Wednesday, 1 August 2018

The River Avon

Monday 23rd July
After an enjoyable few days in a very hot and busy Stratford Upon Avon it was time to move on downstream and explore the river and its towns and villages.
We got an early start in more lovely sunshine travelling slowly with the flow of the river. Just after passing Trinity Church we arrived at the first of the six river locks taking us round the weirs, these are necessary to provide sufficient depth for navigation and on this part of the river they occur frequently.
Trinity Church Stratford
The river is quite narrow and twisty below Stratford but passes through beautiful country side deep in the heart of England, in many places in these parts it easy to forget that we are in the 21st century, with thatch roofs and timber framed buildings in abundance.
Upper Avon
Another of the Avon Locks, many are named to
honour those who dedicated themselves to the
 reopening of the navigation.
One of the many restored locks
We made good progress and at the third lock at  Luddington we met another boat waiting, in the lock  chamber, for us to join them. They kindly waited for us to use the services there before we joined them.
After the lock we passed under the medieval bridge at Binton, a very pretty spot.
Binton Bridge

We progressed quickly with the help of the other boat, arriving at our planned stop for the night at Bidford around noon, moorings are somewhat limited on rivers so it is advisable to get an early start arriving at moorings in good time, this way there is usually a space to be found.
We tied up alongside the large recreation grounds before heading off to explore. The village has a very old centre close to the river but housing extends northwards. We walked down the high street, there are a few pubs and a few food outlets here and a local butchers (closed  during our visit) but very little else. We walked up to have a look at the church again closed. The heat was really building so we headed for the pub in the centre of the village, The Bulls Head, a lovely old local establishment.
Bidford on Avon
We returned to the boat and with all doors and windows open we stayed inside away from the blistering heat, we had a short walk later in the evening once some of the heat had subsided, poor old Scruff was suffering with the heat but glad to be out in the cooler evening air.
The following morning saw an other early start, the locks were a little more spread apart and the river had become wider and deeper making for quick progress, our destination, Evesham, was only 8 miles and 4 locks downstream so we took our time soaking up the wonderful environment as we cruised along through some of England's finest scenery. We passed under the new bridge carrying the bypass around the town before passing beneath the railway bridge carrying the Oxford to Worcester line overhead. The approach to Evesham lock requires careful negotiation, when arriving from upstream there is a large weir to the left and a large sluice to the right, the flows can be strong here so it is necessary tie up to the weir barrier before setting up the lock.
We had to wait for a boat to come out of the lock before we could enter, there were two others waiting the come up, so there was plenty of help to get us through. Once underway we immediately passed under the old bridge in the town, the moorings are on the left bank after the bridge, we were advised to moor towards the far end of the moorings away from the bridge, there was plenty of space available and we were soon secured and ready to explore.
Evesham is another historic town however it is showing signs of neglect in a few areas, the moorings are alongside the Workman Gardens, nothing to do with hi-vis, hard hat wearing personnel but named after  a long serving mayor of the town, Henry Workman.
The town appears to have a large eastern European community and the seemed to congregate in the gardens, drinking and smoking copious amounts of various substances. There is a determined campaign to stop these habits from being undertaken here and the morning of the day we arrived we were told that fifty or so had been moved on by the police. The anti social behavior here has given the area a bad name among the boating community but we didn't experience any problems or feel intimidated even though there were large numbers of people around during the warm evening.
The town does have a lot of people hanging around street corners but is generally ok and certainly worth visiting. We walked over the bridge and up the street arriving at the old market square to the left, this was a bustling spot with cafes and bars around the square all with large out door seating areas. We entered a narrow lane through an old archway and into the abbey grounds. Very little remains of the abbey buildings other than the Bell Tower, lying between the parish church and the older St Lawrence Church the latter under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. The inside of the church is a must see with the vaulted, ploughshare ceilings and old stained glass.
Ploughshare Roof - St Lawrence Church- Evesham
The bell tower contains a carillon and we were treated to the sound of the bells many times during our stay here.

