Friday, 11 September 2015

Going West: Day 11

We have thoroughly enjoyed our time on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. Gloucester Dock is a really great mooring, and must be one of the best city moorings we've been to.

We were all ready to go at 8 this morning when the lock keeper comes on duty, so I radioed him to ask about going down the lock onto the River Severn. Unlike the keeper we'd spoken to yesterday, he thought there was a possibility the high tide could come over the weirs into the part of the river outside the lock, so advised we waited half an hour. I went to see him at around 8.30, and it appeared the tide hadn't come over the weir, so we were good to go. If the tide does come high enough, the problem is that it brings all the debris from the weir with it -- including big bits of tree, and apparently, the odd dead cow. Tides are getting higher as we go through the month; when we were at Sharpness a couple of days ago, it was a 5m tide -- but in a few days time they're over 10m. The lock keeper said a 10m tide added six feet to the height of the water outside the lock.

So we headed into the lock, which empties much faster than it fills, and were soon out onto the Severn.

This part of the river is very narrow, so the current is increased. It felt as it we were going very slowly, but actually reached Upper Parting, where the river divides, in about 40 minutes. It's three miles, so we actually weren't going that slowly at all. After that the river widens, so the going is easier. After a couple of hours, Tewkesbury Abbey came into view straight ahead.

A boat was just coming out of Upper Lode lock when we got there, so we could go straight up. The lock keeper's dog kept a close eye on us.

The next bit of river is fairly narrow again, and it was also quite breezy which whipped up some little waves -- very different from the flat calm when we came the other way on Monday. Back then, the aggregates wharf by the M50 bridge had two boats on it; today it was empty, so I wondered if we might see one of the barges working. Sure enough, a bit further on Perch came round the corner. And at the wharf at the other end of the run, Elver was being unloaded by a digger.

There are quite a few outfalls alomg the way, and I'd noticed the other day that they have the name Ham Baker on them. This is the company that back in the 1930s designed and build the candlestick paddle gear on the Grand Union between Calcutt and Knowle. I was about to take a photo of one of the covers when what looked suspiciously like a mink ran across the front of it. You can just see it on the right hand side.

Upton came and went -- there was no space on the pontoon, but as it was only 1.30 we'd already decided to carry on anyway. Adrian had been busy during these long lock-free sections, baking a lovely apple and cinnamon cake, which we had with afternoon tea.

On a narrow corner just before Worcester, the Conway Castle, the trip boat from Upton, appeared in front of us.

We rose up through Diglis River Lock -- relatively deep at 7ft 11in. We'd planned to stop on the CRT pontoons just above the lock, but they were full, although if everyone had moored closer to one another there would have been room for us. So we carried on to the moorings by Worcester Race Course. We made sure we were well above the footbridge -- when we were here on Debdale years ago, we moored the town side of the bridge and had drunken students running up and down the roof in the early hours!

With such a long day of travelling with few locks, our miles total has overtaken our locks total for the first time this trip.

30 miles, 3 locks. (151 miles, 127 locks)


1 comment:

Pamela Porter said...

Lovely picture of Tewkesbury Abbey. I think l can see the mihk. Hope weather stays fine for you. Lots of love. M and P.