This Month's Totals and Average
150.62 miles 71 locks 60.55 hrs 3.66 lmph

  July 2015

Friday 31st July ~ Pershore (en route to Stratford)

Beautiful sunny morning. Chatted with team from boat astern about a lot of things, including solar panels, then went for walk into town again. Had lunch before a visit to the abbey. On return, attempted updates for Windows 10 (massive failure, but no damage), then John from boat astern came round to look at my charging system (unfortunately no answers forthcoming). Sunny all day. Is this summer finally going to stay?

Thursday 30th July ~ Tewkesbury to Pershore (en route to Stratford)

Up promptly, and away straight after breakfast. Sunny morning. Moved upstream to Tewkesbury Marina for fuel, water and loo. Very friendly and helpful. Once on the move again, continued upstream in the very picturesque scenery - alternating between pastoral and agricultural. The shubbery along the banks was far lower than the trees of the Severn, allowing a wide vista out across the landscape. More evidence of wildlife as well; we saw more than one kingfisher, some great crested grebes, and cormorants. Ascended Strensham Lock in company with a small cruiser who then accompanied us through Nafford Lock as well. Was greeted at Nafford Lock by the crew off "Simba Dada" who have been following us on our tracker. The section from Strensham to Nafford was very twisty, even against Brindley standards! Had lunch on the move between Nafford and Pershore Locks.

Had been looking for a mooring between Great Comberton and Pershore - Great Comberton had a great mooring but the admiral wanted to get a little further, Defford Road mooring was only big enough for one boat and appeared to be in the middle of a boatyard, Pershore Bridge mooring was too close to the road for the admiral, so we ended up ascending Pershore lock on our own (watch this one, as it fills from the SIDE, pushing the boat across the lock - go on the right side when going up!), and mooring at the Recreation Ground moorings. Very nice indeed.

Went for a walk round the town - very nice indoor market.

Just closing up for the night, and chatting to a passer-by (as one does), and it transpired that he knew an old friend from my SFPA days. Considering the small number of employees we had, it seems amazing that two total strangers from different parts of the country can mett up and find they have a common friend - small world!

14.46 miles 3 locks 5.23 hrs 3.34 lmph

Wednesday 29th July ~ Tewkesbury (en route to Stratford)

Good night's sleep; feeling better. Nice sunny morning, but got a surprise when I checked the forecast. Where we thought it should be a moderately good day, the new forecast said rain most of the day! Walked into town and both got haircuts, then visited the market.

Letting go when the rain came on. Decided to stay put so winded and put "Paws" on a better mooring (vacated earlier this morning), and paid for a further night. Rain showers, some heavy, most of the afternoon.

Tuesday 28th July ~ Gloucester to Tewkesbury (en route to Stratford)

Woke to bright sunshine, but it quickly clouded. The drip had almost gone so left it alone! On the move promptly, along to the services berth. Once clear, dropped through the lock onto the river again. Returned along the short narrow section to the Upper Parting, then out into the main section. The level appeared slightly higher than when we came down, and there was a slight current running, but still managed over four mph for the whole journey.

Rose up through Upper Lode lock after lunch on the move, to be told that the Avon lock-keeper was on lunchbreak. Turned into the Old Avon and moored up below the lock to await her return. Once we had paid our Avon licence fee (£60 for 2 weeks), we ascended the lock and moored up against the east wall to the south of the lock (for which we paid another £3). Took a walk into town, including a quick look round the Abbey - not as grand as Gloucester or Worcester Cathedrals, but well kept (it was rescued by the people during "The Dissolution").

Not feeling too great so early night for me, while Pat got lost in her book and ended up with a late night!

13.92 miles 3 locks 4.26 hrs 3.98 lmph

Monday 27th July ~ Gloucester (en route to Stratford)

Forecast for today was generally fine and sunny. Certainly fine when we got up, so decided to look at the stern gland as it had been dripping. Got the engine boards off and the tools out, and it started to rain! Didn't think I'd managed to cure the drip, but had got wet in the process. Decided to give up and try another possible fix when it was dry.

Chatted with Robin and Mary from "Sapphire" (they are also BCF  members), who arrived just as we were thinking of moving. Near lunchtime now, so changed our minds and decided to stay put. Brightened up during the afternoon, but dulled again, with drizzle, by dinner time.

Sunday 26th July ~ Gloucester (en route to Stratford)

Another day of wind and rain. Not sure about "chilling out", it was actually starting to feel cold. Fishing competition on the bank opposite. Only four competitors, and they all looked bored (including the (very large) Alsatian dog)!

Sun eventually came out late afternoon, although it remained quite windy.

