We’d set the alarm for 6.30 this morning as the weather forecast was perfect for a trip back up river as far as Upton on Severn. The lock-keeper had advised that we should be away at 8am to beat the high-tide.
I took Max for a walk on Alney Island, leaving Storm to prepare the boat and make all his engine checks. We were accompanied by the call of a cuckoo away in the distance.
At 8am prompt we joined three other narrowboats in the lock and by 8.10 we were heading along the narrow East channel against a strong flow. This surprised us as we’d expected that the incoming tide would push us along. It took us an hour to cover the 3 miles to the Upper Parting despite doing 1800 revs. Once at Upper Parting though the incoming tide pushed us towards Tewkesbury and we took 4 further hours to cover the 17 miles and 1 lock to Upton.
At Tewkesbury, the two lead boats turned off onto the River Avon. I was steering and sadly missed a photo opportunity – there was a cuckoo sitting on a tree stump and it kindly called out as we passed so there was no mistaking what it was.
We were lucky to find only 1 boat on the moorings at Upton and so there was plenty of room for us, and NB Ebenezer who’d followed us from Gloucester, to moor. It pays to set off early and arrive early, thereby beating those who saunter up in the afternoon as by 2pm there was no more room to moor.
The afternoon was spent exploring the delightful town that is well provided with fascinating old timbered and early Georgian buildings, and an array of shops, pubs and restaurants trying to lure you in with all kinds of tempting fare. We may have to stay more than one night just so we can explore properly.
Upton wasn’t always a delightful town though …
You can’t visit Upton though without being made aware of the scale of the 2007 floods that must have pretty much swamped the town. The stanchions on the floating pontoons have a line showing what height the river reached and that is currently about 20ft above today’s level.