|This Month's Totals and Average|
|109.19 miles||61 locks||45.93 hrs||3.71 lmph|
Forecast for today was rain for most of the day, so had planned not to move. Heavy rain overnight had reduced to scattered showers by breakfast but, with plenty of time to spare, we elected to still stay put. The showers died out by lunchtime giving a sunny afternoon. A generally quiet day.
Mooring west of Bridge 67 meant that there were articulated lorries going past (very slowly) about every hour overnight on the single-track road next to the boat, and traffic on the opposite bank. This wasn't overly noisy and didn't really disturb. A cloudy but fairly bright day greeted us.
We are now killing time on our way to Brownhills for 3-week's time. Although we want a stop in Birmingham, we want to keep clear during the Commonwealth Games if possible. We decided to take a second night here.
Pat took a walk up to the petrol station on the main road for emergency milk, otherwise we just pottered for the day. Intermittent light showers set in late afternoon.
Up promptly to a bright sunny morning. Pat decided she wanted to get a load of washing done before we left, so that we could fully top up the water after the first lock. Generally pottered while it worked, then lunch before moving off.
Let go after lunch and moved round to Tardebigge Top Lock and ascended - this brought us up to the Birmingham Level, so no more locks till Tipton. Moored at the services berth for the usual items, then continued through Tardebigge and Shortwood Tunnels - both nice and dry (for a change). The canalsides are lined with trees, most overhanging so giving a lot of shade. Passed through Alvechurch then the Bittell reservoir with its fisheries. Arriving at Hopwood, we moored just before Bridge 67.
|5.40 miles||1 locks||2.51 hrs||2.55 lmph|
Good night's sleep (out for the count ) and a long lie. Woke to a cool, dull morning, but did wake refreshed. Decided a day off was needed. Had a long catch-up phonecall with daughter in Italy, and pottered through a few routine chores. Day remained dull throughout, but that provided much-needed respite from the recent hot weather. Late night watching the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
Very quiet night, but heard tawny owls calling which is always a treat. Up promptly, ready for the heavy day of the climb up the Tardebigge Flight. Headed off in a warm but relatively fresh air, trying to pace ourselves. Seemed to be making good time despite having to empty every lock. There was only one Volunteer on today, and he was busy with another boat. We met around 5 boats coming down in the 2nd half so the going was slightly easier. The boat behind caught up and one of their team came to help us for the last few locks - they had an ulterior motive in that they were trying to better their quickest time so helping us helped them. We didn't actually slow them up and, arriving in the long pound below Top Lock, we moored almost exactly 4 hours after starting.
Lunch immediately on arrival as it was getting late for our lunchtime. The day clouded over during the afternoon - we did very little, and that included a brief doze . Rain arrived late afternoon in the form of scattered light showers.
Early night for all.
|2.08 miles||29 locks||4.09 hrs||7.60 lmph|
Workers starting to arrive at the carpark opposite woke us just before 07:00, and the construction vehicles were on the move at 08:00, otherwise a quiet night. Another dull, cool day. Walked into the village in the morning for supplies at the convenience store. Early lunch.
After lunch, reversed to the water point and topped up, then headed off for the short run to the Queen's Head pound (Stoke Pound) at Bromsgrove. First stop was below Stoke Bottom Lock where we realised that a boatbuilder had a chandlery selling gas - we got our bottle changed. After ascending the lock, we pulled over to the Black Prince quay to clear the loo and rubbish. Once finished, we continued up the remaining 5 locks of the flight, passing the Queen's Head pub , and mooring in the only remaining space on the pilings just after the pub.
There were a couple of short showers around lunchtime, but the sun then came out for most of the afternoon.
|1.75 miles||6 locks||1.97 hrs||3.93 lmph|
Woke to a cool, fresh morning. On the move promptly, continuing northwards, leaving Tibberton and passing through Oddingly and Dunhampsted to Hanbury. Great to be able to see the rolling countryside, after the steep sides of the river, the urban surroundings of Worcester and the treed avenues to Tibberton. Stopped at Hanbury Wharf to get a gas cylinder - they didn't have our size, but swapped (free of charge) our (very) empty one for one returned as allegedly empty but had a little sloshing around, in the hope it may last a day or two extra. Very grateful to them.
