Thursday, 21 May 2015

A recce to Sharpness and Portishead

It won't be long before we are off again this year (a little later than planned - more about that later). We are meeting up with nb Cleddau again and part of the plan is to go from Sharpness to Portishead towards the end of next month.  The sun was shining yesterday so Chris and I set off to have a look at what to expect.  Our first port of call was Portishead and we popped into Sharpness on the way home. As when we go by boat we will be going from Sharpness to Portishead I will post the pictures and comment from that perspective.

Sharpness was not that easy to find by road - well I am sure the village would have been, but we wanted the marina, the moorings and the lock.  Our first impressions were of an industrial area,

albeit with some good views in the background.

We parked near the Sharpness Dockers Club and this is the view of the canal from that club

We walked along a very minor road up a hill having no idea where it went, but we were in luck as it came out at the marina which is predominantly cruisers on one side

but with a selection of narrow boats on the other

One oddity - why is Mr Elf on the side of a boat with the name 'Bunty' underneath.  Now you will need to have children or grandchildren to have a clue what I am talking about!

I was also taken by these 'storage benches'.

Whilst in the marina we came across this plaque

which explained the memorial we had passed near the Dockers Club

At the end of the marina is the canal - this is where we will be coming from

There are a lot of good, dog friendly 14 day moorings, so we can wait around for the tide, weather and pilot if need be.  Pearsons says there is a shop in the village, but I have no idea how far away that is, but it looks as though there is a bus we can catch if we stuck for a few days.  I think we should go with a good supply of provisions.

We then walked back along the marina and straight on to The Sharpness Rescue Station which is part of SARA (Severn Authority Rescue Association).
The Range Rover is classed as a 'lifeboat' and I am sure it has seen a lot of action over the years.

Their own boat, however, looks rather high and dry!

Finally from Sharpness this is a view of the Severn from The Sharpness Rescue Station

and one of the two Severn Bridges - it all looks rather large even when the tide is out!

So where is the lock which is what we went to see?  Well we think it is in a highly industrial area with big signs specify 'Entry only for authorised personnel'.  We did not think we were authorised, so that remains to be a surprise on the day we travel!

And so to Portishead - a place we both loved.  I am sure the town itself is nothing that special, but the area round the marina and lock said 'hello and please come back' to us.  The buildings are many and varied both is size, shape and colour.

Behind this window is someone's bedroom - I can think of worse places to wake up every morning!

The marina is huge, but we have been assured we will be able to get a mooring (at a price, but hey ho that was to be expected!) if we give them a few days notice.

If you look at this you will see how different the area looked in the 1950's

And so onto the lock which is huge as we expected.  In the background here is the marina office, but I am not sure we will ever be able to show our faces in there again.  Unfortunately Monty decided to be sick! Whilst I left with him at high speed to find some grass, Chris was left behind to mop up. Fortunately it was not much and Monty seems fine in himself.

As the tide was out there was very little activity, but we were lucky as this small boat came along to go up the lock, so we could gongoozle (someone who watches at locks)

there is a floating pontoon to tie on to

And despite quite a lot of flowing water it does not look too ferocious

They are up and on their way

We had lunch outside of a restaurant called 'La Marina'.  A little cold when the sun went in, but pleasant enough and a good panini.

This the view across to Avonmouth

And this to the Severn bridges

And finally two shots I just managed to get of Avonmouth as we whipped along the M5 as we headed north.

All in all it was a grand day out and did give us some idea what to expect next month.  I am hoping the pictures will help the Cleddau crew.

So why haven't we set off yet? If you read the last blog it stated we were due to set sail on 16th March - a typo - I typed it from home in April!  We should have set off on 16th May, however I had an accident on Easter Monday which has forced us to delay our departure.  I was acting as a VLK (volunteer lock keeper) on the Stoke flight (Worcester and Birmingham canal) when I fell in and must have hit my shin on the boat I was supposed to be helping. The blog before last has more details and states the leg was healing.  Alas I was wrong as it got infected and is still far from better.  Apparently it is now classed as a leg ulcer and may take months.  However we have the go ahead to set sail next month, so the only section of the journey we have cancelled is the first one up to Tixall Wide to meet up with Cleddau to travel back to Worcester.  We will now meet them on the 11th June at Worcester for the boat festival.  Chris has been trained to change my dressings and if need be I can visit local GP surgeries or a minor injuries unit.  Fingers crossed that won't be necessary.  I am trying to be good and keep my leg up where possible, but we have to escape for the odd day out.  The next one is Sunday when we will be at Crick.  Will we meet anyone we know - that is to be seen!