Monday, 7 September 2015

Going West: Day 7

We had a great evening with Andy and Helen last night. We provided roast chicken and roast potatoes, they brought a huge tray of roast veg; then as neither boat could rustle up a dessert, we got out cheese and crackers, and Helen provided chutney -- I particularly liked the apple and chilli jelly, but the tomato and ginger chutney was also good. All available here!

Having demolished a few bottles of wine last night, we were up a bit later than usual. But by around 8.30 we were reversing out into the river and swinging round to go south. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and very still. There are many lock-free miles with nothing much other than banks and trees to look at, but the river was still a real pleasure.

At Tewkesbury we passed the entrance to the River Avon. The town doesn't really show itself from the Severn, so there's not much to see. This was now new territory for both of us, and almost immediately comes Upper Lode Lock. Here the lock keeper lowed a bucket containing an information sheet about the next stretch of river, which is semi-tidal, and how to get into Gloucester Lock without coming to grief. Upper Lode Lock itself is a very odd shape. At the far end it widens out and has sloping sides.

There's then the long run down to Gloucester, with again relatively little to look at, bar the odd waterside pub which at least helps you know where you are on the map. At Upper Parting, the river divides, with an unnavigable bit going off to the right. The route we had to take was quite narrow. As per instructions, I radioed the lock keeper at Gloucester to let him know we were on our way.

I radioed again when we were half a mile away, going under the rail and road bridges. He said the lock would be ready for us. Then the dock wall comes into sight. The instructions are to stay close to the wall and keep the power on until you're in the lock, otherwise the river flowing off to the right can pull you towards the weir.

In the lock, we tied up forward of the swing bridge. The lock is 200ft long, so there's no need to swing the bridge. Then the docks reveal themselves as you rise in the lock. We moored on a pontoon and went for lunch in a brew pub.

In the afternoon, we decided to go through Llantony lift bridge to the water point, as we haven't topped up the tank for a few days; we also needed to empty the loo, and there's a convenient Elsan point there. We had to wait for another boat to finish up. The water pressure was pathetic, so the tank isn't actually full. Then we returned through the bridge and moored up again. Then we went for another walk round the docks; it was a bit late to go to the museum, so we might do that tomorrow morning. Outside the museum is Oak, which is in rather worse condition than Amy and James's Willow.

19 miles, 2 locks. (89 miles, 124 locks)

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