Left Hanbury Wharf, passing the junction with the Droitwich Junction Canal, and headed for the Astwood Flight of 6 locks. Made good time up the flight, only one to empty and assistance at the last from CRT Volunteers. Rounding the corner, we came to the outskirts of Stoke Prior and Stoke Works Wharf, mooring for the day outside the building site from last year - still a building site but they are getting there! Out for lunch at the Boat and Railway - were there last year and had a great meal (including a pie for Pat) and it didn't disappoint this year. Back to "Paws" by mid-afternoon, stuffed! Quiet remainder to the day. One or two light showers interspersed by short periods of sun.
|6.28 miles||6 locks||3.22 hrs||3.81 lmph|
The forecast overnight rain never materialised, although the wind had increased.
Walked up to church (St Peter ad Vincula) in the morning. Standard CofE Communion service led by a visiting minister. Coffee and a chat afterwards, then one of the congregation offered to give us a lift back to The Bridge Pub (saving a 30 min walk).
Quiet afternoon working on the Family History again, while Pat worked on her puzzle books.
Generally dull day throughout.
Woke this morning to find the boat at a distinct slant - sitting on the bottom! By the time we were ready to go, we had come more upright and we managed to push "Paws" off the bank. Continued generally northwards, the overgrowth at the edge of the towpath was still preventing mooring along this section, as it had been last year at the Festival. The cutters do either side of the mettled towpath, but leave the last 6"-9" next to the water's edge uncut - easy for walkers but useless for mooring. Once clear of the works units alongside the canal, one is quickly into rural vistas and the locks to come are very pleasant (although the paddle-gear is stiff).
Ascended Blackpole then Tolladine Locks, the further we went, the better the water levels. Reaching Offerton Bottom Lock, we found paddles partly-drawn and were joined by a CRT Employee engaged in running water down. Although we had to fill every one of the 6 locks in the flight, we made good progress.
Clearing the Top Lock, we continued under the M5 motorway and into the village of Tibberton, mooring before Bridge 25. Pat spent the remainder of the afternoon gardening while I worked on Family History data.
Late afternoon, we were 'rammed' by an ABC hireboat - they struck our counter with their shoulder with some force, locker doors and drawers were sent flying open. The canal is well wide enough here so must have lost complete control and were going too fast for passing moored boats. Unfortunately, I didn't catch the name of the boat. ABC are obviously not training enough as "Warbling Wren" passed us just after 22:00 (well after sunset).
|3.11 miles||8 locks||2.69 hrs||4.13 lmph|
Very heavy rain overnight. Long lie in. Pottered for the morning, with me assisting a few boats down the Top Lock. Water levels not restored overnight - reported to CRT that the level was about 12"-14" down.
After lunch, Pat took a walk to the local convenience store for more supplies. I went out again to keep an eye on the situation in the low pound in case boats got stuck. By 15:00, the level was down by about 2 ft so rang CRT again. Our pound was also starting to drop.
We were sitting on the bottom by 16:00! Shortly after, a very nice young CRT Person arrived and started correcting levels (after a jovial chat, I left him to it!)
Up early to assist Brian & Karen, aboard the hireboat from last night, down onto the river. Slight change of plan for them - during the evening, Brian had twisted his knee getting off the boat and they weren't going far. They requested I assist to move for water, and wind, then return to the berth which I was quite happy to do.
Arrived back at "Paws" to be told that Pat hadn't been well after I left, and our plans had changed. We set a batch of washing going before lunch then, feeling better, Pat walked up into town for a few necessaries. While she was away, I reversed "Paws" back to the service point for loo and water, returning to the mooring to await Pat.
