Thursday, 15 September 2016

onward in Stratford direction

Although the mooring was not the best,
 the morning view across to Evesham lock was lovely
 and if we walked just a little way along
 we did emerge into a reasonable riverside walk for Barney
The lighthouse at Offenham lock, our first lock of the day
otherwise known as the George Billington lock
All the locks on the upper Avon have two names, one of which is the name of the benefactor who helped finance the locks and the navigation.

An interesting layout for a boat
We passed cows wallowing in the mud and one poor beast seemingly unable to extricate itself.
We just hoped the farmer would be along soon.
Hot hard work for Barnaby too!!!
We had no idea what the mooring space would be like at Bideford as we knew there was only room on the recreation ground side for 3 boats.   As we approached we saw that there were already 3 there but as we dithered wondering on our next move, one of them hailed us and said he was leaving in a couple of hours and we were welcome to breast up until then.  What a nice chap!  This we did but getting Barney off was not easy.....we were moored opposite ends so he had to jump from our stern through their front and he was not a happy dog.  So after his walk I elected to stay ashore with him until we were alongside....not a great hardship as it was a lovely day and pleasant surroundings.

the view from our mooring at Bideford
Barney meets a few of his kind!!!
That is Barney right at the front
An early departure on Wednesday as it was forecast to be very hot again.  There are 6 locks between here and Stratford and if you have a boat ahead of you as we had they are hard work.  The required practice is to leave the exit gates open whichever way you are going so coming up behind a boat (that we never caught up with) Geoff has to close the two top gates before emptying the lock.  The locks are very wide so the gates are big and heavy......I am all admiration for these women who struggle with them whilst the bloke sits nonchalantly at the tiller!!!!
In these locks it is definitely a case of tying fore and aft and not our normal practice of one centre line we use on the canal double locks.....these are too fierce.  In fact I am so enamoured of the idea that I think we should carry the practice forward to the canal double locks.......will moot the idea to the skipper.......

Going under the low bridge at Binton
All things considered with the heat we decided to do four locks today and moor above the lock at Luddington.  A lovely mooring spot although it leads nowhere except into the village which has nothing there!  Good for a pleasant afternoon sitting in the shade watching activity on the river.

Mooring at Luddington
There was activity in the dark also as about 8.30/9pm we saw big lights coming towards us and it was difficult to make out what it was.  As it crept closer, having turned and was now reversing, we saw it was a trip boat with people seated at tables enjoying dinner......they moored themselves by the lock and everyone disembarked on the small island above the weir for a walk around!   That would have been quite pleasant on a summers evening but couldn't quite see the attraction in the dark!!  Yes the nights are drawing in........

Thursday dawned misty, somewhat of a change.
Not far to go today, just two locks......the mist was very slow to clear so a much chillier feel to the day.   The river is much narrower now and also shallower in places.

Approaching Stratford
the mist still lingering
After the first lock we pass the two weirs as we near Stratford and then the final lock and into the familiar part of the river below the church and the theatre.   Lots of mooring space so we had our pick.  

After coffee I paid a visit to the Trust Office in the basin and managed to change our 14 day licence to a 30 day for an extra £10.   We don't need all of the 30 days but it does allow us to stay down on the river for the weekend.  Our last few days on the river before back onto the familiar canals.

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