Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Gloucester Sharpness Canal

Captains Log
Canal Date                14th May
Present Location       Gloucester Docks   Gloucester Sharness Canal

 Well, what a strange month it has been. We have has burning hot sunshine, heavy rain, gales and horrid cold spells.

The last report on here was on the river Severn at Upton. What has happened since then?
Well I have not fallen in the water, the boat has not broken down and all is well in our little world. 

The trip from Upton to Gloucester was interesting in so much as you could clearly see where the river had been only a few weeks previously. It was a good 10 feet higher. I am so glad that we were not out on the river in those conditions. That would have been just a bit too scary for us. We had to wait for the tide to turn at Upper Load Lock.  Apart from that the only issue we had was on the final approach to Gloucester. The river splits just before Gloucester. It is known as the Partings. The channel taken by boats is quite narrow by river standard causing the flow to be much faster and just to make life interesting we were being pushed along on an out going tide. We were going at a fair lick! It was then when I opened my mouth just in time to put my foot into it. I said to Pam “This is where we will meet a combine harvester!”  In that instant a bloody great ship came round the corner. One of the huge river hotel boats. Now he was not going to move out of the centre line. He needed the deepest channel.  I could not get into the bank as it was full of fallen trees from the floods. I could not stop as the river flow was far too strong. I could see the white of the captain’s eyes. He was not a happy bunny at all. We just managed to pass each other. I went as close to the fallen trees as I could but the wash from his ship pushed me into the debris. Not much damage, just a few scratches in the paint work. 

We joined the Gloucester Sharpness Canal and I have never felt so relieved to be off a river since the last time I was on a river!

We spent a few days in the basin before heading down to Sharpness. We spent much of the time moored at Purton. There are hundreds of wrecks there on the Severn bank. They had been beached there to help stop the erosion of the canal by the Severn. They make for a most interesting walk. While there we had fully laden river barges going past each carrying 250 tons of rubble from a building site. They were full! No more than 2” of boat above the waterline.  Think how many lorry loads that would have been. It was nice to see the canal being used for what it was designed to do. The weather was just perfect while we were there. I did get a bit of sunburn on my head. I wonder where all my hair has gone to? I never used to get sunburn on the top of my head. This is about as far from our home as we can go in this direction and it is where we had most visitors.

We broke the run back to Gloucester into small steps. We stopped at every village and point of interest we could find.

We are back in Gloucester Dock. We docked on the floating pontoons in a gale. I thought I knew what I was doing but the strenght of the wind took me by supprise. I was expecting it to cause some issues but I thought I had allowd for it and was firmly in control. That is until the boat swung completly round. It took 4 of us to pull it against the wind. The afternood was as bad as I have ever had. Almost sea sick.
We are now slowly building up courage to tackle the mighty Severn again. Probably on Thursday. Then going up the River Avon to Stratford upon Avon.

The river Severn is at normal summer levels now, but it is raining and it can rise very quickly. If it looks even slightly dodgy then we shall remain here until it settles again.
Our up to date movement can be found on Water Explorer.

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