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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.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Not liking this one bit!!!

We were ready to leave Upton by mid morning.  Having a last chat with Steve before we left, he pointed out the water marks high up on the pontoon posts. Blooming 'eck!! How high! Unreal!That was some flood. Pity the boater that was left stranded up there.   

Leaving Upton

 Slipping the bow rope we let the river flow take us round and FS was immediately grabbed and pushed along sideways. Ian had to leap on the stern rather rapidly.  Even though the river levels had dropped slightly the flow was quite considerable. The wind had also picked up causing waves to break over the bow. 

We passed the turn to the River Avon, saving that trip for a later date, and soon the approach to Upper Lode Lock came in sight. A cruiser came tearing past no doubt wanting to be first into the lock. Why he couldn't have hung back is beyond me because the lock was nowhere near ready and, instead of the cruiser going onto the landing stage, he just stopped directly in our path. We flung FS into reverse and tried to stay out of his way. Not so easy in a narrowboat especially as this chap in the cruiser kept moving from side to side. The weir started to get a bit too close for my liking and was so glad when the green light appeared and we could go in.

Entrance to River Avon

We got very close!!!

 The lock keeper passed a bucket down to me with several leaflets on Gloucester lock and Gloucester and Sharpness canal. He then put the fear of God into me explaining what could go wrong if we failed to tie stern rope first to the chains at the quay wall if the lock was against us. Reading the leaflet it stated that this was a tidal stretch (mainly Spring tides) and the approach to the lock could be hazardous. We were to phone the lock keeper at the first lock sign and again where the river forked so he could get the gates open for us. Then put the power on to combat the current past the lock. 'EEk' thought I, now feeling VERY worried about tomorrow.  We were waved through the bottom gates first and as we turned the corner, came face to face with another large cruiser! Another panic reverse moment while that chap sorted himself out , fully aware the other cruiser was directly behind us and could come round the corner  at any moment. Thankfully the large cruiser got out of the way in time and we got going again

This is one huge lock!

Cruiser behind us but not for long.
 Then , being overtaken by the small cruiser yet again, he suddenly slowed right down. For goodness sake....Now what was the matter??? Sailing boats that's what! Hate sharing the river with them as they seem totally oblivious to the dangers, constantly tacking to and fro in front of 20 ton of steel boat. I was NOT enjoying this river experience one little bit liking it to a river cruise from hell!

So very glad to see our destination Ashleyworth Court. The pontoon was empty so going past and then swinging FS to face against the flow, we moored with ease. The proprietors of Boat Inn own these moorings so we thought it only courteous to partake of a pint and sandwich. For a small pub in the back of beyond it was heaving! Only real ales were served, no bottles or tinned lagers so this must be the attraction. It had been voted Camra Gloucester pub of the year on 6 different occasions. With the wind having got even more blustery the hatches has been battened and, to take my mind off tomorrow, a glass of wine or two has already been consumed!

This came past not long after we moored. Big ain't it!
 Sitting in the pub now because we cant get internet on the boat, Ian went on the webcams for rivers and discovered the river has risen by 6" in the last couple of hours. I thought our lines had tightened somewhat!!! Now even more worried about tomorrow!


Sue said...

Irene you will be fine. It always sounds worse than it really is when the lock keepers get talking. Sleep well and enjoy your day.. Be fine..

Adam said...

Reading this with interest, as we're planning to go to Gloucester in September. Look out for a tug called Harry with Vicky and Kevin Blick on board (and Brian the dog) -- also arriving in Gloucester today.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hello Adam. When we arrived back to FS late afternoon, a tug (light grey panels and dark grey/black top and bottom) was moored across from us. No name on the side so not sure if that is the one you mean.

Adam said...

I'm sure it is -- Harry doesn't have a name on the side. And they told me on facebook that they'd seen you!

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