Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Sweltering Severn

Wednesday 5th July; Worcester – Tewkesbury

Hot from the word go!  After chatting to Julie and Steve from the boat moored in front of us, NB Hakuna Matata, we went down to the basin take on much-needed water and empty the cassette.  I took the opportunity to take Meg for a walk as there would be scant opportunity on the Severn.

We left to the sonorous sound of the cathedral clock chiming 10 o’clock.  A volunteer was on duty at the two Diglis locks at the end of the canal.  Here Dave takes Chuffed between the two.

1 between diglis locks on canal

And here he swings round onto the Severn to pick me up from the pontoon.

3 picking me up from pontoon

We gently trickled down towards Diglis river lock, with plenty of time to snap Worcester Cathedral in the beautiful clear morning.

4 worcester cathedral

The footbridge below Diglis lock is adorned with love locks – aka cheap padlocks – which, we are led to believe, is a modern fad whereby couples declare their undying love by throwing the key into the water.  In Paris I believe the padlocks have had to be removed as their weight was damaging bridge structures!

6 with love locks

We soon passed the Severn Yacht Club.  Some years ago, on our share boat, we were delayed on our way up the river and couldn’t get to Diglis lock before it closed.  Our last dog Tess couldn’t have got up onto the bank below the lock.  Luckily for us the good folk at the yacht club let us stay on their pontoon for a small consideration and we enjoyed a beer or two with them in their clubhouse.  They showed us the point reached by the floodwaters (of 2007 I think).  The clubhouse itself is several feet above the top of the banks, and the water had reached well above floor level.

7 severn yacht club

The sun was lovely and it was pleasantly cool for a couple of hours, with a bit of a breeze, but too hot for Meg who soon went below.  The Malverns, (‘grey lumps’ according to Nicholson's, shame!) were visible above the trees.

8 distant malverns

The banks are too high to see much but we spotted an egret, a kingfisher, a kestrel, herons and buzzards.  We don’t find the Severn scenery particularly interesting, though the stretch around Rhydd with its steep cliffs is pretty and described by Nicholson’s as ‘enjoyably romantic’.   So here is my own enjoyably (un)romantic captain soaking up the atmosphere!

10 the enjoyably romantic stretch according to Nicholsons

I felt obliged to take a snap of the turreted house nearer to Upton as we passed.

11 obligatory snap of turreted house

A mile or so above Upton was a wharf with the barge Perch taking on a load of gravel, which was pleasing to see.

12 gravel barge perch filling

13 gravel chute

We were relieved to see mooring space on the steps at Upton as the dog was beginning to fidget.  As a bonus we were in shade for the first hour.  So after seeing to Meg’s needs we had a rather belated lunch, with entertainment laid on by the gravel barges.  There is very little freeboard when they are fully laden.

14 not much freeboard

And here is Pike on her way back from Ryall Wharf.  Quite a difference in trim!

16 empty gravel barge pike

We strolled round Upton, finding an excellent butcher and a hardware shop where we bought a new whistling kettle, in a rather fetching dark red.  It is a very pretty small town, unfortunately with a busy road running through it.18 pretty upton

The tower, known as the Pepperpot (below), is all that remains of the original church which was demolished in 1937 – apart from the bells that is, which are now in the new church at the other end of the town, seen above. 

19 upton pepperpot

The tower is too unsafe to allow people to go up it, and it is now a heritage centre with attractive gardens outside.  This hairy dog, called Cromwell, is constructed of ornamental grasses on a frame.

20 cromwell the grass dog

Dave is offering it his Magnum and Meg is not impressed.  By the time we got back to the boat the sun was coming round so we decided to move on.

21 cool mooring at upton

We had to pause a while for Pike to turn for unloading at Ryall Wharf.

24 pike turning

25 and coming in to moor

It was very hot, in spite of a slight breeze, and we were glad to pass under Mythe Bridge (here with another boat coming through) and up onto the Avon.

28 mythe bridge with anglo-welsh

We had to go down to the Town Centre quay and moored near the ferry.  There was a also a small flat trip boat called the Aquapatio which was going up and down for a couple of hours.  31 town centre moorings

We went for a wander round the town with Meg – it was too hot to leave her on the boat – and had a meal in one of the pubs.  It’s another pretty town, again with a busy road running through it.

32 more nice old buildings

The evening’s entertainment was provided by two lads who were indulging in a spot of skinny-dipping from the footbridge.  They weren’t alone – some friends appeared to be videoing them.

33 skinny dipping

34 splash

Luckily we were moored with the side hatch over the water so were able to leave it open overnight.  The mooring has a gate with a combination padlock so we didn’t close the sliding hatch completely either, and took out the hoppers from some of the windows.  But it was still very hot in the boat overnight.

17 miles, 4 locks

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