Thursday, 6 July 2017

Now what do you need to remember when you are on the Avon?

Thursday 6th July; Tewkesbury to Defford Lane Wharf

It was going to be another hot day, so Dave took Meg for an early walk and I went off to run across the Bloody Meadow, where the Battle of Tewkesbury, the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses, took place. Tewkesbury is holding its Mediaeval Festival at the weekend and the ‘battle tents’ were being set up.  The big one looked as though it was the beer tent.

1 tents on bloody meadows2 tents on bloody meadowsUnfortunately I missed a footpath sign and got a bit lost, so was rather hot and tired when I got back to the boat rather later than planned.  Over breakfast we wondered whether to stay another night; we thought at least we would turn the boat and move back to the moorings nearer the lock which are a bit easier for the dog; you need to unpadlock the gate on the town moorings every time you (or your dog) want to go anywhere.  Before we did that I took a photo of this device which was on the end of a cable by our bow; it’s a water quality sonde and I hope it didn’t mind coming out of the water to be looked at.

3 water quality sonde town quay

We went shopping for essential supplies and decided that, as we have visited Tewkesbury before, we would move on, so we topped up the water tank and left around 12.  That is too late to be going anywhere really …..

It was a beautiful day and hot.  There was a bit of a breeze but not enough for this chap.  The progress he was making was due more to the river flow than the wind.

4 sailing on the avon

Bredon always looks appealing but without public moorings we are unlikely ever to visit it.

5 bredon

We had hoped to moor at Eckington Wharf just upstream of the lovely bridge, where there should be room for two boats;

6 eckington bridge

but a boat had moored right in the middle.  The little park was rather busy with families and we decided not to ask him to move up.  The single mooring at the Swan’s Neck was also taken.  At Nafford lock we were sorry to see this sad sight ….

10 swept away boat at nafford lock

swept over the weir in floods, it has resisted attempts at recovery.  There are no moorings at Nafford so we had to go on.  And on.  It was very hot and already well after 4.  We didn’t want to do another five miles to Pershore where it was likely to be full already.  But Comberton Quay was full and had boats breasted up.  Unlike the Thames, you can’t do rough mooring on the Avon – the banks are obscured by reeds or covered in nettles, or there are fishing platforms you can’t really use, and anyway the land is all private.

We had just one chance – the single Avon Navigation Trust mooring at Defford Road Wharf.  Actually, if that had been taken we would have just moored on the private pontoons and offered to pay if necessary.  It’s not the loveliest mooring, as the nearby road is noisy and the land as it rises to the road is roughly strimmed nettles, but the edge is good and safe; anyway, any port in a storm!  So that is what we had entirely forgotten about the Avon; if you haven’t got a mooring good and early you may have trouble getting one.

It might have been noisy but we were surrounded by dozens of shimmering greeny-blue damselflies – at least that’s what I think they were.  They perched on the boat, floating debris and even on us.  We couldn’t agree on whether they were green or blue; the colour seemed to change as they moved.  Then one perched on the handrail.

12 green damselfly but poor colour in photoThe head, or maybe just the large compound eyes, was definitely green, as was the thorax, and the end of the abdomen blue.  But the wings …. just a large dark patch and the rest apparently colourless.  Maybe the magnificent metallic colouring is just an effect of light on scales as on a butterfly’s wing?  We thought they must all be males, as now and then a slighter, drabber damselfly appeared to be mating with one.

13 mating pair

They only stayed in that position for a few seconds before they separated and the dull one appeared to be laying eggs on bits of floating vegetation.

It’s a Banded Demoiselle – thanks Irene (NB Free Spirit) for the info and this link

The road became quiet as it got dark and we had a good night.  But we must try to get going a little earlier another time!

12 miles, 2 locks

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