The Bell Tower, Evesham
Evesham
The heritage centre - Evesham
Wednesday 25th July
Up early again this time to make our way to Pershore, we are now on the Lower Avon, this navigation used to be divided into two separate operating companies but soon after restoration they amalgamated. Our trip down consisted of three locks over a distance of eleven miles making for long stretches between the locks, Chadbury, Fladbury and Wyre Piddle, just three of the intriguing names around here.
Lower Avon
As we approached Wyre Piddle we got our first glimpse of the imposing Bredon Hill, this will be with us nearly all the way to the end of the navigation at Tewkesbury. At Fladbury there is a large mill overlooking the lock, this was water driven later becoming the site for two 20 hp turbines.
Fladbury Mill
The river meandered its way down to Pershore where we reached the moorings in time for lunch before heading off to explore.
Pershore is a delightful town again with its abbey church providing welcome relief from the stifling heat, fortunately they are dog friendly so Scruff was able to take advantage of the cool stones of the abbey floor. The church is incredible with the local cotswold stown almost glowing inside and out. as with Evesham the church is all that remains of the abbey buildings and is set in peaceful parkland, the park was full of many of the local office workers having their lunch while sat in the shade of the many trees.
Pershore Abbey
Pershore Abbey
Pershore Abbey
The town is linear with most of the shops along the high street, we had to avail ourselves of a punnet of the famous Pershore Plums, small and sweet. I also tried a Pershore pork pie, equally delicious.
There is everything you require on the high street but if you require large supermarket shopping there is a large Asda just across the playing fields from the moorings, adjacent to the leisure centre.
Opposite the Asda there is also a large indoor market, all in all a good place to restock.
The moorings had filled up quickly after our arrival so we were glad we opted for an early start.
Whist only ten minutes from the centre of the town the moorings are very peaceful with a large playing field and cricket pitch adjacent, that evening barbeques started to appear everywhere, presumably cooking the locally produced Gloucester Old Spot pork chops!
There is an elsan point at these moorings, it looks a bit like a stainless steel phone box stood away from the bank in the park we utilised the facilities before retiring early.
 We enjoyed Pershore but needed to move on down to Tewkesbury where we had arranged to meet Lucia's sister Anna, Nick and Nat. Due to the popularity of the moorings there we decided to get underway early so started the engine before quickly untying and slipping quietly away downstream at 0645 just as the steam rising from the river had been diminished by the warm, early morning sun.
Very quickly we arrived at the deep Pershore lock, adjacent to the lock are two large Archimedes turbines, we were later told that these power the leisure centre. There was only one running at that time however as we filled the lock we noticed that the generator slowed down, an indication of how low the water levels had become during the prolonged dry spell.
Our journey down the river was really enjoyable, being early, we had the river to ourselves, soon arriving at Nafford lock, here we found a boat moored on the limited lock mooring making dropping crew off quite a challenge, the chap on the boat came out to apologise for the inconvenience and helped us through the lock, he had struggled to find a mooring the night before so had no choice other than to moor there and was getting ready to leave, I did offer to wait but he declined as his wife was still asleep, so we got on our way.
Thi stretch of river is dominated by Bredon Hill with its large folly and iron age fort atop.
The passage through here reminded of our trip on the river Aire near Eggborough where the power station seems to dance around, Bredon Hill was in front one minute and behind the next, such was the meandering, whatever its location it provides a stunning backdrop to the area. Across the fields we had good views of the Malvern Hills away to the west.
The river continued its twisting course between the hills before reaching the lock at Strensham, below which the scenery opened up on the north bank and the village of Bredon on the hillside to the south. Shortly after passing the marina at Bredon we passed under the M5, striding across the valley on concrete stilts, I have crossed this bridge may times and it was satisfying to finally pass under on the boat.
With the roof tops of Tewkesbury coming into view we passed the large sailing club and the enormous marina stradling across both sides of the river, before passing under the old King John's bridge to arrive at the moorings adjacent to the Avon lock. We reported at the lock office paying six pounds for two nights mooring just beyond the lock entrance.
There are quite a few moorings here but as with Pershore they soon filled, we invited one disappointed boater to breast up to us.
Tewkesbury 
Anna, Nick and Nat joined us on the boat before we set off into town, we called into the Berkeley Arms for lunch, thoroughly recommended, the food was faultless and must be one of the largest Ploughman's ever encountered, the only disappointment was the fact that they had sold out of the intriguing flavored ice cream, such as rhubarb  or blackberry crumble another result of the heatwave.
Berkeley Arms - Tewkesbury
I have always loved Tewkesbury, with its heraldic banners hanging from the pretty timber framed buildings, each displaying a notice stating whose banner was being displayed. Each banner represents the families involved in the medieval battle fought here in 1471.
Tewkesbury Abbey
This battle  the last Yorkist victory of the struggle for the crown, know since Shakespeare's time as the war of the roses.
The war was not a war of the counties, as is often implied these days but basically a tug of war for the throne of England between two factions of the families descending from Edward III.
The war arose mainly from the ineffectual reign of Henry VI, he was crowned as a young child and his reign was controlled by a close group of advisers who held the power of the throne until he came of age. The king married Margaret of Anjou, who became the real power behind the weak king. Richard Duke of York, who some historians believe had a greater claim to the throne persuaded the king to make him the successor to the crown, however Queen Margaret contested the agreement, insisting that their son Edward, Prince of Wales should be the next king.
Following the death of Richard, Duke of York and his son Edmund at Sandal Castle during the battle of Wakefield, one of his other sons, Edward sought revenge. A few months later at the bloodiest battle fought on English soil, at Towton. Edward was victorious becoming Edward IV. Henry VI was incapacitated by one of his many bouts of illness but recovered sufficiently to regain the throne Edward and his supporters fled the country eventually to  return, victorious, to retake the throne.
Queen Margaret returned to France, she returned in 1471 with an army of French and Belgian mercenaries, along with the many nobles devoted to her cause. The army travelled up the River Severn attempting to cross at Gloucester, only to be thwarted by Edwards supporters. They continued their march towards Tewkesbury to be met by Edward and his Yorkist army.
Battled ensued on May 4th 1471, the Lancastrian forces being heavily defeated, Edward Prince of Wales fell here along with many others. Many of the lancastrians fled to seek sanctuary in the Abbey, however Edward decided that the victory needed to be completed and broke the sanctuary of the church by entering the abbey and dragging out the enemy, they were then quickly charged and beheaded in the town soon afterwards. Queen Margaret escaped to Little Malvern, only to be arrested and brought back to London, here husband Henry was killed the same day.
Many of the nobility are buried in and around the abbey, Edward Prince of Wales  is buried in front of the altar, in the choir, beneath the sun in splendor, the symbol of Edward IV.
Roof detail in Tewkesbury Abbey - the sun in splendor
The church was resanctified following these events and there is a cross scratched into the stonework to the left as you enter the church.
The carved cross