Saturday 25th July ~ Shepherd's Patch to Gloucester (en route to Stratford)

Back to bright sunshine this morning. Both awake so up slightly early, and on the move promptly. Headed back northeast to Saul Junction where we topped up water and got the loo done (getting desperate), then continued back to Monk Meadow where we moored for the day. Almost every one of the fishing stations between Cambridge Arms and Splatt Bridges was in use. Lunch once we'd stopped.

After lunch, popped into Sainsbury's for stores (also getting desperate). Quiet afternoon after that.

11.27 miles 0 locks 2.94 hrs 3.84 lmph

Friday 24th July ~ Shepherd's Patch (en route to Stratford)

The forecast heavy rain arrived in the early hours of the morning, and it was still throwing it down at breakfast-time. Fortunately, we had planned not to move today knowing the forecast, so a very quiet day (apart from the rain rattling on the roof!). Rain cleared by late evening.

Thursday 23rd July ~ Sharpness to Shepherd's Patch (en route to Stratford)

Bright start to the day, with high cloud. Moved off promptly and returned generally eastwards. Stopped at Purton for water, and noted the 'ships graveyard'  while we were stopped. Once finished, we continued to Patch Bridge where we stopped for the day (this is the nearest point for visit to Slimbridge). Spent the rest of the day at Slimbridge , including lunch. Very relaxing day.

3.50 miles 0 locks 1.14 hrs 3.06 lmph

Wednesday 22nd July ~ Sharpness

Woke to a dull start, which quickly turned to rain. Forecast was for it to continue so decided to stay put and have a quiet day. The IT Manager got some projects started/continued/completed, while the chef did some baking. Sky cleared by mid-afternoon. Plan to move on tomorrow.

Tuesday 21st July ~ Frampton to Sharpness

Another cloudy start, with heavy drizzle. Cleared by mid-morning. Left Frampton with the intention of checking for a mooring at Patch Bridge to use on our return in the afternoon. Nearest to the entrance to Slimbridge , it would provide the opportunity of a visit tomorrow. Continued all the way to Sharpness , with an increasing wind but a nice view out across the Severn Estuary in the rapidly improving sunshine. Lunch on the move, finishing just as we arrived at Sharpness. Saw a lovely mooring in the lee of some trees, but with a SatTV signal, so changed plans and moored for the day.

Went for a walk through the marina now filling the Old Arm, out to the point, then across to the docks. Noted the memorial to "TS Vindicatrix"  before returning to "Paws".

6.25 miles 0 locks 1.67 hrs 3.74 lmph

Monday 20th July ~ Gloucester to Frampton (en route to Sharpness)

Cloudy but bright start to the day. Had a chat with the team from the boat behind, then moved back to the basin for services. Found we were fourth in a queue, so lost the remainder of the morning waiting while those ahead did water, elsans, or pumpouts. By lunchtime, the drizzle had set in.

Eventually got away 12:45 and headed westwards. Initially the canal runs through an area filled with industrial units, but as we reached Quedgeley it turned to residential, then on leaving Hardwicke the tree-lined sides were again shielding the view. This eventually opens out to give a vista over the agricultural land of the Severn Valley, and after passing Saul Junction, the Severn estuary can be seen. All through, there are a plethora of lift and swing bridges , all operated by CRT staff and they had us through without any delays. Noted the factory once used by Cadbury's  on the approaches to Frampton. Moored for the night just north of Splatt Lane Bridge on the southern outskirts of Frampton, opposite St Mary's Church , and just in front of "Daddy Cook" who use the same tracker as us. More intermittent drizzle during the afternoon eventually faded to a warm sunny evening.

9.43 miles 0 locks 2.36 hrs 3.99 lmph

Sunday 19th July ~ Gloucester (en route to Sharpness)

Heavy rain overnight, but appeared to have cleared by breakfast as we woke to another sunny morning. Decided to visit the National Waterways Museum . As with Ellesmere Port, found it very interesting, but with no café, we returned to "Paws" for a late lunch.

After afew spots of drizzle when we left in the morning, the day turned out to be a scorcher. Quiet afternoon aboard, with Pat watching the tennis.

Saturday 18th July ~ Gloucester (en route to Sharpness)

Lovely sunny day. Had a long lie, then got on with maintenance, DIY and routine chores for the day. The Teddies have been having great fun poking their heads out the portholes and waving at passing 'small people'.

Friday 17th July ~ Around Gloucester (en route to Sharpness)

Woken slightly earlier than planned by workmen throwing planks of wood around (at 07:00). Cloudy with a few spots of rain. Had breakfast and waited till 10:00 to go ashore. Spent the morning at the Gloucester Food Festival - over 100 mini-marquee shops with artisan foods, as well as children's cookery classes in their own marquee, and celebrity presentations in the theatre marquee. Returned to "Paws" for lunch. Cloud clearing slightly.

