So, what have we been doing for the last few days?
Saturday 14th September
Today was a non-boating day, we walked down the Stourport High Street and caught a bus into Kidderminster and after searching for a suitable eating place we settled for a Thai takeaway from a market stall.
After our meal we went to the ‘Reel Cinema’, an odd little cinema which seemed to be housed in warehouse type of building.
We saw the new Downton Abbey film and thoroughly enjoyed it. After the film we caught the bus back to Stourport.
Sunday 15th September
This morning we first went to The Dolly Tub launderette and then set off for Kidderminster, we found a mooring outside the Watermill pub. We ordered two Sunday roasts which arrived very quickly, unfortunately they were very poor quality, tough meat, burnt and soggy roast potatoes and cold vegetables. To give them their due they did replace the meals and we ended up with fish & chips and a burger. Another plus was a nice pint of Brakspear’s Oxford Gold.
The access to Kidderminster Lock is from under a modern road-bridge which is a bit dark and dismal, some murals try to brighten up the place, but emerging from the gloom to see St Mary and All Saints’ Church makes up for it.
St Mary and All Saints’ Church
We also stopped to do a big shop in Sainsburys before continuing on to Wolverley Bridge passing our friend Penny on her boat at Wolverley Court Lock.
Monday 16th September
This morning we set off just after 11am and travelled on through Wolverley, Debdale & Whittington Locks.
The landslip at Wolverley has still not been rectified since March.
We cooked jacket potatoes on the way and had them topped with some chilli-con-carne for lunch after mooring at Kinver Visitor Moorings at 13:40.
Last night I walked up the steep ramp from the pontoons into the town to get some chips, Upton is a pleasant little town and I love looking at the old recovery vehicles at the Regal Garage (Panes).
The town clock was misbehaving striking the half hour at quarter past and the hour at quarter to, moreover the chimes were 3¼ hours fast so it struck 12 at quarter to 9, most confusing!
This morning the gravel barges started shuttling up and down river at 7 am but despite their size didn’t move us about much even when fully loaded (and I mean fully loaded). We soon passed their loading point which is an old barge modified to make a pontoon and a movable loading conveyor mounted on tracks.
We plodded on for another hour or so and then encountered ‘The Edward Elgar‘ hotel boat and we arrived at Diglis Lock just before 2 pm.
The Edward Elgar
We were then in Worcester proper and Joy videoed the huge number of swans here before finding a mooring between the road and rail bridges before 2:30 pm.
Later we wandered up to the shops and Joy bought some new tops in Primark.
The TV reception was poor here so some recordings were watched before spending a peaceful night.
Despite our location between the two bridges, I guess we must have been tired because we didn’t hear the trains or they stopped running after we went to bed!
After filling our water tank this morning (and drenching Joy in the process as the extension was not on the hose-reel… Oops!) We phoned Gloucester Lock and were told we could head straight over as it was ready except for opening the gates.
The locky warned us another narrowboat was coming down the Eastern channel but that was no problem. We made slow progress to start with but once we reached The Upper Parting the river became wider and the flow was not as noticeable and the engine found a ‘happy spot’ at 1700 rpm travelling at around 3.6 mph.
The river was very quiet, meeting only six boats all day, as I’ve probably said before, it’s a rather boring journey with high tree lined banks with only occasional glimpses of countryside.
We reached Upper Lode Lock by 2:30pm. We were a bit mystified that the gates were open ready for us as we rounded the bend of the lock cut so asked the Locky if he had CCTV, he said no, there was just a gap in the bushes he could see through!
We considered stopping at Tewkesbury but since it was still early we opted to carry on to Upton upon Severn.
House with mooring
Here’s one for you!
What’s this behind us?
The Conway Castle
I was just taking some snaps of some desirable riverside residences when I saw a vessel gaining on us, it was the Conway Castle and so I pulled over to let it pass, no use arguing with them when the’re this big.
The MV Conway Castle is the largest passenger vessel on the River Severn, licensed for up to 195 passengers with 2 exterior and 2 interior decks, the lower of which being a comfortable and characteristic lounge bar
Before long there were even bigger vessels in view, but these were just gravel barges being unloaded.
We passed under Upton Bridge and found a gap just big enough for us on the pontoon moorings.
Our stay on the G & S has come to an end, we have enjoyed meeting up with so many friends from this area and it would be difficult to list all those we have seen, so instead I’ll just mention the pair who have travelled the furthest to see us and another pair we haven’t seen for the longest time.
We have known our friend Marilyn since the 1970s when we lived in Wiltshire, but although she now lives in Australia with her partner Steve, we have stayed in touch over the years.
