Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Weekend in Pershore, Monday it's Tewkesbury

Arriving in Pershore Friday afternoon we secured ourselves a mooring on the recreaction ground and settled ourselves for the weekend.  All essential boat services are available on the moorings, including an Asda 2 minutes walk away  and there is space for perhaps a dozen narrowboats, and many more plastics if you factor in the reduced space they take up.    Friday night was a bit trying however as the local youth club had a 'do' so from 6pm through to post midnight we were blasted with a bass beat that resounded through the closed doors, portholes, ear plugs, pillow over the head...you get the picture.  
I sent off an email to Wychavon Council...congratulating them on the super moorings, congratulating them  on actually having a Youth Club but mentioning that the noise was a bit over the top and perhaps a trifle anti-social..  Thankfully Saturday and Sunday nights were quite undisturbed.
And so to Pershore itself, a lovely Medieval town with the remnants of a former Abbey and extensive Regency terraces mixed in.  A wide range of independent shops including traditional butchers, green grocers, bakers, hardware, cafes and pubs, quite charming.

Pershore Abbey sitting in the Abbey gardens.

Tree carving in the Abbey grounds
t'other side
A preaching cross.  A number of the local villages also boast preaching crosses
Out walking the dogs and I wandered off to Wick, a local village just across the River Avon. Above is Wick Manor, Tudor, timber framed and once the home of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's last wife and his only widow..

A stunning example of a timber framed farm house with attached barn

Come Monday morning we pulled forward on to the services and did the necessary and slipped away in light rain towards Pershore lock. We had decided to push on towards Tewkesbury so with fourteen miles and three locks before us we donned wet weather gear and pressed onward.

Strensham lock with swing bridge

Eckington Bridge...there are moorings adjacent to the bridge but we had decided to press on
Tewkesbury Town bridge

 Moored, Tewkesbury
Once through the bridge we moored up and visited the lock keeper to pay our toll, £3 per night. 
The new front access has come into its own as our side doors both here and at Pershore would have been problematic as the bank/quayside is above gunwale height at both locations.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Friday, 29 August 2014

Popping downstream to Pershore

We pulled pins just after seven this morning and slipped away through Evesham passing a slumbering crew upon Waterways Routes.

Nb. Waterway Routes moored Evesham
Moored just around the bend from Yarwood were Paul and Christine Balmer on Nb. Waterway Routes.  Paul called in yesterday evening to say hello and called back again when he had completed his errands; that is, got the fish and chips in! 
Paul and Christine are out and about filming the Avon on their bow camera and updating their maps of the R. Severn and R. Avon. The newly updated products will be available for the Christmas market and you can obtain them from here.

Hampton Ferry

Hampton rope operated Ferry - you can see the windlass further up the back.  Nobody about this morning when we passed through so no need for the three blasts on the horn to get the Ferryman to drop the rope and allow us to cruise over it.

Apple orchards
We passed plenty of fruit orchards as we made our way downstream.  Apples and pears and hops.

Back in cruiser waters

Our first lock today, Chadbury.

Himself operating a windlass

The R. Avon, lined by willow and alder and slipping through its valley whose gentle slopes are covered in deciduous woodland including significant stands of sweet chestnut and hazel. 

Floyd supervising the filling of Fladbury lock, the second of the three will did today.

The people of Fladbury overlook the old watermill and the lock

Out of the lock at Fladbury and slipping along the lock channel below the enormous weir.
Fladbury water mill
A room, or two, with a view at Wyre Piddle

This property is more to my taste, green oak framed, just lovely.  Too big for me though, having lived quite happily on a narrow boat I would feel totally lost in something this big.  Probably couldn't afford it either...

And to Wyre Piddle Lock and its strange diamond shape.

Wyre water mill, now a boat club

An so to Pershore and our mooring on the recreation ground.
We will stay in Pershore tomorrow and explore our surroundings but for now I am off to walk the boys.

And to Evesham

We left our mooring above Harvington Mill lock (Robert Aickman New Lock), they all seem to have two appellations these locks, the usual geographic name, i.e. where it is, and then the name of the person or people it has been dedicated to, in this case Robert Aickman the co-founder of the Inland Waterways Association.  Anyway off we set and just around the corner is George Billington/ Offenham lock with the full range of boaty services available.  We availed ourselves and then worked through the lock.

