Llanthony Bridge to Frampton On Severn
The wind seems to like Gloucester! It doesn’t seem to have stopped since we got here.
Not letting it put us off we pushed over to the services this morning to top up with water, dispose of rubbish and empty the yellow water tank as the out let would be on the right side making it easy to do. As always when Mick is holding onto the hose a lady stopped to chat to him. Luckily she was at a distance so most probably had no idea what he was doing, we were pumping out our urine from the tank under our composting toilet into another container to take to the elsan. We can be in the middle of nowhere and still someone comes by and stands to have a chat!
Then we pushed off again, reversing a distance before we winded, Mick remembered we had a bow thruster which made the manoeuvre much easier in the wind. On to Sainsburys to do a big shop. Having studied the map for the canal there seem to be few shops down towards Sharpness, so we wanted to make sure we’d not go hungry.
By the time we’d filled a trolley and stowed everything on board we needed some lunch before setting off proper.
Boats came by and as we made our way to Hempsted Bridge we felt sorry for the Keeper. I wonder if this is the busiest bridge on the canal, it is all manual including the barriers which have a rope hanging from them so you can pull them down. The chap appeared and closed the barriers maybe only just having opened them, then a jump onto the handle to get the bridge turning. Apparently when it’s windy it is a right pain to close. We thanked him and carried on our way only to spot another boat coming towards us just as the bridge closed.
We carried on under the next two bridges, Sim’s Bridge having a new coat of paint applied. About a mile further on we pulled in to a mooring shortly before Sellars Swing Bridge.
We were looking for somewhere with some parking and bins. Here on google earth looked like it would fit the bill, but a closer look revealed that work was being carried out on the bridge so the bins are suspended for the next couple of weeks. Also any parking spaces were very full. We decided to carry on and see what we’d find further on.
From here on all the swing bridges are low and have to be swung. Bridge Keepers cottages sit along side, not much more than bungalows, but with aspirations with their pillars and pediments. The views now opened out, hills to our right and left, fields of yellowing rape seed jollying the world along.
Nearing Saul Junction the moored boats increased in number. On the off side a collection of sheds seemed tacked together by windows, with more waiting for the next extension to be created.
At the junction there is a lock which leads to just a short pool of water where the Stroudwater Canal used to head off to connect with the Severn at Frimilode. Heading south east from the junction is a short arm all that remains currently of the Stroudwater which, once it connected to the Thames and Severn Canal, used to head all the way to the Thames. Parts of the canal are still in water but when the M5 and A38 were built this severed the canal.
Saul Junction and Sandfield Swing Bridges opened up for us as we approached, not a bridge keeper in sight. Certainly one of these is operated remotely, high above the bridges are cameras. We’ve been wondering why these bridges have to have Keepers. The ones with lower headroom may be wider than those on the Leeds Liverpool Canal, but there they are all boater operated, either with a key of power or just manual pushing. Is it because the bigger boats and ships would have difficulty in setting someone ashore to operate the bridges? A couple of years ago there was a trial of an app at Saul. Once downloaded this could be used to operate the bridge as you approached, thus no one having to be set ashore and disposed of the need for a bridge keeper. However this was shelved as there was the potential for people to sit in the cafe by the bridge and play with the app, opening and closing the bridge as they fancied, watching what chaos followed.
Here we were surrounded by rubbish bins (not literally, but bins at every bridge) and checking on google earth we spotted several parking possibilities for visitors, so we pulled up on the end of a Visitor Mooring before the next bridge. This would do us. It certainly would! Tasty shaggy grass, side ways trees, trees and bunny holes. Paul this M needs a bunny hole symbol.
0 locks, 8.12 miles, 1 wind, 4 moorings, 1 box wine, 1 bottle bubbles, 2 huge pieces of salmon, 1 dog in a cat flap, 1 galleon, 5 ducked bridges, 4 swung bridges, 1 Tilly bunny hole stamp of approval.
Severn River level at 9am today (at Bewdley a mile upstream from Stourport) 1.234m,
level at Diglis, Worcester at 9am today 0.825m,
level at Gloucester Docks at 9am today 0.886m.