Last weekend we all met up in Cardiff along with another friend from those days, Marie & her daughter Zoe who none of us had seen for more than 40 years when Zoe was just two!
A lot of reminiscing took place including the admission of just who had been responsible for setting me up with an entirely unsuitable blind date back in the day!
We are going to be slowly cruising the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal over the next few weeks and meeting up with many friends in this area, I won’t be posting daily but will update this page with photos of the places we visit.
Purton & Sharpness
Mind the Geese
Across the Severn with May Hill on the horizon
Former Harbourmaster’s House On Old Dock
Severn Railway Bridge Swivel Tower
Sandfield Bridge (Saul)
A bit more ‘industrial’ than some of our moorings but reasonably quiet all the same.
Our wake-up call providers
Sun’s out now!
Shepherds Patch (Slimbridge)
Swan & Cygnets
The Black Shed
Splatt Bridge (Frampton on Severn)
Severn view, looking across to Awre in the Forest of Dean
St. Mary’s Frampton
Moon at Splatt Bridge
Our mooring for the last few days
One of the neighbours (Chainsaw Sculpture)
Sandfield Bridge & Stables Cafe
RW Davis & Son Ltd
Crane Barge (Used to repairs to Gloucester Lock)
Nice to see some businesses remaining from my fork lift service engineering days
Another early start for us, leaving Worcester at 9:10 we passed Worcester Bridge and the resident colony of swans below it.
At Diglis Lock we followed another narrowboat in , they were headed for Upton on Severn for the Jazz Festival so they let us go first.
The scenery on the Severn often consists of tree covered banks which don’t afford much of a view, occasionally there are caravan parks often accompanied by moorings; more cruisers than narrowboats of course.
As we were travelling with the flow we could make good speed but nothing like as much as the narrowboat coming upstream with it’s Lister engine happily flat out; we rode it’s wash for what seemed like half a mile.
Severn Bank House is visible in the distance for quite a while.
The house was built for the Earls of Coventry. The present house dates largely from around 1830 when it was rebuilt on an 18th century core. [according to Geograph]
Also near here is Severn End, but we didn’t get a photo so here’s one from Geograph.
Of particular interest to P.G. Wodehouse aficionados [me included] as according to Pearson’s Guide, it was “the model for ‘Brinkley Court’ the country seat of Bertie Wooster’s Aunt Dahlia…. Wodehouse’s real aunt was married to the vicar at Hanley Castle”
Shortly after a gravel barge was loading and it was interesting to see several more working the Severn commercially. As we went through Upton-on-Severn we met one of these who sounded it’s horn imperiously as it passed the entrance to Upton Marina.
Upton seemed quiet despite the festival, and very few moored boats, perhaps they were busy preparing for the main events on the weekend.
Soon Mythe Bridge came into view signalling we were at Tewkesbury, we had intended to stop here overnight but since it was only just after mid-day we decided to press on.
Upper Lode Lock, I believe, is the biggest inland lock in the UK but it was very gentle in lowering us down a couple of feet hardly needing us to tie up. By now the temperature must have been in the 30s.
The Yew Tree Inn
Wrens-Nest from the pub garden
We plodded on for another half an hour and then stopped for lunch at The Yew Tree Inn, a Cheese and Onion baguette and Cheesy Chips.
As we left a gentleman was coming into the sailing club next door [see header photo]
The Yew Tree proved to be a good choice as although there are a number of riverside pubs most of their moorings were occupied. I would have liked to visit The Boat Inn at Ashleworth as back in the 1970s I used to have lunch there when servicing the forklift at Permali’s outlying factory in the village, along with Ted Watkins the factory stores foreman. I recall a proper ploughman’s lunch, a thick chunk of bread, a generous piece of cheese, pickled onions and an apple, (no poncey salad to fill up the plate) Ted always used to produce his penknife to consume his!
By quarter past three we were at The Upper Partings, where we had to bear left and ring Gloucester Dock to let them know we were arriving and sure enough, half an hour later the lock gates were opening ready for us. The lock raised us up to the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal and after filling our water tank we moored up on one of the pontoons, opposite ‘Greek on the Docks’ restaurant.
Later Jeremy, Louise and Iona came to visit and we enjoyed endured a meal at the Lord High Constable of England, the local Wetherspoons, it was a busy evening and despite ordering via their app, the service was slow and the food arrived before our drinks so we had to go and chase them up, only to find our tray was sat on the bar!
Never mind, we’ll try the Greek restaurant tomorrow.
Total distance:29.93 miles
Average speed:4.35 mph(4.78 lock/mph)