Yarwood in George Billington/ Offenham lock

Offenham Light, the floodproof lock keeper's refuge dedicated to its builder Eric Pritchard

Boys on deck
We have been getting into a new routine on rivers now that the deck is accessible to us all.   Fletcher is still nervous of being on the deck, Floyd doesn't do nerves unless he thinks his 'Mum' is leaving him - usually the wrong side of a stile he won't jump - but as each day has passed Fletcher shakes a little less, sits down and has been known to lie down, albeit briefly.   As we approach a lock I usher them back inside the boat, close the front doors and get the boat secured on the lock landing.  The boys then rejoin me as I prepare the lock then it is back aboard for them while Joe brings Yarwood into the lock and I close gates, open paddles and gates etc. and jump back on board as Yarwood exits the lock, the boys then come back on deck.  They are getting accustomed to this river travelling and I am sure that I will soon be able to leave them to mooch about the deck without my presence/supervision.
Waiting to go into Evesham lock
Approaching Evesham lock we completely missed the lock landing which is on the left going down stream and stretches across the top of the weir.  Never mind, we survived and will know for the next time.

Evesham lock, the end of the Upper Avon Navigation and the start of the Lower Avon Navigation, now amalgamated.

Downstream of Evesham lock
See the Lock keepers accommodation to the left of the shot above, very 1960's influenced architecture though not built until 1972

Moored on the Workman's Gardens mooring in Evesham
As we moored up yesterday a chap wandered along and warned us about some potential anti-social behaviour from a group of EU migrants that have been drinking and urinating in the gardens.  Oh great we thought, 'do we stay or do we go now?'   We stayed.  We had no unpleasant experiences or disturbance from anyone so we will not be labelling Evesham as bandit country in fact Evesham is just lovely and we enjoyed our wander about the town later that day.

Looking at Workman's Bridge from the Abbey Gardens (across the river from our mooring)
I took the dogs for a walk through the Abbey Gardens which are just superb, rising up the hill from the river to the summit and the remains of the old Benedictine Abbey.  There is plenty of municipal planting, lily ponds, tennis courts, play areas for little and large brats, a rowing club and dog walking and all very well maintained; a vey good advert for the Town.

Bell Tower of the former Evesham Abbey

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Cruising the Avon

Arriving in Stratford-upon-Avon on Thursday late afternoon we found no room in Bancroft basin so while Yarwood was in Stratford lock ready to drop down on to the river I dashed into the Avon Navigation Boat and purchased a two week 'licence' at £60.  Dashing back to a half empty lock I then entertained the myriad of tourists by running around gates,winding paddles and explaining what I was doing and how it all worked.  With the gates open Joe shot off like a rat up a drainpipe leaving me to find my way to the other side of the river in search of my 'home'..  Our first night moored on the river was, I am ashamed to admit, half across a water point.  I know, will I ever live that down? 
Early next morning, very early, we moved into a space that was being vacated by the couple we had  come up the Hatton flight with.  We could now hold our heads up.

 Stratford, legitimate mooring

 Room with a view
We stayed in Stratford for the next four days, wandered around the town a few times, walked the dogs out along the river, Joe did chores, watched the Grand Prix, hibernated on Monday while the heavens opened and we watched the river level rise...
Come Tuesday we moved off but the river was on amber and the stream was lively.  We moored up a after two lock and three miles.
 Moored above Luddington Lock
All services were available at Luddington lock so we serviced the boat, including giving her a wash, and set off this morning in glorious sunshine with a river that was hovering between amber and green...more amber, but the lower reaches so to speak. 
 Downstream towards Welford
 Binton Bridge
 Cadbury lock
 Bidford Bridge
The stream is still lively and getting Yarwood through the designated arch at Bidford was...artful.
 Harvington (Robert Aickman ) lock
Wednesday night mooring above Harvington lock
We called it a day a Harvington and moored up then took the dogs for an excursion as they had been confined to the boat whilst cruising - still a bit of an improvement though as they were able to be with me in the tug deck and see where they were going rather than be stuck inside the boat.  Whilst going off exploring we met blog reader Paula on, I think, Nb. Resolute as they worked through Harvington lock on route to Saul Junction.  I was given a gentle nudge to update...so here it is Paula. 
I must say, with the sun out I am thoroughly enjoying the Avon..