Tuesday 25 August 2020

On the move again

Friday 14th August; Barton lock to Stratford riverside.

After a restful and unstressed night we woke to cloudy skies, but it was still very warm.  Bidford is only a mile or so away along a footpath across the lock – luckily the weir is not in the way!  My plan was to stroll down to the bridge, pop into the supermarket nearby, find the baker and visit the butcher.  But as I reached the cemetery, having passed the large expensive properties you can see from the river,

it suddenly started to pour with rain.  It wasn’t forecast and I didn’t have a waterproof – neither did other pedestrians and we were all caught out.  I ran down to the butcher’s, but it was closed.  It is quite a way before the bridge, and I had no intention of going on to the supermarket as I'd already passed a small convenience store.  This has just changed hands and the new chap cheerfully sold me milk and offered me a regular newspaper delivery!  You don’t see much of that these days – I suppose he needs to persuade people to use him rather than the supermarket near the centre of the village.  The rain eased off as quickly as it had begun, so out came the camera.  Just as in Tewkesbury, some houses have coats of arms hanging outside, but these are not of 'nobles' who fought in the battle of Tewkesbury (though I am sure this dentist is noble in spirit).

On the way back to the footpath is a little cafĂ© – I popped in to get a sausage roll and a cheese and onion pasty to take back.  I was so wet that my glasses steamed up the instant I went inside, the mask making it much worse – I had to take my glasses off and peer short-sightedly at the display cabinet to see what they were offering.  The walk back to the boat is past some very pretty cottages as well as the expensive houses which hide behind high walls and gates with electric security locks.


Though some gates have a different kind of lock.


It was beginning to dry up by the time I got back to the boat, but I still needed a change of clothes before we set off.   We left just before 10, quite keen to get off the river after the recent heavy rains.  A buzzard was perched close to the water's edge and for once did not take off as soon as I picked up the camera.

The flow was still very gentle, until we got to the bendy bits where the river narrows, when we were slowed right down to canal speed before Dave upped the revs.  We met a hire-boat whizzing along downstream and gave them plenty of room – it is much easier to control your boat if you are going upstream and you must give way if necessary.  Most of the locks have very fierce paddles and you must lift them very slowly, so it takes ages for the locks, which are pretty big, to fill.  You really have to wait for the water to cover the paddles completely before opening them any further.  There is only one lock on the Avon with a ground paddle, and that is Pershore.


We stopped above Luddington lock to empty two cassettes – another night in dry dock could have become problematical!  Luddington is a huge lock, and the bridge over it makes taking the ropes a bit fiddly.  It’s a good vantage point to keep tabs on your crew though.

The water point is on the other bank of the river, where there are also visitor moorings, so we had an early lunch and filled up as we ate – the tank must have been pretty low – then continued on towards Stratford.  There was a large garden feature on the way 

and an amusing seat fashioned from half a boat.

We finally moored at Stratford at about 4.  We had met the crew of the trip boat at the last river lock, and they had warned us that Bancroft basin (up on the canal) was very busy, so we moored near the water point on the riverside.  They have a lot of experience of river conditions, and said there was about 6” more depth than yesterday (good for the trip boat, they had stopped touching the bottom!) but the levels were unlikely to change overnight.  So we weren’t too worried about mooring on the river, though we did ensure our ropes weren’t too tight before we went to bed.

I wanted to find out what time the shops opened in the morning, as the weather was again very hot which makes our fridge struggle a bit, so I didn't want to buy perishables before I had to.  There was indeed no room to moor in the basin, though there was a space through the bridge.  Before dark we took Meg for a decent walk through the park.  The kiddies’ fairground is operating once more, though it is temporary for the summer and closes in the late afternoon.  A rather shocked-looking gnome displayed the Covid-rules.

We walked as far as the weir below Trinity lock and sat for a while watching the bats as dusk fell.

6½ miles, 5 locks.





  1. Gosh you are bringing back memories of our time on the Avon!

    1. Did you have things go wrong too? We still love the Avon (always remembering that rivers make me nervous - I'm reading Oleanna's posts wth grest trepidation!)
      all the best

    2. It's ok Debby, were safe on a floating pontoon at Naburn. Not going anywhere soon!