We all slept pretty well. Perhaps down to the copious red wine. Perhaps down to the peace and quiet of our mooring. I finally stirred at about 745 when a passing dog made a chortling noise outside the cabin as he was walked along the towpath.
It was more overcast today and a bit chilly on the river. We were glad we’d brought warm jackets. The boat is very warm, I hasten to add. The central heating (radiators) is excellent and keeps the inside toasty. Also the water is very hot so showering is pleasant. We set off at about 9ish and had to pass through 3 lock gates to get out of the canal and onto the River Severn. They were all manual and we managed them all well between the four of us. It would be ok with two of you. I wouldn’t fancy it as a singleton. You’d have to keep climbing up and down the wall ladders into the lock.
It’s not something you can speed through, going through a lock. You have to wait for them to fill or empty so that the water pressure on the gates is equalised and they can open. It can’t be hurried. Once out on the Severn, we turned downstream and fairly soon came to a large lock which was manned by a lock keeper. Once through that, we were free and clear until Tewkesbury.
The Severn is quite wide here, bordered by trees and open countryside and there are a lot of birds. We saw at least 4 herons today plus cormorants or shags. I can’t tell the difference. We also saw an incredible number of fishermen. It seemed like there would be a fishing place every 20 yards or so along the banks: a small floating jetty generally, just big enough for a man to sit on a chair. Sometimes there wasn’t a jetty and there would be some rickety steps set into the bank with a bit of a platform. We must have seen nearly 100 fishermen in the course of our 17 mile trip. We shouted hello back and forth a bit – everyone is very friendly. It looked very cold though, to be huddled on the bank like that. Not the way I’d choose to spend a Sunday, but each to his own.
Once clear of that manned lock we found a place to temporarily moor up on the river bank and stopped to have breakfast. I had porridge but everyone else had sausage baps which I’d made as we travelled along. And quite a bit of tea and coffee. We journeyed on, taking it in turns on the tiller. Everyone had a go today. It takes more pressure on the tiller than I expected to keep her on a straight line.
We had lunch on the go. I had some prawns and the others had hot soups with some of the crusty bread I’d brought along. It seemed to go down well. We’re not going to starve on this trip, that’s for sure, the fridge is chock full.
We got to the opening to the Avon at Tewkesbury at about 2pm and turned up into the navigation, already narrower than the Severn. More fishermen and sheep this time. Having reached the town we had to enter a lock to get into Tewkesbury proper. A lock keeper operated one. He was a very genial chap and gave us loads of information. We gave him a beer in recompense. He also helped us moor up on a prime mooring right in the centre of town. Our arrival gave some of the tourists a good attraction to watch. We had to buy a license to enter the Avon – it goes to keeping the wateray up. £50 for a week. We’d already bought it online yesterday. After mooring up we went for a walk around Tewkesbury. A lot quieter than it was yesterday of course.
Stuart and Fi tested out the shower on board today and pronounced it hot and fierce. Good news. So, tonight – after the usual round of g&ts, we headed up into town to one of the Indian restaurants – Crystal River. To be honest, it was ok….. not the greatest, not the worst. Bob had the worst choice which was king prawn masala: a disaster from its nuclear red colour to the fact it tasted of sugar.