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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

And back to Upton

I had a comment left by Paula (Thank you) informing me of several more facts on the Gloucester and Sharpness canal which I will also add to yesterdays blog. To view the extras click here

Lying awake at some ridiculously early hour this morning, worrying about the journey on the tidal part of the Severn to Upper Lode  (It's the time of year for the spring tides which goes as far as Upper Lode Lock), I was up and dressed by 7.30am. With me up, Ian soon followed and by 8am aerial was down and life jackets on. Ian walked round to Mike at Gloucester lock to say we were ready for the off only to discover he was nowhere to be seen. Ian then rang his number and the phone went straight to answer phone. I was starting to get a bit anxious as all I wanted to do was get going and get the tidal bit over and done with. Finally he was spotted walking along from the direction of the lift bridge. After letting him know of our intentions, he went off to set the lock. Great! we could get going or so I thought. Not quite so easy because a boat had pulled onto the pontoon behind us last night and wrapped his bow rope tightly over our rope, round the cleat and back to his T stud. Not a chance of us undoing his rope without climbing onto his bow, so without a second thought this is exactly what Ian did. No one appeared but if they had we would have asked if they knew how to tie up properly sharing a ring, bollard or cleat!  Anyway, the good news from Mike was the Spring tide was not due to hit Gloucester until midday, giving us plenty of time to reach Upper Lode lock. In fact the river levels were so low I needn't have worried and could have had a lie in!

Showing you these steps just in case you have to wait on the wall chains going into Gloucester. I hadnt noticed them on our way to the lock 10 days ago

Approaching Upper Parting and you can see how low the river levels are.

Pushing against the outgoing tide, we still managed about 4mph at 1800rpm so the journey to the lock took about 3 hours.I left Ian on the helm and got down and dirty by scrubbing the floor and cleaning the stove just for something to do. I took over helm duties once we reached the lock as I found it much easier to let Ian take the bow rope and thread it through the steel hawsers (wire ropes) and then for me to grab the hawsers at the stern with a handy tool that Ian made for me.

Approaching Upper Lode lock

Lock looks empty but two cruisers were yet to come out. Very important to observe the traffic light.

Light on green as soon as the second cruiser appeared.

Hawsers in a grove along the wall

Busy lock this as yet another cruiser waits to enter.

Will you look at this lot!.

More to see on this section

and also more branches coming down the river.
I suppose you could call this a gravel barge

And another being unloaded

Having left Gloucester lock at 8.40am we finally made Upton by 13.30.  The pontoon moorings were full but the steps with rings completely free. Just an overnight stay and no fretting this time on rising river levels. No rain has fallen in Mid Wales, the source of the Severn, for several days. No doubt why the levels are so low at present.

Upton comes in sight

This lot was resting below the A4104 road bridge over the Severn

Plenty of Buzzards about

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your blog of the Gloucester Sharpness. It's funny we plod up and down on our weekends off and have done for a couple of years and we forget just how much there is to look at and enjoy. You're so right about the Severn, it's so boring. When we're heading on longer trips I use that part of the journey for unpacking/packing and cleaning. Last year for the first time we traveled back down the Avon and I can thoroughly recommend it apart from Evesham which used to be a beautiful town and is now so run down it's really sad. Next time you should maybe come down to Sharpness then on to Portishead (we live there) and make the journey round to Bristol, now I would love to read about that! Thanks once again for a great series of blogs. Paula

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