Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Captains Log   Canal Date 25th April 2017

Cookley to Gloucester Sharpness Canal.

Well, after doing all that work on the camper we eventually set sail and headed south.

We travelled the remaining length of the Staffs & Worc’s canal to Stourport. We managed to make that last a week!

I took the opportunity while in Stourport to put aside a full day to attend to a very small leak on the central heating. I know that fixing the leak would not be a difficult job but I also know that getting to it would be a major undertaking. The leak is somewhere on the hot water tank. The tank in is a cupboard inside the wardrobe. The wardrobe door is significantly smaller than me!

To gain access I first had to empty the wardrobe and that meant finding somewhere to put everything. That in its self is no easy task. I then have to remove the wardrobe door; that gives me another inch of space. I then have to remove both hanging rails and remove the wall between the wardrobe and cupboard. All the time I am doing this there is the very real risk of pulling any one of the myriad of cables. I then can get to see the hot water tank.

Seeing it and working on it are very different things. Remember this is a narrow boat and they don’t call them narrow for nothing.

I delved deep into my “It might come in useful sometime” plumbing box. I soon found where the leak was. I could see it; I could even touch it but getting a spanner on it, well that was it was a totally different ball game. It was a job that would have taxed a gynaecologist! I managed to get it tight enough to stop the obvious leak but would not start to rebuild the cupboard until I was sure that it was fixed and no other leaks. I did not want to do it all again.

I had to build the wardrobe again on the evening as the bed was several feet higher with all of our clothes on top.

I had put that job off for a few weeks as I wanted to be in a town where I could get hold of plumbing fittings if required and none were needed. If I had done it when I first noticed it then I know I would have been stuck for a part.

While we were moored in Stourport we also managed to meet some old friends.

We dropped down the lock into the top basin and filled up with diesel and picked up a new gas bottle. It was just in time as were nearly out of fuel.

We had thought of stopping a few more nights there but there was no room in the basin so we went down the locks onto the river. Once again all of the available moorings had been taken. We had no alternative; we had to start the run down the river. We did not get very far. We moored up at the Lenchford Inn; a pub we have used many times before but not for a long time. It was still good.

The River Severn is a little bit wider than the Staffs & Worc's Canal
A fully loaded Barge going under the Road Bridge at Upton upon Severn 

Next morning we set off again. The weather was fine but cold. We thought of having a full day on the river and put a few miles in but the cold soon took all of the enthusiasm away. We did make it to Upton upon Severn though and that is the thick end of 20 miles and several huge river locks.

I expected Upton moorings to be very busy as it was getting close the Easter holiday. We were the only boat on the pontoons! We stayed there for two days before going for the final leg of the river – All the way to Gloucester. The river was running low and the weather had improved so it was an altogether more enjoyable cruise.

You do not see many of these on the Staffs & Worc's Canal either!
I called Gloucester Lock on VHF and booked my passage. If you don’t call them you can be left hanging on the wall on a fast flowing river. I have done that once before and that was once too many times.

We were the massive lock all on our own and soon locked up to the Gloucester Sharpness Canal level. It was Good Friday and just about every white painted plastic cruiser in the world was moored in the docks.

Although there was still room of our boat I thought that it would be far too busy and noisy for us so we continued of anther two miles. It was empty there, much more the sort of moorings that we like.

We stayed there for ten days. The bus stop is only a few yards away and that takes us into Gloucester. A perfect arrangement and we get to play with our bus passes.

Eventually we found the need to change the view so we moved a few bridges down the canal. They are all swing bridges and all are manned. It is a true holiday for Pam with no locks at all on this canal.

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