C and her family once again came to my rescue, giving up their bank holiday to help me down the lower part of the Avon Navigation to Tewkesbury. With the three children helping and hindering (it varies according to how recently they’ve been fed, and how close it is to bedtime) and swapping clothes (don’t ask), we got from Evesham to Pershore on the first afternoon- a short journey by road, but a good four hours by boat. The locks were quite unmemorable, although I still don’t like the weirs!
On the following day it was me and C and Boat Girl (her disappointment at not getting a sleepover with C’s children was tempered by the realisation that we would be an all-female party on board Dreams… We took a little time getting started because of Pershore Lock, but that was probably the easiest one of the day. There were some beautiful stretches of countryside (pics to follow) but the wind picked up, and some of the lock entrances were not terribly straightforward: the warning and information signs are very small and quite close to the lock/weir partings, so there isn’t always a lot of notice of which side you’re making for, or when you need to turn. At Nafford we had a difficult time mooring up to open the gates and the bridge across, and we were disconcerted to see this boat, which came to grief in the recent high waters; its present was quite off-putting:
I later heard its story and was happy to hear that nobody was on board at the time, although some poor people lost their boat which is always sad.
Anyway, after that the last lock of the day was the trickiest but because of the wind rather than anything else. A boat was already in the lock as we approached, but slowing down and reversing to allow them out, we were almost blown into the plastic (GRP/fibreglass) boats moored directly above. We got turned around and had to perform the same manoeuvre again (though knowing what to do meant it was much less stressful than it was the last time) and nearly went across to the tubs again….
After that it was straightforward to the marina, and we tied up on the visitors’ pontoon as it was too windy for us to risk trying to manoeuvre inside the basin (we were told!). Tewkesbury is a nice marina and very smart. We could hear ewes and lambs calling to each other as we went to sleep- always a soporific sound for me, since I was little. It was also a relief to know I was at the end of the Avon, that there was just one more river to navigate, and that we were at last in the right county.
I also got the number of the local Marine Volunteer Service– who helped me down to Gloucester.