After a quick lunch, we let go and ascended Sidbury and Blockhouse Locks, intending to moor at the visitor moorings above the lock. Unfortunately, they were all full, so we had to move on. Turned in at Worcester Marina for fuel and gas - fuel OK, but no gas bottles our size. Continued onwards towards the next batch of locks, the reeds on the offside were as bad as last year. Ascended Gregory Mill (2 Locks) and continued on to Bilford Bottom Lock where we found a boat sat on the bottom in the short pound above.
It took us ½-hour to run enough water to float them and get them through, then we ascended both Bilford Locks, mooring immediately above. Noted that there was a CRT barge and tug moored on the lock-landing. Early night, tired
After a cloudy start, the sun came out by late morning, but it clouded over again around dinnertime, suggesting rain to come.
|2.56 miles||6 locks||2.45 hrs||3.50 lmph|
Slow start to the day. Cloud cover had remained, but no rain overnight.
Just as we were leaving for lunch out, the rain came on - not overly heavy, but useful. Continued to The Commandery for toasties and cake. Excellent as usual. Had intended to go shopping afterwards but, despite the rain easing, Pat decided to return to "Paws". Quiet afternoon with occasional light showers.
Assisted a hireboat alongside just before dinner - volunteered to assist them down the wide locks tomorrow morning.
After our 2 days on the pontoon, we had to move so, we had a leisurely start and left the berth mid-morning, noting that the CRT Mooring Enforcement officer was out checking . Turned onto the Worcs & Brum canal and ascended the two wide locks with the assistance of a CRT Volunteer. Clearing the lock, we headed through the basin and out past the services berth, mooring just north of Mill Street Bridge.
Word received from daughter in Italy that the results are through for her uni course - she is "BA(Hon) Class.Stud. (Open)" (a 2/1 degree from the Open University) - Congratulations
Heatwave continues, although sky clouded over by dinner time. There were a few drops of rain, but not enough to cool anything.
|0.43 miles||2 locks||1.02 hrs||2.38 lmph|
Heatwave conditions continue - too hot to do anything. Kept shutters closed on sunny side, all doors and portholes open. The two gentlemen on "Besorah" headed off, leaving the boat, and there were no other boat movements on the pontoon.
I was disgusted at an overheard conversation between the skipper of two of the other boats on the pontoon, congratulating themselves on how they manage to overstay on mooring without getting caught - this year, we have noticed more boaters ignoring the rules of etiquette and the provisions of "The Waterways Code" and "Boaters' Handbook". Disappointing.
Up early for a prompt start. Let go and moved to the services berth to top up before departure.
Once ready, passed through Llanthony Bridge for the last time and descended Gloucester Lock onto the River Severn intending to moor at Haw Bridge. Returned north in "The Partings" - a number of trees had fallen somewhere and had been carried down by the current / tidal stream and were blocking the channel by up to 50%. Continued northwards up the river in the baking heat. The mooring at Haw Bridge was full, so continued on.
We didn't want to use any of the 'pub' moorings as we would not be going to any of the pubs, and all the public moorings were full as far as Upper Lode Lock so ascended intending to moor at Tewkesbury. Turned in to the River Avon and just caught the lockie as she went to lunch - she said there was a mooring above the lock if we fitted, or there was 'the wall', either would cost £5, but we could have lunch on the lock pontoon (for free) until she returned. We had lunch, and a look at the available moorings - too large for the one above the lock (it didn't actually have anything to moor onto!) and 'the wall' wasn't great (the rings on top were too high for us to be safely moored) so we headed back onto the Severn hoping for Upton.
Arrived at Upton to find they had a music/beer festival going on (we heard the 'music' ¼ mile away!), and they were breasted up to 6 wide, so just continued straight on - oh well, a long day . The only bonus was that we witnessed the flypast by the spitfire/hurricane duo of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. We also saw 3 kingfishers.
Sharing the driving, we continued up the Severn. As there are no more pontoons before Worcester, we ascended Diglis lock hoping to get a mooring on the visitor pontoon above the lock. It was actually full, but a kind gentleman aboard "Besorah" let us breast alongside him. Tired, hot and hungry we tucked in for the night. Great 'Prom' concert with John Wilson.
|29.62 miles||3 locks||9.00 hrs||3.62 lmph|
Slightly long lie as not moving today. Decided to use the day for tying up loose ends before heading back north.
