Saturday, 26 May 2018

A helping hand

Saturday 19th May; Gloucester to Tewkesbury

Gosh, I’m a week behind now!  That’s the trouble with hot sunny weather, there’s always something to do even if it’s just sitting in the shade with something cooling.

I had an early start today, jogging over Llanthony Bridge to Gloucester Park to join the parkrun.  In spite of the lovely shade trees everyone got very hot.  I had a shower in the excellent CRT facilities before we were ready to leave, around 10.30.  I rang the lockies – it means you can stay moored while they prepare the lock for you, or, as in this case, while you wait for a boat to come up.  It was the Edward Elgar, the big hotel boat we had seen at Tewkesbury last week.

1 waiting for edward elgar

Once they were past we cast off from the massive mooring rings

2 big ring

and locked down back onto the river.  We didn’t need the road bridge over the lock to be swung, but the Elgar would have held the traffic up for quite a while!

3 we dont need to swing the road bridge

There were dense clumps of freshwater mussels on the walls of the lock.

4 mussels gloucester lock

We thought we’d need jumpers as it’s usually quite breezy on rivers, but not today.  We met a narrowboat pair breasted up coming down the East channel.  It was on a bend of course but there was plenty of room.

7 breasted up in east channel

The Severn is still tidal at this point.  The Bore would have come up the East Channel on last night’s tide and the last one is due around midday.

5 bore came this way too

As we approached Upper Parting we were beginning to think about lunch.  Everything looked very calm and beautiful, but this is not the place to be when the bore arrives up the two channels to meet at the Parting – it causes a lot of turbulence and I don’t think the lockie would have let us go if we had not been ahead of it.

8 upper parting

We had lunch on the move.  The sun was scorching and it was quite slow going.  At 1600 revs we were only doing 2-3 mph; I started my running watch to record the journey speed.  Suddenly Dave said, Aren't we going rather faster?  We certainly were! the tide had caught us up, and although there was no longer a wave to be seen the flow gave us at least an extra 2 mph.  Here is the running watch record.  The fuzzy figures mark the time, but the interesting bit is the blue.  The first half is all below the dotted line which probably marks about the 3mph speed.  The small variations in height could be our changing speed or just the hiccups between GPS satellites.  Just over halfway, the speed noticeably increases for a couple of hours as the incoming tide helped us along, before the effect started to tail off as we approached Upper Lode lock.


There were other people enjoying the lovely weather;  there was a cruiser with something not quite right with his engine

9 something wrong with his outboard

and dinghy sailors

10 dinghy lesson

and scullers.  I hope they all had their factor 50 on.  I certainly did.

11 sculling

We were through Upper Lode lock and into the mouth of the Avon by the middle of the afternoon, to discover, as we feared, that there was no mooring to be had in Tewkesbury.  It was their Big Weekend and there were stalls, crowds, and lots of plastic boats.  So we went along to Tewkesbury Marina where they were happy to give us an overnight mooring.  Well not give exactly, it was £16.  But it is a pleasant marina, with a convenient Elsan point, water and electric had we wanted it, and an excellent dog walking area.  We made use of the good showers and the washing machine which was only £3.

14 miles, 3 river locks, and a helping hand from the tidal Severn.

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