12-14 September Pershore – Bidford on Avon
About 17 miles 7 locks
If you look at the distance we’ve covered in the last couple of days, you may think that we’ve come quite far, but we always seem to travel more quickly on rivers than on canals. And to be honest, it really doesn’t feel as though we have done that much.
Mind you, the weather in the last few days has been quite bad. We’ve had some really strong winds which have made steering quite tough, and has kept a lot of boats moored up until conditions improve.
On Monday and Tuesday, we met hardly any boats on the move at all. We did catch up again with Kingfisher, which we had seen at Tewkesbury. The last time we had seen them, they were watching the first of the England rugby world cup matches while we headed upstream for Pershore. But now they were heading for their home mooring in Evesham, but were going to stay overnight at a good mooring spot at Craycombe turn (about 6 miles before Evesham) where we also intended to stop.
The trip up to Craycombe from Pershore was pretty windy with a few squally showers. We had to get through just two locks on the way, at Wyre Piddle, Fladbury and Chadbury. The lock at Wyre is a diamond shape, and like most locks of this shape is not the easiest to get through. For some reason, they take a long time to empty and fill, the boat moves around more than usual and the gates are always more difficult to open and shut than on a ‘standard’ rectangular lock. There used to be services at this lock, but apparently the caravan park has taken them over and won’t allow boaters to use them any more!
But once through that lock, we had a stretch of about 4 miles before reaching Fladbury lock, which has not just one, but two mills on the approach. Confusingly the mill nearest the lock is called Chadbury mill (because it is nearer to Chadbury), and the one furthest away at the bottom of the weir is Fladbury Mill. Although Chadbury lock would be the next on our itinerary, we wouldn’t reach it until Tuesday.
We were really pleased to reach Craycombe and find enough space for us to moor, and a bit of refuge from the wind. Its only a small mooring place and we joined two other boats there. Nell had a great time as there was a lovely field next to the moorings where she could have a good run around.
Tuesday morning dawned a lot quieter and much more pleasant than Monday had ended. By the time we had given Nell a good run, it was around 10am and by then the sky had clouded over and the wind was getting strong again as we set off towards Evesham.
We had an uneventful if quite breezy trip to Evesham, where we stopped for a short break before heading on up through the large lock there. There used to be a lock keeper here, and the lock was automatic. The lock keeper is now on the ANT information boat in Stratford, so the lock is set to manual and is quite hard to get through.
They’ve installed new water points and Elsan here, as the ones downstream near the railway bridge have been closed by the Environment Agency, but the new ones are much, much better and easier to use.
Then it was a short trip upstream to Offenham lock. Just as we were closing the gates to start letting water in the lock, another boat appeared. It really does make life a lot easier on these river locks if you can go through with another, especially as you have to have ropes fore and aft.
We moored up above the lock, where there are excellent overnight moorings and it’s very peaceful. Richard did a spot of fishing and saw a pair of kingfishers flying past. We’ve seen quite a few kingfishers today, a real treat.
Wednesday has been a much better day weatherwise. There is not much wind and it has been quite sunny and warm in the sunshine. We have only come as far as Bidford and moored up next to the recreation ground along with a few other boats.
We’ve seen quite a few boats on the move today, in fact more today than in all of the previous two days put together. Think they’ve all been taking shelter from the wind, but are now back on the move again.