The following day our brother in law, Andy picked us up and drove us back to their house near Dursley,  we spent a very enjoyable evening with family and an excellent barbecue hosted by Andy and Rosa, Vicky with cousins Sarah, Catherine  and  partners came up from Bristol too.
On Saturday morning we arrived back at the boat, the weather had changed significantly and we, at last, had some welcome rain. The forecast for Sunday was poor so we booked an additional 2 nights mooring. 
Riverside cottages - Tewkesbury
Gupshill Manor - next to the battlefield
On Sunday we took a walk around the battlefield, this is a signed route with interesting information boards along the way.  We also walked up to the roundabout at the southern end of town,  here there is a sculpture of two horses, victorious and vanquished,  they are inspired by a contemporary account of the battle known as the Arrival,  this is the name given to the sculpture.
The Arrival
Victor
Vanquished
Monday 30th July
A much better day today with a return to warm sunshine,  the rain had raised the level a little but only to return to normal summer levels. We decided to set off down the lock and onto the river Severn heading for Gloucester. Shortly after entering the river we arrived at Upper Load lock, this was l ready for us as I had radioed ahead.

Upper Lode Lock
River Severn
On spring tides the section below this lock is tidal and the river was full as we left the chamber, there was not much flow in either direction at first but the flow downsteam increased as we progressed.  We were instructed to radio the lock keeper at Gloucester as we entered the parting, here the river splits in two, the passage to the lock is down the East side,  the mooring before the lock is notorious due to the high flow that can be experienced here,  fortunately the  lock keeper called us to say the lock was ready and we could go straight in. We had to wait for a large cruiser following us to join us in the lock then we were soon lifted into the impressive Gloucester docks and the Gloucester, Sharpness canal. 
Glouscester Lock
We moved on down the canal for a couple of nights before returning to the docks for our 2day stay.
We plan to remain on the canal here for a few weeks, after which we will investigate the possibility of heading down to Bristol via the estuary.





























