Thursday, 3 September 2015

The end of our sojourn on the Gloucester& Sharpness

A bit sad to leave here on Wednesday.  A lovely mooring not far from Splat Bridge.
View from one side with the Severn Estuary and the flooded fields
View from the other side with Frampton upon Severn Church
We went up as far as Sims Bridge to position ourselves ready for the departure through the lock next day.   The lock keeper reported that the Severn was fine which was reassuring as we had thought with all this rain there might be a problem.   He advised that a 10am departure should be aimed for which was ideal as it gave us time to stop at Sainsburys and do a shop first.  

So Wednesday afternoon I caught the bus into the Gloucester Quays and had a bit of a mooch.   The whole area is very pleasant but in my opinion the outlet shops which started the whole area off are a load of rubbish.   The clothes in the M&S outlet bear no resemblance to anything I have seen in there and I am a profligate M&S shopper.......

I did go into the Mariners Chapel which is no longer full of mariners
but I gather does have a thriving local congregation
Today we left just before earlier was possible as the bridge keepers don't come on duty until then and we had Hemstead Bridge to go through.
There was space on the shoppers moorings (4 hour) outside Sainsburys for us (first time that has happened) so a final stock up before we departed.

Some blue sky but very chilly....3 layers of clothes...technically it is still summer!
Lanthony Bridge opening for us

A line of empty pontoon mooring apart from one solitary narrowboat
They are not very convenient for us because of Barney
Pontoon moorings aplenty
We then hovered by the lock waiting for the flashing red light which would mean that it was being readied for us but there appeared to be no action.   So we called the lock keeper and said we were there and he said 10 minutes so we continued to hover.......not another boat on the move in sight.

leaving the canal
a sad goodbye as we have had nearly a month going up and down the 16 mile stretch
most enjoyable.
Soon after leaving the lock a rib pulled alongside and told us to beware of large branches which were coming our way.
They were not wrong...a certain amount of weaving was required in this narrow part
The first part as far as Upper Partington is a bit dank and narrow and quite a current coming down so it was much slower progress than when we came down.  

Once the river opens out it is somewhat better but not terribly interesting, several miles of tree lined banks with the very occasional pub.   In addition it was quite chilly so we took it in turns for half an hour each on the helm.

We only passed one boat the whole morning but I remarked to Geoff that it would be sods law that we would see our next boat at the junction with the Tewkesbury arm and guess what!!!!  Just as we approached a boat came from the Worcester direction and turned in ahead of us.  If he had been a narrow boat we could have gone up the lock together but it was a wide beam.  In addition we had arrived during the lock keepers lunch hour so we had a bit of a wait on the pontoons below the lock.
Luckily we had stopped just after Upper Lode lock to let Barney off for a quick wee as the steps up to the lock could not be negotiated by him due to their open hole construction.

Our luck was in as there was just one spot suitable for us right up by the low bridge.  We have paid for two nights but the lock keeper has indicated that we can stay through the weekend which is good as we have several visitors expected.

We were then invited to supper at our friends Gill & Geoff (another set) and were collected together with Barney at 6pm.   Before supper I was able to avail myself of a lovely hot bath.....a rare treat whilst we are cruising and doubly so at the moment as we still have no hot water to the shower.   The spare part has arrived at Sankey Marine just before Evesham so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Total distance:13.51 miles 
Elapsed time:5h43m24s 
Average speed:2.36 mph (2.54 lock/mph) 

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