The River Severn I – December 10th 2016

If the tide at Sharpness is over 7m water flows into the river above Gloucester, bringing the possibility of dangerous currents and floating debris (tree branches). So after discussion with the lock keeper it was decided that I would leave Gloucester docks at 10:30 to miss most of the retreating tide and yet still get to the next lock by 3pm. In the winter the locks are manned by arrangement only – and mine was the only boat on the river.
It started raining as I left the dock and although during most of the four hour journey the rain held off it was cold, and after a couple of hours I felt chilled to the bone. I’d forgotten to prepare a Thermos of hot tea and, of course, on the river I could not leave the tiller, nor was there time to moor. But Stowford drove hard against the current and we arrived at Upper Lode lock exactly on time. The lock is big enough for large commercial barges but only lifts the boat a couple of feet – so different from the locks on the narrow canals that are big enough for only one boat but lift it 6 to 10 feet.
I moored in Tewkesbury just below the lock that gives entry to the River Avon. One of my plans had been to follow the Avon to Stratford but when I arrived it was clear that this was not an option – the lock was being completely refurbished and would be closed for some time.