Sunday, 25 June 2017

Where are the coats?

Thursday 22nd June 2017
Pershore to Eckington Wharf
7 miles, 2 locks

Oh, it was grey, dull and even chillier this morning – jackets had to be dug out and put to use!  After a quick walk with Monty I helped Chris pull the boat back onto the water point.  I left him to empty and fill as required whilst I made a quick dash to Asda.  On my return Waka Huia was where we had been moored waiting to take their turn for the empty and fill routine.

We had just two locks to do today, the first being Pershore almost within sight of our mooring.  With a nine foot drop, it is a big one.  

We wanted to check out the possible moorings in case we travel this way again.  There is space for 2 or 3 narrowboats not long after the lock at Pershore – not as handy for the town, but better than nothing.

Fairly soon the countryside really began to open out with good views all round – it was just a shame it was so grey.

The next moorings are at Tiddlesley wood where there is room for one, but it is very near a fairly busy road.  Moving on there is a lovely mooring at Comberton Quay – definitely worth considering another time.

And so, we arrived at the last lock of the day – Nafford.  We approached with some trepidation as we had heard some horror stories from a couple of boaters who passed this way last month.  The first sight you come across is a very sad one.  We knew it was there, so at least it was not a shock.  Apparently it is too remote to get a crane to, so it will be there for ever more.  Such a sad end for someone's pride and joy.

This is not the longest of locks, no problem for us at 59 foot, but with us right up to the gate

There was only about 9 foot from the end of our fender to the cill (the blue lines below), so we quite understand why those in 70 foot boats have so much trouble.

Just to add to the fun there is a bridge that has to be swung before you can enter the lock and has to be closed again as you leave.

I found the hardest bit was releasing the handle from the catch – a third hand would have been very useful

Looking back at the lock once we were safely through

We had thought we might moor for the night at a place called ‘Swan’s Neck’ (the river does bend like a swan’s neck), but there is only one space and we were too late.  It is a little dark, however, it would have been perfect for Monty, but hey ho, on we went

to Eckington Wharf and lo and behold as we arrived the only boat there left!  

We pulled in at the end furthest from the bridge when another boat came to join us who had passed a boat who had moored here the night before.  They told him that there had been drugs bust in the car park by the mooring.  I gather there were three police cars with blues (we are not sure about the twos) and some people were slapped into handcuffs and taken away!

The boat who had joined us moved off after lunch – Waka Haia and their two travelling companions took their place

Once again, we had splendid views from the side hatch

The three of us went for a walk across the other side of the bridge.  This view shows the car park and the site of the drugs raid! .

 The views were fabulous, but the weather did not lend itself to good photography

We had been following this building on the hill most of the day – it is covered in scaffolding, but we have no idea what it is.

We hoped our route would take us round to Swan’s Neck and sure enough it did, giving us a good shot of Fenakapan – a wine trade boat.

A young man posing beautifully in the long grass

Eckington Bridge is yet another splendid construction.

I am glad to say we had a quiet and undisturbed night with no repeat of last night’s shenanigans.

Friday 23rd June 2017
Eckington Bridge to Tewkesbury

7.5 miles, 1 lock

It was our 44th wedding anniversary and a year since the Brexit vote when we were on the Canal du Midi and we woke up in  Trèbes and went to bed in La Redorte, France.  The weather was very different – no long hot sunny day, but rather a windy and chilly one.

I took Monty for a quick walk whilst Chris got ready for an early departure. 

How is this for a large ‘nursery school outing’?

Stensham lock held no surprises and was quickly done

Before long the church and Bredon hove into view

You cannot avoid motorways for every – this is the M5.  Going under is far better than travelling along it.

It is a slightly better view looking back with Bredon church in the background

This stretch of the Avon is wide open lush meadowland 

The silage is ready to go

Suddenly you are awarded with a glimpse of Tewkesbury Abbey

To enter the town, you have to go under another wonderful bridge – King John Bridge.  Visibility is limited, so a blast on the horn is advisable.

Would we get a mooring?   Well someone was smiling down on us as this boat pulled out as we arrived

And we were able to tie up on the first mooring past the water point that has a lovely long hose which meant we would be able to water up before we left without moving the boat.

Waka Huia and her two travelling companions arrived shortly afterwards and managed to find moorings a bit further along.

Fellow bloggers on a boat called 'What a Lark' had mentioned this restaurant when they were here in May and we liked the look of the menu, so had booked a table.

Did we enjoy our meal?  Resoundingly yes.  And so our first trip down the Avon was over - a truly lovely river and one I am sure we will do again.

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