Thursday, 25 May 2017

Offenham (cheeky Wednesday moorings)


Our new mooring at Offenham



On Tuesday, we did very little other than have a couple of walks around Harvington.   We were moored in an unusual spot in Harvington as the river was in the middle of private land; consequently, there were no public footpaths nearby.  This meant that we didn’t see a soul by the boat all day as no one walked past.

Wednesday was moving day so Buddy and I set off for Offenham straight after breakfast.  It was forecast to be sunny all day so I wanted to move before the heat of the day.

First we had to go down Robert Aickman lock.  This lock is longer and wider than the others we have been through so far on the Upper Avon.  Because it was a large lock it has two paddles on each of the gates.  It was also leaking badly so it took ages to get through and to top it all the gates were really heavy for me so I had to be careful not to damage my back again.  Buddy still hasn’t learnt how to help!

Going down Robert Aickman lock

Robert Aickman was a stalwart of the inland waterways and campaigned for their restoration against major obstacles put up by the Governments of the time that wanted to close the failed waterways.  Also, the public weren’t generally interested in waterways then, so he must have met quite a lot of indifference.

The lock was built in 1982 which was later than the other locks on the Upper Avon which were restored or newly built in the 1970s.  They did build one in the 70s here but it was on the site of the original 17th century pound lock and for some reason the foundations caused the lock to slowly collapse.  It was restored again and was used as a dry dock for a few years but is now disused again.

The first restored lock at Harvington on top of the 17th century lock’s foundations.  Later used as a dry dock and now disused.

We soon arrived at Offenham where there are plenty of moorings by the lock.  There is also a boaters’ rubbish point so I moored up and got rid of quite a bit of rubbish that had been piling up.  It never ceases to amaze me how much rubbish and recycling we have.  Maybe it’s because we are more aware of it as it’s not so easy to dispose of compared with being on land.

The moorings were all empty but I planned to reverse out of the lock cut and cross to the other side of the river where there were moorings provided by the riverside pub.

Rather a welcome sign as it meant we could have a cheeky Wednesday drink

The mooring was great as it was right next to the pub and a little layby for Karen to park in.  The picture at the top is looking back up the river from where we had come.

Another view of the mooring – the weir is further down beyond the boom

It is also a good spot for Buddy as it is completely fenced off and only boaters are allowed through the gate so he was able to lay outside without being on a lead.  He spent most of the time walking from shade to sun and back again though.

View from the dinette

In the afternoon, we went for a walk up Cleeve Hill and over to the three villages of South, Middle and North Littleton.

Looking over the Vale of Evesham – reminds me of Kent with all the fruit growers although in Kent they are mainly polytunnels rather than glasshouses

When we got back we went to the weir so Buddy could have a drink.  He doesn’t normally like going in water but he must have been so hot that he just stood in it for ages.

 
Cooling down
This weir used to be a ford and the original cobbled bricks can still be seen under the water.  After a while Buddy became more confident and decided to learn to swim.  I’m convinced he thinks that if his head is underwater then he is swimming.


Swimming Buddy-style


It really is a lovely spot and I spent a long time on one of our picnic chairs just watching the swallows, swifts and wagtails catching the insects above the water; the odd kingfisher and heron came by too. 

When Karen came home we wandered over to the pub for a cheeky Wednesday drink.  Actually, it wasn’t cheeky as we had to patronise the pub to use the moorings.  When we got back to the boat we sat outside until it was dusk and noticed how the swifts were now flying higher as the insects had risen.  They were the only birds still flying and at first glance they looked like bats which remnded us that we have not seen many bats yet this year.

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