Pershore

Well our temporary stay at Offenham, ended up being two days due to the rain. We did see plenty of other boats moving, and felt very relieved that we did not have too. The water level has also risen since our arrival. Initially we had to step up, out of the boat and onto the bank, now we are level with it. A quick check with the Environment Agency river levels website, confirmed that not much more of an increase is expected, and the river level gauge by the Lock, was still in the green zone. So, Friday 10/5 after topping up with water, we got underway.

Filling with water at Offenham

The Lock ahead was set in our favour. One advantage of cruising on rivers over canals, is not having to stop and close gates, as you leave the Locks. After a couple of miles we were approaching Evesham with its lock, and fairly large Weir. We had seen due to a bend in the river, that a boat coming upstream would take the Lock, and therefore we would need to wait. The Lock landing at Evesham is next to the Weir edge. You don’t need to worry about how you get to it, the flow of water takes you there.

Waiting to enter Evesham Lock
A bit too close for comfort

Once through Evesham, we crossed a boundary from the Upper Avon to the Lower Avon. This split in ownership of the river occurred in 1717, and both sections, were separately managed until 2010, when the Avon Navigation Trust was formed. We spent the next half an hour rounding Evesham, as the river forms a horseshoe shape around the town. We had to toot the horn as a warning for the ferryman at Hampton, to lower the wire in the river, then it was on into open countryside. At Chadbury Lock we were joined by a hire boat, but only for one Lock, as we planned a stop for lunch. A mile and half further on, we arrived at Craycombe Turn, a small section of flood safe moorings, and we tied up for lunch. No public house here, so it was an onboard picnic.

Craycombe Turn moorings, Lunch stop

There was a small field adjacent to the mooring, which four legs decided to play in. The lack of a towpath for walking the furry crew, is one thing we have missed from the canals. After lunch we set off once more. Passing the canoe centre, we had to dodge dozens of kids playing on the water, then we arrived at Fladbury Lock and Mill.

Fladbury Lock and Mill

The weather had been pleasant so far, but as the afternoon wore on, the clouds started to build. Approaching Tiddle Widdle Island, by the village of Wyre Piddle, so it did, piddle on us. Fortunately only a passing shower, not the heavy rain of the previous two days. Through Wyre Lock, and we now had just a mile to go to our intended spot at Pershore. On arrival there was plenty of space, so we moored and then wandered into town for a look around.

Mooring at Pershore

Later in the evening, we spoilt ourselves with another takeaway, whilst checking the guide books for the next leg of our journey to Tewkesbury.

Today the sunny warm weather returned. The mooring is close to a large wetland water meadow, with footpaths crisscrossing it back towards Fladbury. We took four legs for his daily walk, then the crew nipped into town to top up the supplies.

Four legs having a rest amongst the buttercups

Tonight we will sample the local fish and chips, just to support the local businesses, then tomorrow Tewkesbury, and the junction of the river Avon and the river Severn, at 220 miles, the longest river on the British mainland. We shall only be doing sixteen miles of it, heading north to Worcester.

Totals 14 Miles 5 Locks

Running total 75 Miles 106 Locks 3 Tunnels

Offenham

Just a short post today as we have not gone far. The mooring last night was very peaceful, and this morning we woke to sunbeams streaming in through the portholes. After breakfast we cast our mooring lines, and entered the first of four Locks. Soon we were arriving in Bidford-on-Avon, with its delightful stone, multi arched bridge. Luckily, the navigable arch is very clearly marked.

Bidford-on-Avon bridge

Once through the bridge, it was a hundred yards or so to Bidford Boats. We winded the boat, and moored alongside a hire boat whilst obtaining services. The pump out charge was very reasonable for a passing boat, at 12 pounds, and we topped up the diesel tank. About forty minutes later we we underway again. Cruising on through the countryside, we became aware of a boat gaining on us. We would now have a lock partner for the next couple of Locks. It was a Braunston hire boat which had left Braunston on Saturday. It has taken five weeks for us to get this far from there, and they plan to do the rest of the Avon ring cruising route, and a deviation to Stourport in ten more days.

Forward and aft views of the River Avon

The Sun which greeted us this morning, was by now hiding behind the clouds. However with the change in wind direction, it was not cold. River cruising is very pleasant, no need to slow down to pass moored boats. Just set the lever to 1100 rpm, and in the deeper water the boat glides along causing barely a ripple.

The final lock of the day, was the Robert Aickman new lock. Aickman is a name well known in the Canal world, as he was co-founder of the IWA, Inland Waterways Association. The formation of this group began, following the publication of an equally famous book, Narrow Boat, by Tom Rolt. The actions of these two men, almost certainly prevented the total demise of the Canal network.

Robert Aickman new lock

It should also be noted, that many of the Locks on the Avon, have been privately funded by generous benefactors, and were built by Borstal Boys.

Half a mile further on, we entered the approach channel for Offenham Lock. There are as at most Locks on the river, flood safe moorings located here. Whether we move tomorrow, will depend to a large part on the weather, heavy rain has been forecast.

Mooring at Offenham Lock

There is a pub located here, but unfortunately it is on the other side of the Weir stream. It does appear as if the Weir has been used as a Ford in the past, and is marked on the map as such. Having looked at it, and the flow of water going over it, we have decided not to attempt a foot crossing. As the nearest crossing is about three miles downstream, this pub, is sadly not going to receive any of our business.

Totals 6 Miles 4 Locks

Running total 61 Miles 101 Locks 3 Tunnels