Sunday, 22 July 2018

Up Hill Down Dale

Thursday 12th July
The warm and dry weather continues and, following the disappointment of the night before seeing England leave the world cup, we were up early to continue our journey along the Grand Union.
Traversing the edge of the low Shuckburgh Hills overlooking the plateau stretching to the north we progressed westwards towards Napton junction, the canal twists and turns here through pleasant countryside, with the now straw coloured  crop fields below us and the grass fields on the hillside now also straw coloured with sheep and cattle scratching around looking for green grass.
The maturing of the crops seems to have come early this year and we saw our first combine in action fading behind a cloud of dust.
Early harvest

Arriving at the junction, overlooked by Napton on the Hill, we turned left into Wigrams Turn marina to take on fuel, the chap operating the pump inquired as to our destination and having being informed that we were heading for Stratford via Warwick he gave that sharp intake of breath of regret, saying we had got our work cut out.
Leaving the marina behind we headed straight up the canal opposite the entrance, the Grand Union effectively takes a sharp left hand turn away from the Oxford Canal but as we had left the marina it was straight on for us.
Napton Junction

A mile or so brought us to the start of the descent into the valley of the river Leam, a tributary of the river Avon.
The first locks we arrived at were the short flight of three at Calcutt, as we approached we noticed a boat entering the top lock so we hastened to join them in the descent. Our partner boat was a hotel boat call Jamesons Irish Whiskey, I enquired about the name and the owner informed me that they liked the colours of the box the whiskey came in so painted the boat in those colours and, being unable to think of another name they used the name on the box! The boat operates as a self catering operation, the owners turn up to move the boat during the day but otherwise leave their guests to themselves on board. The two current guests were a couple of ladies from Seattle, they enjoyed helping doing the locks too.
The locks from here on used to be narrow locks, they were rebuilt in 1934 and widened  in the process, whilst the building work was being undertaken the old narrow locks were kept in operation, the chambers are still evident at the side of the newer locks but are now used as a by wash.
the locks have unique paddle gear with large sluices making for a quick passage through.
We were soon through the flight and on our way traversing the plateau we had previously seen to our right. The level pound was short lived, however, because we soon arrived at the next flight at Stockton consisting of a further 10 of the large locks. We were following our partner boat down to the flight and just before the locks another boat pulled out in front of us, they then took on the role of partnering the hotel boat leaving us to descend on our own and doubling the work load.
This is just one of those things that happens and, as there was nobody else behind, we had no alternative to proceed making for a long hot afternoon and I was beginning to sympathise with the fuel pump operators view of the work ahead.
We soldiered on and were relieved to finally arrive at the bottom of the flight and found a mooring at Long Itchington. We moored just outside the Two Boats pub on moorings that could probably take eight boats!
We had a walk around the village finding the reasonably large Co-op. Like a lot of the villages we have visited, this had the air of a dormitory village but could boast five pubs and some lovely old buildings, particularly the large medieval building as you arrive at the village green. We were surprised to see a large widebeam boat standing in the yard of a factory, as we passed by we discovered this was the home of Cole Craft, a famous boat builder.
Long Itchington
Long Itchington
Long Itchington Church

All the pubs in the village appeared to be closed during the day so we retraced our steps back to the moorings deciding to call into the Two Boats for a drink, as we had had a hard day working down the locks we decided to explore the menu, quite extensive but typical pub fayre we made our choice and settled back outside on the canal bank and watched the world pass slowly by.

Friday 13th July
The fine weather continues, and having received a notification from CRT that the Leeds Liverpool canal will be closed along the 30 mile summit section at the end of the month, thoughts began to turn to the impact the long dry spell may have on our journey, so far apart from a few low pounds here and there, little effect had been noted and in this part of the world things were still, thankfully, ok.
We got underway reaching the four locks of the Bascote flight after a mile or so, amazingly we arrived just as our friends aboard Jamesons were preparing the top lock so we joined forces again to continue down to Leamington Spa.
The Staircase pair at Bascote on the GU

The first two locks of the flight were a staircase pair making an interesting change from the normal single configuration. We soon got through the flight and made steady progress down to Leamington through the remaining six locks before reaching the town.
Jamesons carried onto Warwick but we opted to stop at the long moorings just to the Warwick side of the town near the large Morrisons supermarket.
We decided to stay put on Saturday and go and explore the town, it has a split personality, the old, original town close to the canal and the newer Spa on the banks of the river Leam. Like most spa towns there is a lot of regency architecture and the town has a very relaxed atmosphere. We explored the old town first passing the original town hall, now a Polish Centre.
We made our way down to the river and on into the large park and gardens situated along the river bank, these are the Jephson, named after the Victorian physician Dr Henry Jephson who promoted the healing properties of the Spa waters as well as providing housing for the poor of the town.
The park boasts a boating lake and a large tropical house, all very busy in the warm sunshine. Leaving the park we explored the spa side of the town, the main street contains many shops as well as the large new town hall and church, the many side streets have the samller and often more interesting shops. Making our way back to the boat we passed through the park on the other side of the road from the gardens, there was a street food and music festival underway overlooked by a large funfair and stage, the beer tents were doing a roaring trade in the heat and a good crowd were enjoying the entertainment on stage.

