We woke to a wet and windy morning and as 15 pieces of Tupperware made ready for their trip down river, we set off on foot in the hope of reaching the sea lock in time to watch them leave.
We found them all lined up in the lock for what looked like the start of a Formula 1 race. The pedestrian route around the lock was clearly defined with white lines and we were kept well clear of the lock sides.
The boats were lined up in groups of four, with the four boats tied to each other, and the one nearest the lock wall had a rope looped round a ring on the quay side. It was still an hour before high tide when the lock-keeper, having checked all their ropes, advised that he was ready to start emptying the lock.
We overhead a message on the VHF radio that there was a single narrowboat heading upstream from Portishead and that all boats should stay in the lock until he was safely in the outer basin so we walked down there to watch him come in, but again couldn’t get too close but we could just make out the narrowboat heading upstream in the rain. With the incoming tide he was making good progress and about 15 minutes later he began his turn in towards the harbour and disappeared from our view below the harbour wall.
Then he appeared into the outer harbour basin and the pilot on board radioed the lock-keeper for instructions. He agreed to hover in the outer basin to allow the 15 boats to leave and they exited one by one in an orderly fashion, rather than in the Formula 1 start, we’d expected.
With the change of tide, the weather improved and the afternoon was warm and sunny. We walked back along the canal to Purton where we discovered the Purton hulks that have been beached on the banks of the River Severn to help protect the reed beds and the canal.
We also discovered The Pub with an original name and which I think has the most stunning view of the Severn estuary. The pub only opens for 2 hours on a weekend lunch time and from 7 – 10 every evening. We will try to visit again when its open. (Turn left at Purton lower bridge and walk to the end of the lane)