83. Squeezing five boats into a lock on the River Severn to Gloucester


Good morning. I’ve got a bit of a mammoth
journey ahead of me today approximately nine hours cruising, non-stop. I’ve
got lots of food on board, lots of water for both me and Molly.
Lots of essentials, lots of battery packs to charge all my equipment. It’s
supposed to be a nice day. Suns already coming out.
Obviously, I’ve got suntan cream as well. One of my friend’s Parm
who’s an orthodontist regularly reminds me that I should be
wearing lots and lots of suntan cream. so Yes, I’ve got it on board ready Parm. I
moored up at the Wharf Inn last night. Just below Holt Lock on the River Severn. Molly wasn’t quite sure about the jetty
mind you. [Music] It wasn’t long until I passed the
Droitwich Barge Canal that links down onto the River Severn. Passing Worcester
Racecourse that is located slightly north of the main city of Worcester,
there are lots of mooring spots along the bank here. Then once under the large
road bridge the Anglican Worcester Cathedral overlooks the river. Diglis
Locks are to the south of the city where there are two large locks next to each
other. The river quickly spreads out into open and remote countryside for quite a
few miles. It turns sharply at Tewkesbury where an
85 mile stretch of water flows all the way from Northamptonshire and here the
ancient River Avon joins the mighty Severn. Just north of the city of
Gloucester I take the east channel that dramatically narrows and winds its way
down to Gloucester Lock. [Music] [Sounds of water] I’m now north of the City of Worcester
and just there behind me is the first lock and the entrance to the Droitwich
Barge Canal. Now that canal goes right the way into
the centre of Birmingham and it’s quite a busy canal. This sort of circuit is
quite busy for hire boaters. [Music] I’ve just gone through my first lock of
the day and I had a chat with the lock-keeper there and he gave me some
very good news. Because of the flow of the water today, because there has been a bit
of rain over the last week or so, it’s not in flood and it’s not even in the
amber area but because of the flow of water, because I’m travelling downstream.
Instead of my journey taking nine hours, it’s gonna take exactly half,
four-and-a-half, brilliant news. [Water sounds] Just heading down through the city of
Worcester. There’s lots and lots of mooring spots along the river here but some
of them do charge so be aware of that. Just up ahead on the left or port side
is the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. Now again, that head straight into the
City of Birmingham. [Bells ringing in distance] Right, just up ahead of me is Diglis Lock.
Two very large locks south of the city of Worcester and I’m going up to the locks
very slowly and I will be advised which lock to go through by a series of
traffic lights operated by Canal & River Trust staff or volunteers, so we shall
see. Right, so the left-hand lock light is
flashing which that’s the indication that he wants me to go through that one.
He’s just preparing the lock at the moment. They’re very large so if it’s got
any water in, it’ll take a bit of time so I just need to sort of hover out in the
channel here. [Music] A boat just went past with three
fishermen in. Just a small boat but boy did it have a lot of high-tech on-board.
There were multiple screens, there were rods with big black dome-like things on
the end. Now I’d say there fishing. Let me know in the comments below if you know
what the dome-like things were. Could they be sonar to track where fish
are? I’m not really sure. They were definitely out for a really good days
fishing, that’s for sure. Just came around the corner and there’s a
very large barge that’s dealing with the sand from the quarry here. I am not going
to mess with him! [Water sounds] So as we go down in the lock here, that
was a bit embarrassing. Now I was the last boat in and because I’m on my own,
I simply cannot get the boat up against the wall. I’ve put my rope around, there’s
like a wire that’s down the side of the lock but it’s quite difficult on your
own with the pressure of the boat and all the other boats moving around in the
lock. It’s a big lock this as well. Anyway, we’re going down. [Water noises] Just here is Upper Parting. Now as you
travel south down towards Gloucester Lock you’re to contact the lock-keeper
there when you’re at this point. Either on VHF channel 74 or by a phone number.
Now I am still with a flotilla of three other boats and I know one of
those will be contacting the lock ahead so I don’t need to and we’re all going
to travel down the narrower part of the River Severn down towards the lock. [Fast paced music} I’m just held back a little bit here and
holding onto this chain because just right in front of the lock, which isn’t
ready yet for us, that’s why we’ve all gotta wait. But just in front of the lock,
there is all the water goes down to the right to a weir and I don’t want to go
down that far because you could be pulled down there so I’m staying well
back. Just in front of the lock all of the water goes towards the right and
goes down a quite strong weir now the grey boat up ahead went down and
possibly got into a little bit of difficulty because someone from another
boat had two moor up and run down the bank and help them bring their boat up
against the side. Now weirdly I am just over tick over here and it sort of seems
to keep the boat stationary and although my stern is up against the wall the
bow just keeps swinging out every so often. But the light is flashing red
which indicates that it’s probably draining and the gates will open and
we’ll all be able to go in soon but there’s no one behind me and it’s just
us four. I can see why we’re waiting.
A rather large craft has come down the lock and is coming back out onto the
River Severn. So the three narrowboats ahead of me have
all gone next to each other and I’m over onto one side because a
wide beam is now coming in as well. So we’ll have a wide beam and four
narrowboats in this one lock. We’ve got for narrowboats and a wide
beam in this lock and the big thing for me is to not let the stern hit this
bridge because it’s a road bridge. Well we’ll see. Alright, so all of the boats are
turning left into the Quay here and I’m the only one that’s going straight on
underneath this lift bridge, that’s got to lift for me. Right, he’s lifted the
bridge all ready for me so I’ll put a bit of power on, so I don’t disrupt too many
people and I’m straight through the Quay and out onto the
Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, Hurrah. [Music] I’ll stay on this canal for a number of
weeks as my dad is coming aboard to help me with the inside of Alice and yes, I
will be showing the progress. Until next time, see you later.

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