Wednesday 20 October 2021


 Today's Navigations - River Severn, Worcester and Birmingham Canal

It was still raining when we awoke - it had been rather wet during the night - but by the time we were up and about it was dry and some blue sky started to emerge,

The volunteer lock keeper arrived in good time and offered to let us through even earlier than the official start time. As a result we were able to cast off by 9:20. Just we came into the lock rain arrived and before we dropped down to the river Mike donned wet weather protection.

The very cheerful and welcoming lock keeper then worked the gates and paddles - here they are mechanised - and we were ready to leaver the Avon behind us. As we did so a double rainbow appeared ahead of us. Equally quickly sunshine reappeared.

Mythe Bridge carries the A428 from Tewkesbury across the river in a single cast iron span. It was designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826, only three years after Telford was appointed.

The sun shone and bright blue sky made a great backdrop to the views. Alas, unlike the Avon, this river has high banks and there are only a few glimpses of places much beyond the immediate bank.

Ripple Quarry Wharf looked abandoned and we began to wonder if the gravel trade along the river had come to an end. This wharf  was quite busy when we passed on previous occasions.

We encountered a small group of paddlers in the middle of nowhere and wondered where they had set off and where they were headed.

This cable crossing is sited where a former railway crossed on its way towards Malvern. We have always wondered what it was for and only very recently discovered an explanation. It allows a flow meter to be pulled out across the river to take measurements about hopw fast the river is flowing.

We already knew that these timbers were the remains of a former oil terminal but the same reference also tells us that they were used during WW2 along with a similar terminal just south of Worcester.

When we saw this gravel wharf with two barges tied up and little sign of activity our fears about the gravel trade were increased.

This is the place at which water is extracted from the river and taken across to the treatment works at Strensham and then via the pipelines we saw earlier in our trip and then on its way to Coventry.

Just as we were passing Upton we met a gravel barge, very much loaded and (we think) taking its load down to the last wharf we passed. However, where was it coming from? We have now passed all the wharfs we have seen in the past. At least our fears for the demise of the trade were not fulfilled.

Pool House is a typically Georgian country house that, until recently, has provided select holiday accommodation for its guests. However, we note that in September it was put on the market at just over £1 million.

Our earlier question about where the gravel came from was answered when we arrived at what seems to be a new loading point with another full barge just setting off downstream.

And then, very suddenly, the sky darkened and very - very - heavy rain poured down. Mike had fortunately kept his waterproof layer on as he would have had no time to change before getting very wet. We saw one very bright flash of lightning but only that one. The downpour continued for perhaps twenty minutes before easing off and being replaced yet again by bright blue skies. Distant views were now very clear indeed. Alas, Mike's camera battery ran out at that point so there are no photos until a little later when Christine took some with her phone!

The bridge carrying the southern link road signalled our final run into Worcester and time to contact the lock keeper to let them know we were coming.

The handsome footbridge meant that we were now just two minutes away from Diglis Locks. Would the lock be ready and the gates open? They are hidden by a slight bend and a lot of foliage until the last minute.

Of course they were and the friendly lock keeper came out to welcome us and to direct us to the better side to make fast.

After leaving the lock we were able to find a pontoon mooring just before the exit from the river where we could tie up and have a much awaited lunch!

It was almost mid afternoon before we moved on and Christine went to set the first of the Diglis canal locks. As Mike waited a boat arrived, that we had passed just after Upton (a hire boat that, we think, has its maximum speed deliberately restricted). We waved it forward and when the lock was set we were both able to go through together.

After the second lock we stopped at the water point. A residential boater on the opposite side cheerfully told us that the elsan at the same place  was operational again. It has been out of action for some time and we were all for going around the long way to the alternate facility in the marina.

It was a relief to be able to stow away the river cruising safety gear (anchor etc) which has been cluttering the fore deck for the past week. We moored for the night just after the next bridge. We will go a little further, up two locks, first thing tomorrow to be nearer to the railway station as Mike has to make a quick dash back home for a dental appointment on Friday morning. At least he can collect the car from our marina - Droitwich is just one stop up the line.

16.8 Miles - 4 Locks

1 comment:

  1. Bet you're glad you are off the rivers now - rain's been torrential in Devon with flooding in our village last night. We always keep an eye on the forecast for North Wales when we are on the Severn!