Scenes of Leamington Spa

Sunday 15th July
We decided to move up a couple of miles to Warwick, the two towns virtually merge together here, divided only by the railway and the river Avon, now a much larger affair than the trickling brook we crossed at Welford.
River Avon approaching Warwick

We moored on the visitor moorings close to Kate Boats hire base and they kindly allowed us to use the facilities there.
Warwick is a lovely town with lots of old buildings, the town centre lies about a twenty minute walk from the canal  and was surprisingly quiet even though it was Sunday, however walking down to the large riverside park, the reason was revealed, the whole of the town and a lot more had gathered there to enjoy the fine weather, the small funfair, paddling pool and other attractions were bursting at the seams.
Warwick
Mill Lane Warwick

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle, now run by the large corporation responsible for Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers, is a major attraction, however, as they are not dog friendly we did not visit.
The earls of Warwick had played a major role during the wars of the roses, Richard Neville nicknamed the "Kingmaker" was one such who played an instrumental role in the conflict, backing first the Yorkist side before switching his allegiance to the Lancastrians.
Monday morning brought an early start for us as we had 23 of the large locks to climb, the first two, in the town, we did on our own, before arriving at the foot of the daunting 21 locks of the Hatton flight.
Looking down the Hatton flight towards Warwick
Halfway up the Hatton
As we approached the bottom lock one of the boats moored there shouted over asking if they could join us through the locks, this was an offer we gratefully accepted, and we were soon ascending the flight with Lucia and the lady off the other boat getting into a efficient routine bringing  us to the summit in three hours. Our partner boat moored at the top as they had planned to turn round and descend back down the following morning (madness!!), we continued onto the lovely moorings at Turners Green and the very welcome Tom O The Wood pub.

Great Pub - Tom o' The Wood
Farmhouse at Turners Green
Tuesday 17th July
We had a choice this morning, do we carry on up the Grand Union to the centre of Birmingham, turn onto the Stratford canal and head up to Birmingham that way or turn left down the Stratford to is terminus on the river Avon. We opted for the third choice mainly because there had been a stoppage on the Grand Union, this was supposed to have been reopened at the beginning of the week, but there hadn't been a confirmation so we played safe and left that for another day.
Approaching Kingswood |Junction
We very soon arrived at the picturesque Kingswood Junction, situated partway down the Lapworth locks, here we immediately began our descent down towards Stratford upon Avon, we passed through the seventeen narrow locks, before arriving at the long pound at Wootton Wawen.
A typical bridge on the Stratford with a gap for the ropes to pass through
During our trip down we took a break at Lowsonford to visit the Finwood Hill farm shop up the road from bridge 40. It is well worth the walk up the hill from the canal, their beef products are from their own herd of grass fed Dexters and the pork is from the Gloucester Old Spot pigs roaming around the farm, they also sell duck and hen eggs from their free range birds. You could really tell the difference from the normal supermarket stuff. Just below the bridge is the large Fleur De Lys pub however we resisted the temptation and carried on past.
Bearley Lock
The trip down passes through some beautiful countryside with the unique lock keepers cottages with their unusual rounded roofs, and at lock 34 (Bucket Lock) we crossed the first of three impressive aqueducts. This one , Yarningdale, leads straight into the lock so that the abutment for the aqueduct forms part of the lock structure an amazing feat for early 19th century civil engineering.
Yarningdale Lock and Aqueduct

The canal scenery becomes more and more magical as you descend  down the frequent locks before entering the level pound below Preston Bagot. Here the trees diminish and views open out across fields of wheat and barley, as we went by the farmers were busy gathering in the crops.
Field of Gold

We arrived at Wootton Wawen to find space on the long moorings just before the hire base and marina.