After breakfast, Pat went to Sainsbury's for a couple of last-minute items. We both then went into Gloucester Quays, and ended with lunch at Costa. Back to "Paws" for mid-afternoon to cool off.
Wall-to-wall blue sky. Only a gentle breeze funneled through the boat made it bearable, with a forecast of higher temperatures to come!
Not planning to go far today, so took our time getting going. On our way mid-morning, once again headed round the bend from Quedgeley to Gloucester. There was no space at the Sainsbury's mooring so passed under High Orchard Bridge and moored on the pontoon.
Walked back to Sainsbury's for stores then had lunch aboard. The boat behind complained about engine fumes and noise so we turned "Paws" round putting the engine at the other end. Quiet remainder to the afternoon. Early dinner as visitors coming in the evening.
Fantastic evening aboard chatting with Rachel & Phil. Look forward to having them aboard again in the future (hopefully with Grace along as well).
|1.89 miles||0 locks||0.73 hrs||2.59 lmph|
Up early for what was expected to be a long day. Pat elected to stay on the boat, while I caught a bus to Dursley (to walk round the graveyard at the Church of St James the Great ), then to walk over to Cam (to walk round the graveyard at St George's Church ).
The graveyard at St James' is very small and I found no useful information (as expected). That at St George's is not well kept - quite deep meadow-grass in places, and the stones were in poor condition, a large number unreadable. A disappointing day's work.
Found a park-bench for lunch, and walked back to the bus-stop to return to Quedgeley. Back aboard by mid-afternoon.
Up and on the move promptly, heading northeast again. Moored up (as usual) at Saul Junction for services, then continued on. They light cloud cover from early morning had dissipated and the day had become hot again with little breeze.
Lunch on the move as we continued northeast back to Quedgeley. After two abortive attempts to squeeze in at Rea Bridge, we finally got the last space at Sim's Bridge.
|9.67 miles||0 locks||3.53 hrs||2.74 lmph|
Lazy start as not intending to move today. Logged in to the e-coffee-morning at All Saints, Doncaster, for a catch-up. Rachel was online today so follow-up phonecall made to arrange visiting us. Friday evening agreed.
After lunch, took a hike into the village (no buses) and walked to the graveyard at the Church of St John the Evangelist , looking for more ancestors - one burial found, although none expected. Another to write up at some point.
A few short light showers passed over. They did freshen the air a little bit.
Incoming Notice from CRT concerning Fretherne Bridge - Stoppage now cancelled, electrics fixed. Reverted to Plan A.
On the move fairly promptly and moved "Paws" to the services berth for the usual items, then set off again southwestwards. Moored at Saul Junction for a visit to the Cotswold Canals Trust information kiosk & shop.
After lunch, moved on again, mooring south of Patch Bridge, roughly where we were last week.
A very uneventful, hot day, with little breeze.
|11.96 miles||0 locks||3.34 hrs||3.58 lmph|
Walked round to the Mariners' Church for the service, then on for coffee afterwards. Coincidentally met up with Paul & Kim who were also there.
A quiet afternoon doing puzzles and working on the family history project. Watched as High Orchard Bridge raised to let a very tall yacht through. Received a CRT Stoppage Notice - Fretherne Bridge closed due to an electrical fault - plans for Slimbridge tomorrow adjusted.
Out for wedding anniversary dinner (2 days late) at Zizzi's (a favourite chain of ours).
As per plan, on the move promptly, returning northwards towards Gloucester. Moored outside Sainsbury's for lunch, then shopping. After a slightly cloudy start, the cloud cleared to another hot day.
Once finished shopping, we moved "Paws" to the other side of High Orchard Bridge (the west side (wall) is nearer Sainsbury's for the trolley, the east side (pontoon) is better for longer mooring).
|9.44 miles||0 locks||2.97 hrs||3.18 lmph|
Up slightly early. We had decided to support the coffee morning at St Mary's, and Pat wanted to supply scones. She got to baking as soon as breakfast was finished. Walked round to the church for 10:00.
