Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Sharpness to Portishead and return with Wye Invader Two

SATURDAY 1st to Sunday 2nd September 2018

Weather - Cloud and sunshine with light winds from the South and a moderate swell below the The Prince of Wales Bridge, an ideal time to enjoy the delights of the  River Severn between Sharpness and Portishead.

Saturday’s tide height - 7.6 metres 12.05 hours, outbound
Sunday’s tide height -  7.8 metres 12.30 hours, return journey

The access bridge from the canal to Sharpness Dock and the sea lock was booked on Thursday morning, we were told to be at the bridge at 10.00 hours on Saturday. 

Saturday morning 10.00 hours -  Wye Invader Two passed through the bridge, then on and into the Lock. We locked down at 10.30 hours and then moored alongside the floating pontoon to wait for high water at 12.05 hours. I phoned Portishead Marina and was informed that the last Lock In will be at 15.15 hours, so we have 3 hours and 10 minutes to travel the 20 miles to Portishead. Bearing this in mind we decided to leave Sharpness 35 minutes before high water and then cross the half mile of the River Severn using the right bank which was in the Lee (sheltered from the on coming tide) and on past the stone structure of Lydney Harbour entrance, then on to the Old Severn Bridge to speed things up a little. 

11.25 hours. Wye Invader Two moved out of the Sea Lock and onto the River Severn, as we left the shelter of Sharpness we were carried sideways at right angles to the oncoming tide and forward, at just over one mile per hour.

11.46 hours. We crossed over the River Severn, we were just upstream and in the Lee, picking up speed as the tide turns off Lydney Docks.

12.05 hours. As we pass Lydney Docks it was now High water and from this point on the Tide picked up speed as it ebbed (as the tide goes out it picks up speed as it moves down the Severn estuary).

13.09 hours. Wye Invader Two was now about half a mile upstream of The Old Severn Bridge, speed was around  9 or 10 mph.

13.19 hours. We passed under the Old Severn Bridge and were now passing the island, half a mile below the bridge on our Starboard side where the River Wye falls into the River Severn.

13.41 hours. Wye Invader Two was now about 500 metres downstream of the The Prince of Wales Bridge. I contacted Portishead Marina and we were advised that the next Lock Up will be at 14.15 hours. The next five and a half miles were covered in 25 minutes, we arrived outside the Lock with 5 minutes to spare!


14.10 hours. We were now in a queue with lots of small boats waiting to be Locked Up into Portishead.

14.15 hours. All the boats are secured to the floating pontoons, the gates were closed and we were Locked up and into the Marina.

14.45 hours. We visited the Marina office to pay for the mooring, at the same time I booked the Lock for the return to Sharpness, the first Lock out is at 08.30 hours on Sunday morning.


Sunday 2nd  September.

08.15 hours. Sunday morning, the traffic signal is on green we have moved into the lock for Lock down at 08.30 hours.

08.30 hours. The Lock gate closed and we were lowered to sea level, the Lock gates were opened and we were first out on to the rising tide.

08.45 hours. We were now about halfway across the Main channel into Avonmouth Docks, heading towards the new Severn crossing, now named The Prince of Wales Bridge.

09.20 hours. We covered the last five and a half miles in about 25 minutes and were just about to  pass under the the The Prince of Wales Bridge.
10.29 hours. Wye Invader Two has now completed the transit above the Old Severn Bridge, between Inward Rocks and Chapel Rock and we turned to Port with Oldbury Power Station’s Tidal Reservoir astern and with Sharpness ahead, about 6 miles in the distance.

11.25 hours. Wye Invader Two turned into the Sharpness Outer entrance and then into the Sea Lock and we moored alongside the Pontoon. We had a wait of about half an hour while the access bridge to the docks were opened and the boats passed through, we were then secured in the Lock and then lowered before we can Lock up.

12.30 hours.  Wye Invader Two was moored up in the Marina and a pleasant weekend was had by all.

More from Wye Invader Two on our website https://www.wyeinvader.uk

Friday, 7 September 2018

Bank Holiday Weekend 24-27 August 2018

Friday 1230 hours. Arrived at Sharpness Marina and parked the car, we then walked down to the Wye Invader Two berth with enough food for a long weekend as we planned a visit to Stourport to see a boat a friend has spent the last 4 or 5 years building, it was as good a reason as anything for a few pints!

1300 hours. We left the mooring and Sharpness with the sun shinning and a forecast of showers, as we neared Gloucester, the first heavy shower and strong winds spoil what was turning out to be pleasant afternoon. We made good time with no queues at the bridges along the Sharpness Canal and by 1600 hours, the bridge lifted to allow us and other boats to pass Llanthony Bridge, on to Gloucester Lock and then up the Parting, as we cleared the top of the Parting the rain clouds followed and about every half hour or so we got wet.
1930 hours. We moored on the River Avon for the night just outside the Lock.


Saturday 0800 hours. Breakfast first, about 0830 hours we called in at the Avon Lock and paid the £5 fee to the Keeper for use of their mooring overnight. 0900 hours we started the engine and the days adventure begun. The 16 miles to Worcester soon passed and by 1145 hours Wye Invader Two was sat just below Diglas Lock waiting to enter along with another narrow boat, the crew were from Australia, it's a small world!

1200 hours. We left Diglas Lock, we soon passed through Worcester having taken photos of the Cathedral and the Bridge, the river seems to narrow and we have more trees close to the banks, Oaks and Ash not but no Willows.

1300 hours.  Bevere Lock is the first lock after Worcester, as we entered, the gates closed and the clouds opened and we were soaked by a rain shower, as the lock opened the sun shone, it was then onward to the 2nd lock, Holt Fleet.

1545 hours. Lincomb Lock is just below Stourport,  as we passed through the Lock and then joined the River, on the left is the Weir and just a few hundred metres further upstream, on the starboard side is Stourport Marina, as Wye Invader Two entered, a sign gives you an instruction to sound your horn, this we did and then moved to the right to moor along side the Visitors mooring at 1625 - it was still raining!


1900 hours. We stopped by the Marina Club and Bar for a few beers.

Sunday 0830 hours. We departed the Marina, the rain started to fall, the wind increased and it continued for the next few hours until we got back down river to Tewkesbury and Lock up, it finally stopped at about 1800 hours.

Monday 0800 hours. We were the first to Lock down out of Tewkesbury and by 0830 hours we were in Upper Load waiting to lock down.

1055 hours. Wye Invader Two entered Gloucester Lock, the journey down to Gloucester was a pleasure after yesterday’s rain and wind.

1257 hours. We were now more than halfway along the Sharpness Canal, having just passed through Fretherne Bridge.


1426 hours. Sharpness Marina. We moored up after 116 miles and 50 litres of diesel and about 26 hours of engine time, a long weekend and all for just a few beers!

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Tewkesbury to Gloucester on a High Spring tide of 9.8 metres at Sharpness.

11.30am - Lock down at Tewkesbury, on route to Upper Load Lock on the River Severn.

11.45am - We arrived at Upper Load Lock, the lock gates were open and we had a green traffic signal, we entered and secured Wye Invader Two on the Starboard side. The Lock Keeper took details of Wye Invader Two and explained about the height of the tide and the flotsam (several large trees and just about anything that will float on or near the top of the tide!), on a small tide this can be found in the Parting (the cut or channel about 3 miles from the Lock in Gloucester to the River Severn) and sometimes up as far the ‘Five mile to Gloucester Sign’ at Ashleworth where the Boat inn fronts the River Severn but, as we found out yesterday on the journey up from Gloucester, on High Spring tides over 9 metres in height, the flotsam is generally spread out over a much greater distance and is a lot easer to deal with as we navigated the return passage on the way downstream towards Gloucester.

12.00pm - We have locked out of Upper Load Lock and are now on the top of the tide, it’s not until we have travelled the 5 miles downstream as far as Haw Bridge Inn in 35 minutes, that the River Severn can be seen to pick up speed as the river water passes through the trees and bushes along the banks, we pass the odd large tree and other objects all on their way back down to Sharpness via Gloucester.

12.50pm - About 3 miles downstream on the left we passed the Red Lion Inn on the left bank, the River Severn changes gear at this point, it is clearly moving quickly, by the time we have covered the next 2 miles downstream to the Boat inn at Ashleworth, Wye Invader two was now travelling at 9 mph.

We now had the next 2 miles to slow down and get past the eddies at the top of the Parting where the River Severn tries to go in cycles rather than split. As Wye Invader Two entered the Parting we were still moving at just over 6 mph, as we got down to the last bridge and the ‘Half Mile’ sign, I spoke to the Lock Keeper, the gates were opened and we slowed the last half mile so as to have control and steerage and enter the Lock, as we secured, the Lock keeper walked over to inform us that we have to wait for another 15 minutes for another Narrowboat - in all, an interesting “High Tide’ run from Tewkesbury to Gloucester! 

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Wye Invader Two at Tirley on the River Severn

The Wye Invader web guy caught up with Wye Invader Two at Tirley on the River Severn this weekend, after coffee and biscuits (thanks Frank and Andy) Wye Invader Two continued on to Tewkesbury to sample some of the local hostelries before returning to Sharpness via Gloucester on Sunday.


Friday, 27 July 2018

New Video - Wye Invader Two reaches Llandogo

Wye Invader Two left Sharpness at 06.50 on 11th July 2018, by 21.00 she had reached Llandogo on the River Wye, the first known narrowboat to do so since Bernard Jessop with 'Buccaneer" in 1992.

Careful pre-planning with several recce's to the proposed mooring and a study of tide times and heights was checked beforehand. On the day, a stop at Chepstow for several hours was needed as the tide turned, she moved off Chepstow on the tide at 16.10, then a short stop on a private jetty at Tintern before moving off again to Brockweir and then Llandogo, arriving at 19.00.

Now on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VJcPF-OpxM

Friday, 20 July 2018

Bigsweir bridge and weir

Bigsweir Bridge is part of a turnpike road between Chepstow and Monmouth that had sufficient air draft to allow the many boats built on the banks of the River Wye as far upstream as Hereford to pass under. Constructed in 1827 and years ahead of it’s time, it was designed by Charles Hollis of London, made in cast iron from Merthyr Tydfil and is 164 feet (50 metres) long. In 1988 it became a Grade 2 listed structure, in 2010/11 it was repaired, strengthened and re-painted.

The New Weir upstream of Bigsweir Bridge is the limit of the Normal Tidal Limit (NTL) under the control of Gloucester Harbour Trustees, the navigation authority for this part of the River Severn and River Wye. This photograph was taken on Sunday morning 15th July 2018 at 10.30 am when the high Spring tide was at the top of its tide. This is the only time in 3 days of high Spring Tides a month that boats could could pass up the channel below and over the new weir because of the depth of water at the quay at Whitebrook where for at least two hundred years, paper was made and then transported down the River Wye by boat from its own quay about 200 meters above the New Weir, this method of transportation stopped when the railways came to the Wye Valley.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Wye Invader Two goes to Llandogo!

A new video coming soon. Sharpness to Llandogo on the River Wye with Wye Invader Two. A Narrowboat is rarely seen this far up the River Wye and definitely not a trip for a novice! Bookmark our Website now.