Monthly Archive: June 2015

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Down the Severn Estuary

Sharpness, Tuesday 23rd June – Check final preparations for a cruise between Sharpness and Portishead: Cupboards strapped closed   Charts in place    Handheld GPS available on top hatch VHF radio set up, tuned to Channel 13   Radar reflector mounted    Flag (hanging limp and still) positioned as wind direction indicator   Lifejackets on. 1025: Cleddau and Tentatrice moved away from their comfortable G&S canal side moorings, past the beautifully restored Anstruther lifeboat    (“This is the last bit. I’ve been painting for six days,”...

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Around Sharpness

Sixteen mainly rural miles after leaving Gloucester is Sharpness. From the canal the view is of the estuary, haunting in its loneliness. A low grey sea wall separates canal from tidal river.     Nothing it seems is here. Seabirds may wheel overhead or wading birds dig at the shoreline. Yet right by the seawall is a clue of human activity, boat hulls rusted, abandoned.     These are known as the Purton hulks, beached, reinforcing the fragile banks of the estuary.     (See the Tentatrice...

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All Washed up at Saul

Thursday, 18th June. What timing! Two hours further along the canal from Gloucester is Saul Junction   which itself is about midway      between the great inland docks of Gloucester and the exit point to the sea at Sharpness. Here Cleddau and Tentatrice needed to fill the fuel tanks and wait for boat servicing due on Friday. Right on cue at Saul, as the boats were manoeuvring to tie up alongside each other, there was a hail from an approaching Willow Trust...

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Phase 2 begins…

It was farewell to Worcester on Monday morning, southbound down the last mile or so of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, past the festival site where tables and chairs were being loaded onto an open barge to be taken to the next festival site, down two narrow locks to Diglis Basin and two broad locks to the River Severn. The river is broad, sometimes flowing through a green corridor, sometimes lined with ‘Birmingham navy’ cruisers.   There are glimpses of red...

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Worcester Canalfest

The last post ended with: There was no Civil War on board Cleddau on Thursday night – but an emergency had the crew out of bed well before dawn. So what happened? At 0415 Boatwif became aware of a voice from very far away, speaking to her insistently. “We’re badly aground. Wake up in case we have to get off…” It was still pitch black and the Captain had woken, aware that his feet were way up above the level...

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Hello Worcester

It’s never particularly easy reaching the River Severn from the Stourport Basins. First (this was on Wednesday 10th June) you have to weave your way past boats permanently moored in the upper basin    to find the signpost    that directs you to the narrow locks… Then you need to check that no other boat is about to ascend from the river level (four locks down). Then you ensure there is water in the top of the staircase lock, lock down, proceed...

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From county boundary to the River Severn

At the end of the Worcs section of the delightful Staffs and Worcs Canal on Tuesday came an unexpected quandary: what will £7 buy? First though, Monday, when helpers turned out again.  Here were Tim and Janice reporting for duty at the Staffs –Worcs boundary stone near Caunsall.      Still heading south west the remaining 9 miles of this canal lie in Worcestershire. Through trees the canal winds, the River Stour never far away. How hard it must have been to...

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The problem with Kinver…

Kinver – Kinver is a large village in South Staffordshire district, Staffordshire, England. It is in the far south-west of the county, at the end of the narrow finger of land surrounded by the counties of Shropshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands. The nearest towns are Stourbridge in the West Midlands, and Kidderminster in Worcestershire. The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal passes through, running close to the course of the meandering River Stour. According to the 2001 census Kinver had a...

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Narrows, circles – and extra crew

Locks can be sociable places. Boaters gather around a lock chamber and, even before there’s any discussion about the weather, the “Where are you going to?” and “How far have you come?” exchanges are started. At Penkridge (in Staffordshire)  on Wednesday morning    one upcoming boater was refilling his water tank to then potter along a bit further in what were his home waters. One descending boater had set her destination as Penkridge  “ to go to the market today,” while...

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South west through Staffs

Tixall Wide to Penkridge Cleddau and crew might be on an extended cruise but ordinary life has to go on – hence a need for an open Post Office on Monday morning.  It took a 25 minute towpath walk back from Tixall Wide to Great Haywood, where the Post Office is in the mini-market. Here was a surprise – it’s open between 0600 and 1945 each day (until 1900 on Tuesdays). Birthday card to Cal Son safely mailed to California...

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