Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Back on still waters!

We left the River Avon last Friday cruising up the Severn to Worcester.  The Severn was flowing fairly vigorously so we took just over 4 hours.  Coming down the Avon with the flow meant the engine was barely idling most of the time, but going upstream on the Severn required Leo to do a bit more work:
This view is looking back to Avon Lock which takes boats down off the River Avon to the level of the River Severn.  It is operated by a lock keeper, in this case Brian and Dianne from the Avon Navigation Trust, a lovely friendly couple.

Here we are about to go under the M50 and passing a boat going downstream.

This is Upton upon Severn.  We have stopped here in the past, but decided this time to go straight through.

Around Upton some gravel barges were working.  Here, below Upton, the barge 'Perch' is being unloaded onto a conveyor belt going through the tunnel you can see.

And here, above Upton, the barge 'Chub' is being loaded.  We didn't actually meet any of the gravel barges travelling this time, but we have in the past and it pays to keep an eye open for them as they travel faster than we do and can creep up behind you.

This is the hotel boat, 'Edward Elgar', which plies these waters.

We found a lot more debris floating in the Severn than we have before, presumably washed down by the heavy rain and thunderstorms we've had lately.

Here's a cormorant drying its wings in a tree by the river.

Near Worcester the River Teme joins the Severn.  Now we discovered where all the tree trunks and brown water were coming from.  Just below the confluence the river was pretty powerful and we had to increase the revs quite a bit to get past the Teme.  You can make out the different colour water coming from the Teme.

Diglis Lock is the only lock on the Severn between Tewkesbury and Worcester.  It is huge.

Passing through Worcester in the past we've never found space on the pontoon above Diglis Lock but this time it was different and we pulled in for a couple of nights.  Here is the view of Worcester Cathedral from the mooring.
On our spare day in Worcester we cycled outside the city to the birthplace of Edward Elgar at the Firs in Lower Broadheath:
On our way we crossed the river on the relatively new footbridge to the south of the city and then cycled back on the other side passing the huge Diglis weir shown here.  While we stayed at Worcester the river came up about 10 inches but fortunately we were moored on a floating pontoon.

We gently climbed up a bridleway heading west out of the Severn Valley giving this view of the Malvern Hills in the distance.

Here is The Firs where Elgar was born.  The visit made a lovely day out and as you can see the sun shone.

Here's Elgar with his arm round Helen.

Elgar was quite a cyclist apparently covering around 50 miles in a day on a basic 3 speed Sunbeam bike.

Coming back into Worcester we passed the racecourse and waited to see a race.  You get a really good view for free from the Sabrina footbridge over the river by the racecourse.
On Sunday we finally left rivers behind for a while.  The problem with rivers is that they go up and down as well as flowing along and it was good to get back to water that stays where it's put.  A couple of hundred yards above our mooring two broad locks lift boats from the river up to Diglis Basin and from there it is narrow locks up the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.  On Sunday we climbed 8 locks to Bilford and carried on with more on Monday and Tuesday.  Plenty of locks but short distances.
Here we are crossing Diglis Basin above river level.  Lots of boats of all sizes moor here.

But here at Sidbury Lock by the Commandery (a Worcester through the ages museum) we are back on narrow locks so narrowboats reign here.

The weather lately has been wonderful as this shot of Gregory Bottom Lock shows.

On Monday we climbed the six Offerton Locks and this is the top one.  You can see a blue truck ahead on the M5 motorway bridge.

We stopped in a favourite spot at Oddingley where this idyllic view can be seen from the mooring.

On a walk from Oddingley we saw this Speckled Wood Butterfly.

On Tuesday we did very little boating but moored in a convenient spot below lock 17 to walk across the fields to Hanbury Hall, a National Trust property.  This is the wonderful parterre and we saw volunteers very carefully trimming the box hedges to a line with shears.

In the Orangery is this tile where a dog left its print 250 years ago.
Today we've come down the locks to Droitwich but more about that next time.  We are having a think where to go next as the Wyrley and Essington Canal north of Birmingham which we had thought to travel is out of action with a culvert having fallen in.  We'll see.

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