We took a stroll down into the village noting the small shopping village and the two pubs, The Navigation and The Bulls Head. 
The Bulls Head
The latter is a 10 minute stroll to the opposite end of the village to the canal it is situated on the small green and is as typical an English village pub as you could find anywhere. We called into the small bar to the rear of the pub and enjoyed an evening chatting to Steve and Dave, a couple of locals from the village, among the may facts they told us about their home was regarding the famous Fleur De Lys Pies that used to be made and sold at the pub we had past earlier in the day, apparently they were so popular hoards used to descend from Birmingham to sample them, the name was bought out and is now part of the Pukka Pie brand, I had noticed when passing the pub that they still sell what are now know as Lowsonford Pies.We chatted on until late in the evening and had to walk back in semi darkness.
The following morning we got chatting to Geoff and Lynn on the boat in front of us, Geoff suggested we should do a spot of fishing as he had landed some good fish the night before.
We spent the day exploring the village and its many offerings, our first port of call was to look at the second of the aqueducts, this crosses the Stratford road and is a classic cast iron trunk aqueduct, unusually though the tow path follows the bottom of the tank rather than the level of the water.
Wootton Wawen Aqueduct


We then visited the shops, mostly craft and antiques as well as a farm shop and cafe, before walking past the large hall, this is now owned by Allens Caravans who specialise in up market static caravan parks, one of which is situated behind the hall. There is a useful post office as well as a small grocery store all available to the general public.
Wootton Hall
We continued on through the village before arriving at St Peters church some of which dates back to 1035 with Norman additions. It is a fascinating building and has a Saxon Sanctuary exhibition.
St Peters at Wootton Wawen
We continued past the Bulls Head again resisting the temptation to visit and followed the waymarked walk along to the river Alne, the river was quite low but slowly meandered its way down to its confluence with the river Avon.
That evening our fishing match wasn't particularly successful, I only managed to land a couple of small Roach but it was enough for me to be declared the winner of our impromptu match.

Thursday 19th July 
We awoke early to get an early start for our trip down to Stratford we had been warned that the town basin was very busy so we planned to get there early. Our trip down was 7 miles and a further 17 locks.
We made use of the Elsan disposal at the hire base before crossing over the aqueduct, the canal appeared quite shallow and we scrapped the bottom for a few miles before arriving at the very impressive Edstone aqueduct, again this is a cast iron tank with the same arrangement for the towpath, on the non towpath side there is just the 2 inch thick side of the trunk between the boat and a drop of getting on for 100 feet. The aqueduct straddles a small valley  passing over two roads a railway and river, the views as you cross are amazing.
Crossing the Edstone Aqueduct

We pressed on through a pretty wooded section noting that the water seemed shallower as we descended, we also noted, and this is a warning to other boaters doing this route, ensure all fenders are stowed away as the tail gates in a number of the locks do not open fully, we got stuck two or three times and had to enlist the muscle of a couple of passing cyclists, at one lock, to push the gate hard so we could get through!
We had another struggle through the last lock into Stratford however, we finally arrived in the basin to find there were only three other boats in giving us plenty of choice as to where to moor.
Stratford Upon Avon
There is not much I need to add here about this lovely medieval town, with its timber framed buildings and of course its famous resident one William Shakespeare. Whilst in town we visited the Rohan shop on Sheep Street, the owner of the shop, Samantha, couldn't have been more helpful in assisting us to buy some gear we need for later in the year, she prides herself on being more than a shop and they kindly let Scruff park herself in the middle of the floor under the air conditioning she sprawled out across the floor grateful for the opportunity to cool off.
We stayed in the marina for our allotted two days before purchasing our licence for the river Avon,  £50 for 7 days or £60 for 14, this navigation is run by the Avon Navigation Trust and CRT licenses are not valid on the river.
The basin provides a safe if busy mooring but you do have to be prepared to be examined closely by crowds of overseas visitors who seem fascinated by the concept of a narrowboat.
Rain was forecast for the evening on Friday but it didn't amount to much, a shame as it is beginning to look very parched around here.
On Saturday we descended the town lock onto the river turning upstream to visit the facilities at the area known as the  old bathing place, this used to have an outdoor swimming pool before its closure due to fears of Polio, the reason many of our old outdoor pools closed.
We winded here to retrace our steps to the extensive moorings opposite the RSC theatre, we intend to stay here until Monday morning when we will commence our trip downstream towards Tewkesbury.


Scenes of Stratford












The River Avon

Monday 23rd July After an enjoyable few days in a very hot and busy Stratford Upon Avon it was time to move on downstream and explore the ...