While waiting for a boat to vacate the services berth, another boat arrived and jumped in ahead of us (it was easier to let them continue than to force the issue). Moved across and breasted with them to prevent the same happening again, and when they finished and moved off, we got our services done (although another boat did attempt the same trick!). Once completed, headed westward under High Orchard Bridge bound for the 4-hr mooring at Sainsbury, but noted a space on the 14-day quay wall, between Sainsbury and Monk Meadow Dock, so moored there allowing us to stay till Sunday. Did the shopping, and settled in for the evening in bright sunshine.

0.31 miles 0 locks 0.25 hrs 1.23 lmph

Thursday 16th July ~ Gloucester (en route to Sharpness)

Cloudy start to day, but never rained, and cleared to some sunshine by mid-afternoon. Went for a walk to town in the morning. Visited the cathedral  - burial-place of Edward II, more excellent stained-glass work and architecture including the earliest surviving example of the "Perpendicular" style. Had lunch at their café before wandering around the shopping areas. Checked for an alternative berth for tomorrow (our 48hrs will be up). Out for dinner at Zizzi's 

Wednesday 15th July ~ Worcester to Gloucester (en route to Sharpness)

Up very prompt this morning. A bit damp to start, but clearing by the time we moved after a quick breakfast. Headed down-river, dropping through Diglis Locks just after opening time. No real change in the scenery (you can't see a lot over the tree-lined margins), but we made good time, dropping down through Upper Lode Lock just past Tewkesbury before lunch. The river splits just before Gloucester at the 'Upper Parting' - a call to the lock-keeper is required at this point - and the channel to the lock becomes considerably narrower. The two arms come together again right at the lock entrance. We lifted up through Gloucester Lock into the main basin and moored to a nearby pontoon to get the 'lay of the land'. Once we had found the services berth, we continued through Llanthony Bridge, did the necessaries at the services berth, then moored properly for the day, opposite, at Bakers Quay .

28.95 miles 3 locks 6.65 hrs 4.81 lmph

Tuesday 14th July ~ Worcester (en route to Sharpness)

Slow start. Overcast with a little moisture floating in the air. Eventually ready to "do" something by mid-morning. Took a walk to the cathedral  - entry by donation, beautiful architecture, fantastic stained-glass windows, burial place of King John (Magna Carta). Had lunch in their café. Pat went to the Royal Worcester Porcelain Museum , I returned to boat to continue trying to solve a computing problem. Showers of moderate to heavy rain for most of the day. Noted a great crested grebe swimming past upstream during the evening.

Monday 13th July ~ Around Worcester (en route to Sharpness)

Still cloudy with light drizzle. Dithered, not really getting anything done, until mid-morning when we decided to go for services. Noted a pair of kingfishers at their nest on the opposite bank. Let go and headed to Diglis Junction and ascended the two (very) wide locks into the basin, then stopped at the services berth. Chatted with a family from Holland who were investigating the canal scene.

Completed the services, reversed to the top lock and turned "Paws" before returning down the two locks to the river. Turned left and moored on the visitor pontoon below the locks (better mooring, and free!). Had a late lunch, then a walk into town. Weather still looking like rain, but not really coming to anything.

1.69 miles 4 locks 2.01 hrs 2.83 lmph

Sunday 12th July ~ Worcester (en route to Sharpness)

Long lie (for us). Heavy rain overnight, turned to showers until mid-afternoon. Computer routine maintenance, plus upgrade to two pieces of software. Quiet evening with DVD.

Saturday 11th July ~ Stourport to Worcester (en route to Sharpness)

Prompt start - Cook away to supermarket, engineer away for a replacement alternator belt. Belt fitted (had to remove a bracket to allow alternator to move far enough to remove belt - took me 45 mins to work that out!), topped up the water again, then headed through the basins and down through the four locks onto the River Severn. Noted a grey wagtail nest in the groove for the stop-boards at the bottom lock.

Lunch on the move after being lowered through Lincomb Lock, then lowered through Holt and Belvere Locks. Not really a lot to see, with the trees along both banks, but nice and wide and deep, allowing us to work the engine a little harder than usual. Averaged 5mph down the river. Took the first available mooring on getting to Worcester Racecourse, to find the council charge £4 per night (and there are no facilities, poor fendering, the rings are badly placed, and it's a hike to go to the "parking machine" (yes, in the car park!) for a ticket. Apparently it is more expensive, with a shorter stay-time nearer the town!). Suggests that Worcester doesn't really want visitors to their great city.

