We had a quite night in Tewkesbury by Avon Lock. We were to be the second boat down in the Lock today. We were preceded by a narrow boat called ‘Wide Man on a Narrow Boat’, it was also adorned with several pictures of Buddha. This boat turned left at the end of the channel leading to the river Severn, heading towards Gloucester Docks. This coming bank holiday, the Tall Ships are visiting Gloucester. We however would be turning right, heading north, against the flow towards Worcester.
Once clear of the Lock, we had a channel of about two hundred yards to navigate, before reaching the main channel of the river Severn. It was important not to cut the corner of the junction, to avoid the shallow silts where the two join. This can be done by looking for the Mythe Bridge in its entirety, before making the turn.
Mythe Bridge was built by Thomas Telford in 1828, and is a 170′ single span, cast iron bridge. Now we were on our way. Not having experienced rivers before this year, we did not know how the flow would affect the speed of the boat. We set the throttle to 1500 rpm, and seemed to be cruising along at the same speed we had, when coming downstream on the Avon. It was 09.30. Our first major landmark was the M50 motorway. We passed beneath the high bridge, and the time was now 10.00. We had covered three miles in the first half an hour, at this rate the whole journey would take just under three hours. We were however to be proved wrong. We had now entered a stretch of river, which still operates as a commercial waterway. Barges laden with gravel and sand, are loaded and transported over this section of the river.
The next landmark to be reached was Upton-upon-Severn, a pretty looking town perched on the banks of the river.
That was another three miles ticked off the journey, but this took longer than the previous three. The engine was still chugging away quite happily, so no problem there, then it dawned, the river was getting slightly narrower, and presumably the strength of the flow was increasing. By twelve o’clock we still had a way to go, so lunch was had on the move. This is the first time since owning the boat we have done this, but on the river, places to stop are a lot more infrequent than on the canals.
Looking back we could see the Malvern Hills in the distance. On route we had seen several boats coming downstream, a mix of river cruisers and narrowboats. On the final two miles into Worcester, we were overtaken by a cruiser heading upstream.
On seeing the footbridge above, we knew we were close to Diglis Locks. These Locks are huge in comparison to what we have been used to, and are all fully automated. We knew we would be directed into the starboard Lock, the smaller of the two, but we did have to wait a short while for the lock keeper to turn the Lock in our favour. The crew remains on the boat, and entry is controlled by traffic lights.
On a green light we entered the Lock chamber, and secured the bow and stern with lines threaded through some wire risers. Compared to the tiny Locks we are used to, the turbulence was minimal.
Once through the Lock we moored on the flood safe moorings, close to the junction with the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, and Worcester Cathedral in the background. Securing the boat we took four legs for a walk, and as he has been cheated out of his long walks recently, he got an ice cream as well. The journey had taken four and a half hours cruising, five hours mooring to mooring. Tomorrow we are back on the canals, our river experience over for now. We do have the Thames to look forward to sometime next month.
Totals 16 Miles 1 Lock
Running total 105 Miles 110 Locks 3 Tunnels