Day 6 Tewkesbury

Today was to be a short cruise – one of the crew had toothache and the only dentist we could get an appointment at was Tewkesbury, so we didn’t set off until lunchtime. It had been a fine and sunny morning and this continued into the afternoon, nice day to be messing around on the river.

It seemed quiet still, though shortly after leaving Pershore Lock a powered dingy buzzed around ahead of us. The river winds its way round in an S-bend before we reach Nafford Lock. Each lock on the Avon seems to have its own peculiarities – this one has a swing bridge across the lock chamber that has to be opened before entering – luckily for us it was already open, with help from a passer-by. We had met another narrowboat before the lock, so gave them a wave, but afterwards we were back onto a boatless section. The sharp “180 degree” Swan’s Neck bend was next up, followed by the 16th Century Eckington Bridge, which looks well after 400 years, especially considering it may he seen as a boating hazard at times of abundant “fresh” water entering the river.

Whilst we were waiting for Strensham Lock to fill, we noticed a canal boat in the field, set at an awkward angle. Maybe it had been deposited there by a previous flood? It’s quite likely as the lock has a private residence, the Old Mill House, that has a few plaques depicting the hight previous floods have reached up the wall. So whilst it does seem nice, a modern looking (redeveloped, I assume) mill house beside a lock on its own small island, the periodic flooding must detract a bit – maybe they have built in defences? On leaving the lock you pass an open swing bridge (access to the house), and then some weirs set at right angles, which are fine in this sunny weather, but probably can prove a nuisance when the flow is stronger.

After that we pass yet another marina / boat yard / sailing club that seems to be collecting boats who’s owners use rarely – though I guess not everyone likes to go cruising on a sunny day in May ;-). As you come round the corner from the sailing club you can see the M5 motorway with traffic whizzing by. The bridge is high, giving 25ft clearance, which is probably good news for sail boats using the river. Ooo, look at that, after passing beneath we spy a boat sailing and tacking ahead – I’m sure this’ll look good on film. We’re not in a rush so I can slow down to keep them ahead (not that I need to as they seem to be going pretty fast), but a dilemma – if I stay too far back the boat will look small, but if I get too close they may stop to let me pass!! We soon reach Tewkesbury, and go and find a spot to moor up, before wandering over to the lock keeper to have a mooch through the Trust shop.

(click the video above, or go to the youtube alternative)

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