11.87 miles 7 locks 3.70 hrs 5.10 lmph

Friday 10th July ~ Stourport (en route to Sharpness)

Leisurely start. Pottered during morning, routine chores and maintenance. Lunch aboard, then out for a walk - very pleasant walk along part of the Severn Way, then back via the town centre.

Thursday 9th July ~ Kidderminster to Stourport (en route to Sharpness)

Up and away promptly today. Nice sunny morning for our guests' last few hours aboard. Descended through Kidderminster Lock and continued to Bridge 15, mooring up to let our guests off. Said goodbye with them headed for the station and us for the town centre. Look forward to having them back aboard in the future.

Once back aboard, lunch on the move after descending Caldwall and Falling Sands Locks. Booked a berth at "Stourport Marina" as recommended by another boater. Having descended York Street Lock, found out that our booking was with Ting-Dene Marina on the river, whereas the recommendation was actually for Stourport Basin Marina (Lime Kiln). Hastily changed the booking when we found out - £10 per night including electricity, and fuel at 69p per litre! After dealing with services, moored on our pontoon and started returning the boat layout to our normal (rather than guest-mode).

4.34 miles 4 locks 2.84 hrs 2.93 lmph

Wednesday 8th July ~ Kinver to Kidderminster

Another leisurely start, then went for walk into Kinver village. Lovely sunny morning. Had coffee at "Kinfayre Coffee Shop" then returned to "Paws". Let go and continued our journey southwards. Descended through Whittington Lock and stopped at Austcliff for lunch just as the rain came on.

After lunch, descended Debdale, Wolverley and Wolverley Court Locks with Kenney steering. Got ice cream from the small shop at Wolverley Lock. Moored for night by the retail park on the outskirts of Kidderminster. Nipped to the shops for a few items.

Fantastic, hilarious evening playing "Taboo". Haven't laughed so much in years!

5.63 miles 4 locks 3.41 hrs 2.83 lmph

Tuesday 7th July ~ Stourton to Kinver via Swindon (en route to Kidderminster with guests)

Fairly leisurely start, but got away by half-nine. Sunny start, but shortly turned to rain. Ascended Gothersley and Rocky Locks, planning to take fuel at Ashwood Marina, then wind and head for Kinver. Tomorrow was to have been a return to Stourbridge to drop Kenney and Louise Thursday morning. Ashwood Marina said they haven't stocked fuel for some years (despite the advert to the contrary displayed at their entrance), which left us in a bit of a quandary - where to get fuel, and where to drop Kenney and Louise?

The nearest fuel appeared to be Stourport, but we could run short if we continued to Kinver, then returned to Stourbridge before going to Stourport. Result was to go to Kinver as planned, then continue to Kidderminster where Kenney and Louise would get the train back to their car, while we continued south. Ascended Greensforge Lock and winded as planned just below Hinksford Lock. Returned southwards through the same three locks, continually soaked by rain showers then drying out in the sun. Passed Stourton Junction and continued down through Stewponey, Hyde and Kinver Locks, taking the last visitor mooring below the lock. Dinner at The Vine .

9.87 miles 9 locks 5.58 hrs 3.38 lmph

Monday 6th July ~ Stourbridge to Stourton (en route to Kidderminster with guests)

Cloudy but fair when we woke. Headed into town for last minute stores for our next guests. Drizzle set in, turning to heavier rain by the time Kenney and Louise arrived. Had lunch before anything else. Rain eased so took the car to Ellie's, then walked back. Winded "Paws", cleared loo and topped up water. Kenney and Louise popped to shops, then we set off for our short-break trip. Rain had all but stopped.

Once again, we headed out to Wordsley Junction, then southwest again to Stourton Junction. Turned northwards on the Staffs & Worcs Canal and moored up at the 5-day mooring again. Early night for all - guests tired after drive, us by quick change-round.

3.58 miles 4 locks 2.22 hrs 3.42 lmph

Sunday 5th July ~ Stourbridge awayday (with guests)

Bright sunny morning to start our day out with Ellie and Alan. Moved "Paws" back to the water point and topped up, then finished getting our "picnic" lunch ready for later. Ellie and Alan arrived at 10:00, and we let go for our day out. We headed back to Wordsley Junction and turned left for Stourton Junction. Lovely trip out with the dappled sun through the trees. Descended the four locks, turned right at the junction, and moored up at the 5-day moorings just north for lunch.