Whilst out shopping yesterday, Pat arranged to get her hair cut at 12:30, so she went off for that and I returned to "Paws" for lunch. Pat got hers when she got back. I went out for a better photo of the church .
We decided to stay here a second night and move to Gloucester tomorrow. This will allow Sunday night alongside for a wedding anniversary dinner (no bookings available today or Saturday).
Heatwave conditions throughout the country. A light breeze did rise late afternoon, easing things here a little.
Up and on the move promptly on a chillier and windier morning. Headed northeast through Patch Bridge, then Cambridge Arms, Splatt and Fretherne swingbridges to Saul Junction. Having passed through Sandfield Swingbridge, we moored at the services point for loo, rubbish and water. Very busy with boats in both directions, and turning and servicing.
Having finished, we turned "Paws" and headed back through Sandfield, Fretherne and Splatt bridges (lunch on the move), and moored immediately south of Splatt Bridge.
During the afternoon, Pat supervised a load of washing, then walked into the village for essential shopping, while I went to St Mary's to investigate their 'survey' of the graveyard. Success with the graveyard, finding our one known grave. Will now need to be written up in the Family History Project.
|5.87 miles||0 locks||2.38 hrs||2.47 lmph|
Up early to walk round to Slimbridge Wetland Centre for opening time. Very hot and tiring, but a great day out seeing all the wildlife and reading about their conservation work.
Back aboard "Paws" for mid-afternoon to have a rest and cool off.
After an exceptionally quiet night, we were up promptly. 'Housekeeping' decided that she should do a load of washng before topping up the water and returning as far as Slimbridge. With the washing finished just before lunch, we elected to have lunch before moving off.
On the move, we headed to the junction of the 'Old Arm' to get services, but couldn't find the Elsan we thought we remembered from 2015 - other boats in the area said there wasn't one. Winded "Paws" and headed back northeast. With a weather forecast predicting rain during the latter half of the afternoon, we ditched Plan B (go to Saul Junction for services, then come back to Slimbridge) and headed through the two bridges at Purton and moored south of Patch Bridge. The moorings were again busy, so further out than we had hoped.
|3.74 miles||0 locks||1.24 hrs||3.02 lmph|
Another beautiful morning, and another of those mornings where one can't get out of one's own road! After pottering about, then saying our goodbyes to Paul & Kim, we finally got on the move late-morning, continuing southwest. We passed through Splatt Swingbridge, then on through Cambridge Arms and Patch Swingbridges, and on again through the two swingbridges at Purton. Saw a mother shelduck with tiny chicks, a first for us
After Purton, there are three items of historical interest.
We moored for the afternoon just south of the remqains of the railway bridge .
|5.74 miles||0 locks||2.01 hrs||2.85 lmph|
The day started sunny, and I went with Paul & Kim to the service at St Mary's. In conversation with one of the church officers over coffee after the service, it transpired they have a 'survey' of the graveyard with all stones mapped and names indexed. The church will be open during the day from Tuesday onward.
Rain set in over lunchtime so no work possible during the afternoon. Decision taken to move on tomorrow and come back later in the week.
Rain again this morning, so the walk to St Mary's graveyard put on hold. Spent the morning clearing e-paperwork. Just before lunch, "Somang" moored astern. Had a brief chat with Paul & Kim (BCF members and Waterways Chaplains ).
The rain eventually cleared early afternoon. Paul & Kim joined us for coffee.
A quieter night than expected (under the road bridge). As decided last night, washing machine on promptly, and other cleaning and chores immediately after breakfast. These took all morning, so had lunch before moving off.
After lunch, Moved back to the services berth at Llanthony Bridge and did the necessaries. Once finished, headed off southwest again. Once again under the swingbridges out to Saul Junction, this time extending the trip through the two junction bridges, on under Fretherne Swingbridge, past the old chocolate factory quay , and moored at Frampton just before Splatt Lane Bridge, and opposite St Mary's Church (our destination for tomorrow).
|9.65 miles||0 locks||2.79 hrs||3.46 lmph|