on stilts!
We left at 10 past the hour and made good time till Haw Bridge. Over the distance of a mile it felt like we started to slow down, so I checked the GPS and we were down from 5½ mph to just 2½mph as the tide started to flood. I hadn’t expected it to rise so fast. I put on another couple of hundred revs to take her up to 1200 RPM, and managed to get up to 3mph, but wasn't prepared to push it any further.
Pushing against the flow wasn’t the least of it, either. I had to continually slalom around floating debris washing up towards us.

FlotsamThen it was all change as the tide turned at around 3 o’clock, and we gained another 5mph quickly. I dropped the revs and we were still doing 6mph over the ground, dodging logs going in the same direction now.

I gave Gloucester Lock a ring at Upper Parting where the channel splits, the navigable one down to the docks being to the east. The narrower channel speeded up the outgoing flow even more, we were down to just over tickover to maintain steerage as we approached the lock.
The channel veers off to the right at the entrance to the lock and tries to take you with it, so you have to be careful not to get hung up on the bullnose. But a squirt of throttle and a waggle of the tiller took us into the chamber.
After a few weeks of going downhill I’d forgotten that this one is up, and deep with it. Mags had to scramble around to get the longer stern rope out of the locker to tie up.
We were joined by another 4 boats, arriving over the next 10 minutes, and then had a gentle rise up to the level of the docks and the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

In Gloucester Lock
Exiting the lock we motored across and moored below the row of converted warehouses on the east side of the dock. There are pontoon moorings here for quite a few boats.

I’ll post some pics of the docks tomorrow. I’ve had enough today.
Although it’s stayed dry, the wind from the southwest has been hard work, and shoving against the current makes a heavy tiller. My shoulders ache tonight.

Locks 3, miles 30.


Anonymous said...

We went from Tewkesbury to Gloucester a few years ago and it is a bit of a slog - even without your adventures on the spring tide!

I don't know if you've been that way before but if you haven't then the view from Sharpness pays for all.....

Sue, Indigo Dream

Geoff and Mags said...

Thanks Sue
No, this our first time down here. Day off today (Saturday) then we'll be heading down the canal tomorrow.
Looking forward to Sharpness....
Regards, Geoff