During lunch, there was a shower of rain, but it looked like it had cleared by mid-afternoon. Set off on our return journey, reversing to the Junction. The trip boat from Stourbridge was just descending the bottom lock so we had to wait till they winded and returned upward, making a bad road for us. Water levels were down by this stage and we had a wait in the second-top lock while some water was run down. Then the heavens opened again! Enormous thunderstorm! It ended fairly quickly, and we headed back to Joyner's wharf.

Moored up again at the same place, and walked up to Ellie and Alan's so that we could direct Kenney tomorrow. Quiet evening watching DVD.

5.78 miles 8 locks 4.24 hrs 3.25 lmph

Saturday 4th July ~ Stourbridge

Massive thunderstorm, with torrential rain, in the early hours of the morning. Much fresher afterwards. Woke to another sunny morning. Richard Milligan arrived just after 09:00 to do the engine service - very thorough.

After lunch went for walk into town for supplies, then did cooking and cleaning prep for visitors over the next few days.

Hot day throughout, but with a lot fresher air.

Friday 3rd July ~ Greensforge to Stourbridge

Back to the sunny mornings, although a lot fresher than the past few days. Leisurely start, topped up the water again (since we could do it without moving), then continued our way southwards. Dropped down through Greensforge, Rocky and Gothersley Locks, and onwards to Stourton Junction where we moored for lunch. This last section is quite heavily wooded, but most looks man-made rather than natural planting (in long rows, although the undergrowth has been left natural). Moored just before Stourton Junction for lunch.

Leisurely lunch then pottered before moving off again. Turned left at Stourton Junction onto the Stourbridge Canal (part of the BCN). Ascended the four locks and started the winding route through the agricultural fields towards Stourbridge. The canal here has more reed and the plant-growth on the bottom restricts speed somewhat. It is still very pleasant, with clear water and little rubbish even though near to town. Turned right at Wordsley Junction onto the Stourbridge Town Arm. Even more bottom growth, but still mostly clean, with good towpath and bricked bankside (although no rings for mooring). Completed the journey into Stourbridge basin and winded. Returned out to the visitor mooring just to the west of Joyner's Wharf.

6.42 miles 7 locks 3.82 hrs 3.51 lmph

Thursday 2nd July ~ Dimmingsdale to Greensforge (en route to Stourbridge)

Slightly cooler night, and much cooler morning, with a layer of cloud thick enough to shield the heat of the sun, but thin enough to see where it was. 'Housekeeping' and 'Services Manager' had said there was water and loo above The Bratch Locks, so had a leisurely start and descended the three single locks (Dimmingsdale, Ebstree and Awbridge) before the flight. Very pleasant in the cooler air. Arrived at The Bratch to find no water or loo ('Services' team given a talking-to!). Told by the duty lock-keeper there were two to go down, three to come up, then us. Then the rain started, although not overly heavy at first.

Once on the move (about an hour and a quarter delay), we descended the three locks in The Bratch, followed by the single at Bumblehole, then continued to the south side of Wombourne where there is a Sainsbury's very close to the towpath. Stopped for stores, and had lunch in their café as we were running later than planned by that stage. On arrival back at "Paws", we chatted with another boat-crew before moving off again. The rain decided it was going to come on heavy so we got soaked dropping down through the Botterham Staircase and Marsh, Swindon and Hinksford Locks. Moored up on the single visitor berth at Greensforge. Our hose would actually reach the water-point so we got the 'services' done without having to move "Paws" further.

By the time we sat down to dinner, the rain had stopped, and it turned into a lovely evening.

5.21 miles 12 locks 4.10 hrs 4.20 lmph

Wednesday 1st July ~ Slade Heath to Dimmingsdale (en route to Stourbridge)

Hot, sticky night, and another hot morning, but with a slightly stronger breeze. Up and away slightly earlier than usual and headed back towards Autherley. Grateful for the tree cover where available. Passed through the narrows again without meeting another boat. Stopped at the Junction. 'Housekeeping' had put the washing machine on (which requires the engine running) so the Skipper had to 'keep ship' while the Cook went to get stores.

Once all aboard again, let go and continued south on the Staffs & Worcs, past the end of Autherley Junction, and past Aldersley Junction (where the Wolverhampton 21 Locks takes you up to The Birmingham Canal Navigations). On southwards through the outskirts of Wolverhampton and Tettenhall, the banking becomes more overgrown and poorly cared for. More pleasant scenery is found through Compton. Descended Compton Lock, then Wightwick Mill and Wightwick Locks before returning to farmland. The designated (5 day) moorings at Dimmingsdale Bridge were full (there's only room for two boats) but the banking was good just further on so moored just clear of the winding hole mid-afternoon (too hot to continue).

8.14 miles 3 locks 4.13 hrs 2.70 lmph

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