Saturday, 18 June 2011

June Cruise - Day Eight

We knew we couldn't go anywhere very early this morning as Avon Lock doesn't open until 9am, so perhaps that's why it was almost 8 before we woke up.  The lock keeper had told us yesterday to wait on the water point just behind our mooring when we were ready to use the lock, so after breakfast we turned the boat -- me standing on the bank with a bow rope, and Adrian powering the stern around.  As we were on the water point, we took the opportunity to fill the tank.

At 9 the lock keeper filled the lock, and told us the best way to get in (as the lock is at right angles to the river).  He took a bow rope and wrapped it round a bollard, and on his signal I pushed the tiller over and put some power on to swing the stern around.  The lock keeper was very apologetic that he'd opened only one gate -- a real no-no on his watch, apparently!  Once down the lock, we went the short distance to the junction with the River Severn keeping well to the southern bank in order to avoid a sandbar, and making sure we could see all of Mythe Bridge before making the right turn up the river.

On the Severn, we were going against the flow and had a few more revs on than usual, so I was keeping a watch on the engine temperature.  But the needle stayed exactly where it usually is.  Adrian downloaded a cycling GPS app on his iPhone, so we could see how fast we were going.  It reckoned we were doing 4.6mph.  There aren't many landmarks on the Severn -- even bridges are in short supply.  But we did pass an aggregates wharf with four big barges moored up.

Upton-on-Severn is about the only place along here which has a proper waterfront.  A trip boat was being loaded with passengers.

The weather was very changeable, with warm sunshine followed by short showers.  Wildlife highlights included two swans flying past the boat at head height (I had no idea their wings made such a noise), a group of seven herons which followed the boat for a bit, and a couple of fish which jumped right out of the water (one just yards in front of a fisherman).

On the approach to Worcester there's a footbridge which isn't shown on any of our maps, then immediately behind is Diglis River Lock.

We had to wait for what seemed like ages.  It turned out that a boat was coming down.  In the lock, it looks huge.

Once out of the lock, the views of Worcester are spectacular as we approached the pontoon landing for the locks up to the canal.

I went and opened the gate of the bottom lock and Adrian made the turn off the river, watched by a number of gongoozlers.

The top lock has a very stiff paddle on the towpath side.  It took me and a passerby together to get it moving.  While rising in the lock the heavens opened, so we were relieved to moor up just before Bridge 2 and have a late lunch.  In the afternoon, we popped down to the chandlery at the basin to get a card for the pump out machine, which is just a couple of boat lengths behind us.  Then we walked into town (where Adrian had another unsuccessful conversation with yet another 3 Store), and we went to the National Trust property, Greyfriars.

We were sweltering when the sun was out, but got soaked again on the way back to the boat.  With a long river run and only four locks today, our miles total for the trip now exceeds our locks total for the first time since day one.  That will change again tomorrow!

16 miles, 4 locks.  (105, 104)


Captain Ahab said...

I will watch your progress - when do you plan to be in Brum?

Adam said...

If all goes to plan, we should arrive in Brum on Tuesday, and we'll stay the night. We usually try to moor at the Oozells St loop or nearby.

Steve Heaven said...

If you're in Worcester again carry on up river for 1/2 a mile or so then turn round an go back to get on the W&B. By turning straight into Diglis basin you missed the best bits of the riverside views.

Adam said...

Hi Steve, we have done the arrival in Worcester from the other direction, during our Debdale days. One of my favourite photos shows the cathedral through the bridge: