Friday, 26 August 2016

Pershore via Tewkesbury with Wye Invader Two

Over the last 3 years, Wye Invader Two has been to Tewkesbury about 8 times with a stop over for the night on the way to Worcester or Stourport, however curiosity got the better of us on this trip, instead of turning right to the town mooring, we purchased a 48hr licence and turned left under the town bridge into the River Avon, a different type of river navigation than the Severn, the river is a lot narrower with 2 old bridges, 1 of which is under repair and the wildlife more at ease with boats. Pershore was a pleasant surprise, hotels and pubs with river front moorings including 200 metres of navigation mooring fronting the sports fields. I think we need to put at least 3 weeks aside for the next visit!

Monday 15th August. Leave Sharpness at 12.00hrs
The journey to Gloucester was very quiet, we stopped at Saul Junction for fuel, we were clear by 13.45hrs and on the last 8 miles to Gloucester. We arrived in Gloucester at 15.45hrs, just before passing under Llanthony Bridge and into the dock I rang the Lock Master at Gloucester to check on availability, the lock had just been filled and the gates would be open by the time we had cleared the bridge. We entered Gloucester Lock at 15.50hrs and cleared the lock at 16.00hrs. The 3.5 miles up the Parting were completed in 45 minutes, I did notice the water in the Parting seemed to be slack with little or no current, probably because the River Severn was on low Summer level.

We arrived at the top of the Parting at 16.45hrs, this is where we rejoined the River Severn and the next 10 miles were very quiet with not a boat to be seen. At18.30hrs we arrived at Upper Load Lock, as we came round the corner the lock gates were open and the traffic signal on green, we sailed in and moored to the left side, the Lock Keeper checked we were OK and the gates closed. 15 minutes later the lock was full, the gates opened we sailed out. Half a mile further on I turned right into the River Avon, a few hundred metres upstream the river turned to the left into the final approach to the first Avon lock where we registered the boat and paid for the number of days we intended to stay, then we locked up onto the Old Mill Leet and our mooring for to night.

Tewkesbury Bridge

Tuesday 16th August.
After breakfast at about 09.45hrs we were underway back along the Mill Leet towards the lock and the water refill point just past the lock entrance. At 11.15hrs the water tank was filled and we got underway along the Mill Leet passing under the main road bridge out of Tewkesbury. The River Avon was just ahead with the main weir to the left, the Marina was on the right and the Sailing Club follows the bank for about 300 metres. We were now in open country,  on the left we passed a pub and a few houses, in the distance we could see the M5 motorway and we soon passed under it's bridge. A couple of miles further on and the river narrows, there is a weir on the left with the first lock just ahead.  Arriving at Strensham at 12.45hrs we entered the first lock, 15 minutes later at 13.00hrs we were clear, as we left the lock there were boats moored on the right for about 200 metres. The river was now about 30 metres wide, in the distance was a rail bridge, as we passed under the river started to change, it narrowed, their were more bends and the sides became wooded down to the river edges.

14.00hrs. As we came round a left bend the river opened up with the weir ahead and to the left the mooring poles, further ahead was the lock, the lock was open and 15 minutes later we cleared the lock, the right side of the river is wooded right down to the water and the left bank was open fields. We had been on the move for about 45 minutes and the landscape changed, the fields were now on the right and we had woods to the left. We passed a small boat yard on the left with about 20 boats tied up alongside, we also had the main road to Pershore on the left, ahead was an old road bridge and we passed under, just upstream was a large concrete bridge that carries the main road through Pershore, a few hundred metres further on was the last lock before the town. The gates were open and there was a boat in front of us, I dropped Andy off to assist and Wye Invader Two went in alongside for the lift up. At 15.15hrs we were second out of the lock and moved slowly up river towards the town mooring area just along side the sports field for the night.

Wye Invader Two moored at Pershore 

Wednesday 17th August - the return journey.
09.30hrs. We turned Wye Invader Two around and set off downstream towards the Town Lock, when we arrived the lock was full so all we had to do was open the gates, as we entered the lock chamber a small narrowboat arrived, they eased in alongside us and the gates were closed. We were lowered and 15 minutes later we were on our way back to Tewkesbury. The journey back on the Avon was uneventful, we were very lucky to see lots of wildlife and only 4 other boats, we arrived in Tewkesbury at about 14.00hrs where we moored on the town side of the lock.

14.30hrs. Listening to the radio, rain was forecast for the next 2 days so we decided to leave and head back to Gloucester. We left Tewkesbury at 15.00hrs and arrived in Gloucester at 17.30, we stayed overnight just outside of the docks as Llanthony Bridge, the bridge that closes the dock area off, doesn’t open until 09.30hrs due to local traffic in Gloucester.

River Avon heading away from Pershore
Ready for the rain!

Thursday 18th August.
08.00hrs. Engine and gearbox oils checked, wet weather gear on and with the rain showers getting heavier we left Gloucester for Sharpness. 12.00hrs we arrived at Sharpness and for the next 2 hours - it really did rain! The final photograph taken in Sharpness is SS Freshspring which we mentioned recently, now in Dry Dock for maintenance on her hull.

SS Freshspring dry docked at Sharpness

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

An American Connection in Tewksbury

It’s strange who you meet on our waterways. Wye Invader Two was on the River Avon in Tewksbury last week just past where you lock down onto the River Severn, just before the lock was the Narrowboat ‘Finnuala’. We pulled Wye Invader Two in to stop and top up our water tank, as ‘Finnuala’ passed us to enter the lock the gentleman at the helm asked if we were anything to do with the Wye Invader?

We explained Wye Invader was our previous vessel, and the American gentleman told us that he and his wife had previously owned a 25m Dutch barge but had now downsized to the boat they were on today and that they had watched all of our Wye Invader videos on YouTube, he went on to explain they spend 6 weeks of the year cruising our British waterways and were thrilled to meet the person who sailed the 38m Wye Invader both up and down the River Wye.


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Wye Invader at Upper Load Lock

On our return trip from Worcester in July 2013, about half between Worcester and Gloucester just below Tewkesbury, is Upper Load Lock. These photos were taken by a person called Les, he was on a narrow boat in the same Lock en-route to Gloucester, what I didn't know was that he had the 2 photos until a year or so later when I stopped in the Marina at Saul Junction where he used to work, we got talking about boats when the subject of the Wye Invader came up and the pictures he'd taken 12 months earlier, which he recently emailed to me for the Wye Invader website.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Brockweir Revisited (or Big Waves, Big Skies and a Big Rock)

A new Wye Invader Two video now on the Wye Invader YouTube page.  A 3 day trip from Sharpness to Brockweir and return that didn't quite go to plan!

SS Freshspring

An interesting visitor at Sharpness this weekend, Steamship Freshspring arrived ready to go into Dry Dock for hull repairs. SS Freshspring, originally a coal fired steamship, was first launched in August 1946, she sailed to her permanent base in Malta in February 1947 and served as a water carrier and fire tender. She is the last surviving Fresh class water carrier built for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and she will be converted to carry cruise passengers while preserving the past and educating and inspiring knowledge for future generations.