Saturday 16 May

We spent today with my brother who came to pick us up at 10am to take us to his home in Cheltenham for lunch.   It was really good to catch up.

After lunch he took us for a leisurely stroll in the sunshine up Leckhampton Hill from where we admired the view of the Severn valley stretching northwards in front of us, with the Malvern hills to the left and the Cotswolds to the right.

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) doughnut shaped building was easily identifiable in the distance.

Afterwards, he dropped us back to the boat and we were in time to have a word with the Gloucester Dock lock-keeper who was a friendly guy, and who after a bit of a leg pull answered all our queries.

The visitor moorings in the dock are 48 hours only, but we learnt that the 48 hours only starts the morning after you arrive, which means that we can stay in the basin until Monday if we wish.

We plan to head off down the Gloucester & Sharpness canal this week to watch the arrival of the Tall Ships that will be heading into Gloucester for the Tall Ships and Sea Shanty Festival being held over the Bank Holiday weekend.

When we head out of the dock towards the canal, we’ll need to contact the bridge-master at Llanthony Bridge so he can prepare to lift the bridge as there is insufficient headroom underneath it for us to pass through.   He operates a traffic light system and we were warned not to attempt to pass underneath the bridge until the light turns green or we’d get told off!

Before heading back to the boat, we explored a bit more of the local area.  The large dock warehouses have been converted into smart apartments and the area is busy during the day and quiet at night.

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A bigger than necessary mooring ring!

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Dock warehouses, now converted into smart apartments

 

 

We sampled a couple of pubs that claimed to be ‘friendly real ale’ but we felt they had a very limited and disappointing choice of beers and weren’t particularly welcoming.

We were impressed by the quality of the graffiti though…

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Friday 15 April

A good day for a cruise. Up bright and early in the sunshine and ready for off by 7.30pm.   Another boat was heading our way and we shared the two double locks out of the basin with them before they turned north and we turned south.

The river locks are all manned and the lock-keepers start work at 8am. We’d telephoned ahead to warn him of our impending arrival so the gates were open ready for us.

We took a call from Laura just as we were leaving Worcester and assured her that we were wearing our life jackets, had our hats and sunblock on, had the anchor and the life buoy at the ready, and that we’d even alerted the air and sea rescue just in case! (She worries about us).

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From the river you only get occasional glimpses of the countryside around you because of the steep banks but the glimpses we got of houses, pubs and the countryside, were all very nice and we made a note of some places with moorings available that we may visit on our way back.  We passed a few boats coming towards us and this sheep watched us watching  him.

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At Tewkesbury lock, the lock-keeper asked if we’d been to Gloucester before and he lowered a blue bucket down to us with some helpful instructions.   South of Tewkesbury, the River Severn is tidal.

Just north of Gloucester the River Severn splits into two, with the navigable narrow channel (The Parting) taking the more easterly route. Here you have to ring ahead to the Gloucester lock-keeper to tell him that you are on your way and he asks you to call him again when you pass under the railway bridge, which is another two miles further on.   The flow down the channel was more pronounced than on the wider river and we soon arrived at the railway bridge.

Once under the bridge, you are advised to keep over to the left.   All craft from hereon, need to pass through Gloucester lock or otherwise be swept over the weir.

Boats can only enter the lock when the light is at green and once on green boats are advised to power on into the lock which is 200 yards long, and only to slow down once the boat is fully in the lock.   As you need to ring the lock-keeper he usually has everything ready.

The light was green as we approached and the gates were open, as otherwise we would have had to moor up against the wall, ensuring we tied the stern rope first. Thankfully the chains along the wall hang in loops so it would have been easier than we’d imagined to tie up if we’d needed to. We entered the lock pushing quite a bow wave and we still felt the pull of the channel trying to take us towards the weir. The river levels were quite low today so I’m not sure how different it would have been if there’d been more water.

We had thirty miles to do today and we completed it in five and a half hours

It took ages for the lock to fill but the view of Gloucester Docks was well worth the wait.   It is like stepping back in history to the 1800’s.

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Thursday 14 April

As we basked in the sunshine yesterday evening, I hadn’t thought to check the weather forecast before I posted our blog.

Unfortunately a cold and wet day was promised so we decided to postpone today’s 30 mile river journey to Gloucester as the weather looks better for tomorrow.

So this morning, having lit the stove, we donned our winter coats again and headed off to explore more of Worcester on foot.

We headed north, beyond Foregate Street Railway Station towards the university.   Our route took us past the town’s library, art gallery and museum, the county court building, the Alice Otley School and the Royal Grammar School, all of which were interesting buildings and some interesting doorways.

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Views left and right down side roads whetted our appetite to explore more and we took one or two detours to look at some lovely examples of Edwardian villas.

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We then headed west towards the racecourse where Max was able to charge about off his lead. We came back beside the river, where the splendid coppiced horse chestnut trees provided an umbrella and sheltered us from the rain when we sat on one of the benches to watch the wildlife on the river. The only boat out on the river today was one of the river cruising trip boats.

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This afternoon I’ve done some ‘cooking’, resisting the temptation to do some ‘baking’. To make best use of the oven I made

  • pigs in blankets with roast vegetables, and steamed potatoes wrapped in foil with just a knob of butter for dinner tonight
  • a quiche for lunch tomorrow and
  • a lasagne for tomorrow evening.

Tonight’s meal got a very positive thumbs up and I hope the quiche lasts long enough to be enjoyed at lunch time tomorrow.

Wednesday 13 May

We’re back after nearly two weeks at home rather than just the one we originally intended.   Best laid plans etc….

We arrived back into Worcester at 2.30pm today after a four hour train journey and, after a cup of tea back on board, we popped to the nearby ASDA to stock up with perishables.

With the fridge full again, and having paid our marina dues, we edged our way carefully out of the marina and worked our way down through two locks before mooring up in the basin, close to where we were two weeks ago.

We took Max for a walk to check on the state of the river and to see how many boats have moored up for the evening on the river as we plan to head downstream in the morning towards Gloucester.   The riverside moorings were all full tonight which may make it difficult for Storm to pull in to pick me up in the morning and we’ve decided that it may be easier for me to walk the short distance down to the first river lock (Diglis Lock) where he won’t have any problems with river flow.

Diglis Lock viewed from downstream. We’ll be passing through here tomorrow