We left Gloucester Dock on Thursday morning, after just the one night. Unfortunately it's not very Amber friendly, and a bit too busy for Mags and I too!
Heading out onto the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal from the dock.
We passed through Llanthony Bridge which marks the end of the dock and the start of the canal, used the facilities there, then moved on out of town, mooring for a couple of nights just past the southern bypass bridge, Netherbridge Swing Bridge.
Llanthony Swing Bridge
Moored for a night or two.
When the bypass was built they wanted to construct a bridge over the canal with enough headroom to allow most traffic to pass without having to open it. So they changed the line of the canal here, leaving two short stubs of the original line. A family of swans had made their home in one of them...
All of the bridges crossing the canal are movable, even the largest. But the first three after we left on Thursday are high enough that us little boats can get under.
Rea Swing Bridge, 7'7" air gap so plenty for us.
All of the bridges are staffed, no self-service along here. The original bridge-keepers houses are delightful whitewashed bungalows with a pillared entrance. All sold off now of course.
This does mean that it's a lazy canal to cruise, and also that there's nobody on the water after tea-time.
We pulled in after less than 2 hours just before Saul Junction, a popular spot for long-term and visitor moorings, and day trippers too.
Saul Junction is where the Stroudwater Navigation joins and crosses the larger canal, the western branch dropping down to the Severn, through two locks with the lower being tidal, and the eastern line running to Stroud where it made an end-to-end connection with the Thames and Severn Canal which linked up to the Thames at Lechlade. The western branch is pretty much filled in. Both canals heading east are now partially derelict, but restoration is proposed.
A quarter mile of the Stroudwater is used for moorings up to an impassable road bridge.
This morning, after a chilly start and under grey skies, we headed off past the junction with it's swing bridge.
We pulled in to make use of the "boaters facilities" and got caught up by the two large charity trip boats run by The Willow Trust while we waited for Sandfield Swing Bridge.
Once through the bridge I was going to wave them past as I was pulling in for a quick trip up to the little shop in Frampton, but there was something coming the other way...
This is the brig La Malouine, first of the ships heading up to the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival over the Jubilee Weekend. There'll be some more, not sure how many though, over the next day or two.
The canal becomes more remote as it heads down to Sharpness, the only settlements appearing around the bridge crossings, including the delightfully named Splatt (should really have an exclamation mark like Westward Ho!...)
Looking out over the Severn estuary.
That's Hereford over there.
We pulled in soon after Patch Bridge, not far from the Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve. And the hamlet of Shepherd's Patch.
In between the showers tomorrow we'll just have a short cruise to Purton, a mile or two this side of Sharpness.
Locks 0, miles 12.