After yesterday's glorious sunshine, today started off murky and chilly. We started of going for a walk around the centre of Gloucester, including the main shopping streets and the Cathedral.
Returning to the docks area we had tea and coffee in a cafe, then when the Waterways Museum opened at 10.30 we went for a look round. It's quite a nice museum, with loads of old photos of places we know -- and would be really good if you had children, as there's plenty for them to do.
We went back to the boat and set off, having Llanthony Bridge raised for us.
We stopped shortly afterwards at the canal side Sainsbury's, which has four hour moorings right outside. You can get the trolley right up to the boat, so we stocked up on heavy things like bottled water and wine. It was lunchtime by the time we'd finished, so we had lunch on board before setting off again.
The Gloucester and Sharpness canal has no locks, but there are lots of swing bridges. Only a few are high enough to get under, the others have to be swung out of the way. There's a traffic light system, and a red flashing light means the bridge keeper has seen you and is preparing the bridge. Some are electric, but others are manual. There are also mile posts which tell you how far far you are from Gloucester and Sharpness.
Once out of Gloucester, there are some great views from the canal -- Cotswold Edge to one side, the Forest of Dean to the other, and the Malvern hills behind. The canal is wide, and the skies are big.
We moored up at Saul Junction. As we arrived, the two large disabled trip boats of the Willow Trust arrived back; one of the helpers saw the Lord Vernon's Wharf on the side of Briar Rose, and commented that we were a long way from Poynton! He apparently moors on the Macc. Also as we tied up, a green boat came past and we realised it was John and Sharon with whom we'd shared the Hatton flight.
There's a lot going on at the junction, with RW Davies boat builders here, and some interesting moored boats, including lifeboats and a pirate ship, complete with canons.
Having tied up, we walked the mile or so down the towpath of the former Stroudwater canal to Framilode, on the banks of the Severn. Parts of the canal are nothing more than fields, other parts have water -- and even a canal side pub.
At Framilode, we looked out over the Severn to the Forest of Dean beyond. The village, which is at the end of a no through road, feels like the back of beyond, but does have a very impressive little church.
On the way back we bought a bag a cooking apples at a garden gate, and picked blackberries from the hedgerows along the footpath. I've made a blackberry and apple crumble, which is big enough to last a couple of days.
8 miles, 0 locks. (97 miles, 124 locks)