Stock Wharf onto the River Avon

9th to 12th September 2016

Not quite sure where to start with this blog as it has been a few days and recalling lost file space for the previous four days is going to be rather difficult. We have been very busy with a lot of locks, additional crew members and covering some mileage as we are on an agenda now to be back at nb Lucy’s base on the 27th September. Cannot believe how quickly our time is coming to an end!!!

Our plan is to return to Stone but via Stratford Upon Avon and Birmingham so we are needing to increase our pace dramatically. Something we have not had to do up until now but think we are up to the challenge. Well, we had better be otherwise we will miss our flight back to Canada.

Nadine and Peter have settled in very well to the canal way of life and have even got Nadine on the tiller whilst Peter has been on the locks.

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We passed by this beautiful old lock keepers house where they had an espalier of roses growing up the side of the cottage and also an extensive rose garden on the other side which was very aromatic .

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We then turned onto the Droitwich Canal which was only re-opened in 2011.

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This canal is only 11 miles long and some of the locks are broad and some are narrow. There is a staircase of locks on the canal and unfortunately there was a drowning that occurred with a boater about three weeks ago in these locks. He was very experienced but made the error or going back down into the cabin when it was filling up with water and was unable to get out. People forget that even though this is a leisure activity there is an inherent risk in boating and you need to always be vigilant.

Onto Droitwich Spa where we moored up in readiness for Heritage Day in the morning. There was a big emphasis on the Romans and there were plenty of passionate people all ready to dress up and look like Woderick from Monty Python. We are sure there was a Woger, Wodney and Woan there along with biggus dickus!!

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It was a little wet for the gathering but the crowds still came out. After a few hours meeting the legions we were then back on the cut to complete the Droitwich canal and down onto the River Severn. This is quite a fast flowing river and there were a couple of manned locks that we had to complete. Luckily for us they are all automatic. The level of the river is very high at present and with the rain last night we were a little concerned that it might be too dangerous to navigate. The indicator was still in the green so onward we went. The River Severn originates in Wales and flows out through Bristol into the Irish Sea. The River Severn is the longest river in England at 354 kilometres. Guess it is all relative.

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It’s pretty tight living on the boat when you have four people but with all of us mucking in and keeping the boat ship shape and tidy it is doable. Here is Pete and Fras on galley duties.

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We are not that fussed on rivers as we have mentioned in the past and the River Severn is no exception. Having said that though, it was a lovely way to come into the city of Worcester. Worcester is known for it’s cathedral and for the antipodeans it is also famous for it’s cricket ground. Oh and not to forget Worcester sauce. We tried to see if we could get a tour of the factory but there was nothing available. Worcester sauce is now owned by Heinz, so another British institution has fallen by the wayside.

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We arrived in Worcester about 7.00pm and the light was just perfect.

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Firstly though we will deal with the cathedral. This cathedral was founded in 680 (little before our time). As per a lot of these churches they were added on bit by bit and burnt down, were sacked, changed hands etc etc. The cathedral is known as Worcester Cathedral and is world renown for it’s beauty.

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The rose window was mind blowing as was the organ. The dimensions were huge. The other good thing about it was there was a model for vision impaired people which Pete found extremely helpful. It gave him some idea of the layout along with the grandiosness of it.

It was then off to the cricket ground for Di and Fras. For those of you with this bent you will be familiar with the quintessential view of the ground with the cathedral in the back ground. The night before on the ground there was a concert with UB40 and Lulu and others. It was called the concert of legends – yeap, some of them definitely were legends they were that old.

As it was Heritage weekend they had a few events going on including the Dragon boat racing.

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As it was Heritage weekend they had a few events going on including the Dragon boat racing.

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Part of the river is designated as a Swan sanctuary and you can see that they are benefiting from it. This is what you call a plethora of bevy.

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So after this rather busy day we were all rather tired but still had the boring task of needing to do the laundry so off we trundled yet again with the trusty old shopping trolley. Toque came along for the ride. She was absolutely exhausted and found the warmth from the dried clothes comforting. This dog is just too cute for it’s own good.

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We did our fond farewell in the morning to Peter and Nadine and then headed back onto the River Severn for our four hours of cruising down to the River Avon. There is nothing to report of our trip down the Severn as it is all high banks which you cannot see over and no villages of any note on it except for Upton on Severn. You can see from this photo the size of the craft we need to be aware of and that they could turn us into match sticks if we make one false move.

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So it was then onto the Avon River. For us to be able to use this water course we had to pay £50 for the pleasure. One hopes that it will be worth it.

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The first town that we came onto on the River Avon was Twekesbury which was really sweet. It is fortunate in that it’s high street is still functioning well with small businesses but still many charity shops. We supported the local butcher –

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and also donated our gumboots to the local hospice shop. As we are coming to the end of our journey we are starting to rationalise and there doesn’t appear to be the need for them anymore. Another item that has bitten the dust is one of the trusty shopping trolleys. This particular trolley we bought at Canadian Tire and though we blew a wheel bearing in our first week because we overloaded it with water bottles it has done us well but it is time to send it to it’s final resting place.

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Twekesbury had many tudor style buildings which we thought were only particular to the Chester area but we have been proven wrong. There was certainly a hub of activity about the place and apart from us there doesn’t appear to be any other tourists. This is about to change when we hit Stratford Upon Avon in a couple of days.

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So after a shop to restock the larder yet again it was off down the Avon river. We are now going upstream whereas on the River Severn we were going down stream. Poor nb Lucy is making lots of additional rattling noises that we have not heard before as the current has always been in her favour. We went under yet again another motorway and this one was the M5. It was a constant stream of traffic and you do tend to get an air of smugness when you wave enthusiastically to those poor suckers in the cars and lorries.

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Our mooring place tonight is just after the very famous Eckington Bridge. The bridge is well known for it’s beauty and this area in general has been mentioned in a lot of literature and poems – guess it is understandable considering we are getting close to Will’s home town of Stratford Upon Avon.

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