All the sport fields were full, parents shouting encouragement to their youngsters on the football fields and gentle applause for runs on the cricket pitches.
Our run into Worcester was easy, a Viking Afloat boat yesterday had set most of the locks for us, only one had drained overnight. The last two locks down into town were both empty and as I was just starting to fill the top one a chap with a BWML shirt on came and asked if I’d seen a boat. A moving boat, no we’d not seen anyone else moving. He was relieved as I’d saved him quite a walk to try and find it, they must have gone down onto the river.
The last two locks are deep and Mick could only just reach to close a bottom gate and then only just enough for me to step over. Sidbury Lock was to be our last narrow lock for sometime.
Just under Mill Street Bridge we pulled in and tied up on the rings. Two boats were moored there, one very antisocially on the water points. We made sure we pulled backwards, sorted out our boat covers, poppering them back into place, the kettle put on, time for lunch. From here we’d walk down to have a look at the river level and the moorings, then stock upon a few items and fill with water. But just as the kettle was about to boil a C&RT chap stopped to talk to Mick. He informed us that where we were moored wasn’t a mooring and that we’d get a ticket if we stayed there. Yes there were signs at the waterpoints, Max stay 30 mins, but nothing that we’d seen nearer the bridge. We’re not sure if this was official or something that has come about locally over time after complaints by locals, who knows, we just couldn’t stay there.
These are big brutes! Wide and heavy. I went ahead to open the lock below whilst Oleanna dropped to the level of the intermediate pound. A very nice chatty Volunteer Lockie appeared from nowhere and helped with paddles and gates. We were having difficulty opening the bottom gate when she noticed water still bubbling up from one of the ground paddles. She tried dropping the paddle but still it bubbled, possibly something stuck in it. So we pushed extra hard and eventually managed to get the gate open, she’d see if she could fix it once we were out on the river.
Insisting I jumped on board to go down the bottom lock whilst she did the paddles I did as I was told. The bottom gate opened and there at last after 25 days we were actually on the river. Instead of 13 miles and 3 locks we’d come the long way round, 68 miles and 98 locks! As we exited the lock the board was just level with where green met amber, almost green. Then it started to rain!
Turning left, we headed down stream to where the floating pontoon moorings were. An hour ago there had been space for us, but in the mean time two cruisers had filled the gap. So we slowly turned to face up stream and came in very slowly along side a narrowboat moored at the end of the pontoon. ‘Hello, anyone on board?’ A lady popped her head out, yes we could breast up. She took our bow rope and passed it around her T stud. NB Chrysalis had just come up from the Avon and would next week be heading back down stream on the Severn.
To celebrate getting onto the river we stopped off on our way back and enjoyed some chilled medication, Blackcurrant Sorbet and Salted Caramel. Very nice they were too.