We very quietly snuck off our mooring at 8.30am so as not to wake Helen and John.
It was not long before we had the trusty umbrella up but there wasn’t a lot we could do about the reflection from the water.
We had two locks to negotiate today and the first being the Upper Lode Lock. Whilst in the lock, the lock keeper gave us some information for the Gloucester Lock. We thought it very innovative how he used a bucket to pass on this information.
Gave us a little bit of light reading as well as trying to work out why we need to secure the stern first when we moor up just outside the lock. There is a traffic light system at the foot of the lock which instructs you as to when to enter the lock.
This is indeed one of the biggest locks we have ever been in and there was just us there.
There was a lot of leisure craft travelling up and down the river from enormous gin palaces to tiny canal boats.
Besides the leisure craft there are still a few working boats that ply the Severn. We passed three of these barges during our five hours of cruising, either laden with gravel or else heading back for another load.
We don’t often get much of a chance to sit right up the front of the boat as just too busy, but Fraser did take the opportunity. When sitting up on the bow you do not get a lot of engine noise, but you do get the sound of gently pushing through the water.
It was then into Gloucester lock. We were rather pleased that they allowed us to moor up in the lock, forward of the road bridge, otherwise we would have be squashed between the boat and the underbelly of said bridge. By going into the lock it raised us up into the quay area. Just prior to going into the lock, the River Severn continued out towards the estuary into the Bristol Channel between South West England and South Wales. Its high tidal range, approximately 50 feet (15 m), means that it has been at the centre of discussions in the UK regarding renewable energy. The renewable energy and tidal bore we will go into later.
Now the reason why we had to tie stern first prior to going into the lock. The river has a strong flow towards the ocean and should you be dumb enough to tie on bow first, the current would whip you around on your bow rope and cause all sorts of damage. Pays to listen to what the experts say.
So, into Gloucester marina we did go and wow, not only was it huge but the whole restoration of the center was great.
This place has such a long seafaring history along with the canals. Gloucester has baited commercial fishermen with the promise of fresh cod since 1623. The first schooner, a sailing vessel that revolutionized the fishing industry, was developed here in 1713.
The first stage in the development of Gloucester’s docks was the construction of a basin at the terminus of a ship canal bypassing the obstacles to navigation on the Severn below the city.
There have been some kind of docks here as early as the 15th century. Over the centuries, the docks expanded but around the mid 1800’s, due to the increased size of the seafaring ships, the docks and canal became too small. Trade at the quay had ceased by the mid 1960’s. The canals of course lost their trade to the roads.
It was then time for us to have a wander. We had been told to go and visit the Gloucester Cathedral of which you can see dominating the skyline from the docks.
It was only a 10 minute walk from our mooring and on arrival we were definitely gobsmacked. The outside was in excellent condition and had certainly had a very recent clean. We felt it was a lot more ornate than the Worcester Cathedral.
The roof didn’t appear to be as tall as Worcester’s but some of it was very intricately made with wood. We wonder if there are still the skills around that could recreate this kind of work.
The glass was installed in 1350!!!!!!!!
There were many pulpits distributed around the various areas but this one we found very garish and Germanic in appearance.
There was a small turret that we climbed up which allowed us this magical view down the cathedral. There were also a group of young children doing choir practise behind the altar and the sound they generated blew us away.
We would have to recommend a visit to this cathedral as the grandness of it is not able to be described.
Now do some of you recognise this shot.
Have a look down the bottom of the photo and you will recognise a very famous English actress who should give you your answer. The Gloucester Cathedral cloisters featured heavily in the first two Harry Potter movies and briefly in the sixth.
It acted as the Hogwarts Corridors, the Gryffindor Common Room, “The Chamber of Secrets Has Opened Scene” and even outside Moaning Myrtle’s Bathroom!
By now the day was getting long in the tooth. We opted not to cook on the boat but crawled onto the shore and into the first restaurant that was closest to the boat – that being about 20 feet away.