With strong winds forecast for the middle of the day on Saturday we set off early in the morning. After going through the locks at Chadbury and then Fladbury we passed Tiddle Widdle Island at Wyre Piddle. Of course, that sort of name tickles us but I suppose you can only see it’s an island from the air.
Giggling while passing Tiddle Widdle island and some rolling hills
The lock at Wyre Piddle is really unusual in that it is diamond shaped. There are a couple of hexagonal shaped ones on the Oxford canal that we have been through but never a diamond. I’m glad Karen was with me as it would be a bit of a logistical nightmare working out how to do this lock single handed.
Diamond shaped Wyre Piddle lock
Flood levels marked on green signs at Fladbury lock (top one 2007 and bottom one 1998)
There are still several wire or rope ferries on the River Avon and there was one at Fladbury Mill.
Ferry wire strung across the river
We stopped at Pershore for lunch and a wander round town. Quite a pleasant town but it was quiet for a Saturday. Many of the houses/shops have iron balustrades or balconies which gave a different feel to the place.
I was glad Karen had got the go kart tyres last week as we needed them at the moorings at Pershore. The hooks are a bit of an eyesore in white but that was all I could get and we only need them up when moored at places like this.
Homemade tyre fenders
The wind got stronger during the afternoon and we didn’t set off again until about five. We went through the next three locks with a family on a hire boat and they were understandably very nervous as it was their first time. To be honest we really felt for them as it didn’t seem that they had been given much instruction with regards to locks, rivers and navigating in the wind.
|One of the two bridges at Pershore|
We had been moored under a horse chestnut tree at Pershore and the wind had brought lots of the red blossom down and covered the boat.
Karen clearing off the blossom
As we came around the corner towards Strensham lock we saw a narrowboat that had somehow crossed over the weir boom. At first, we thought, ‘Oh no, something terrible has happened to the hire boaters’. Then we saw them at the lock entrance so the next reaction was that they had been going too fast and forced another boat off the edge. As we got closer it was clear that the boat must have been washed over in the last floods.
Sorry sight to see
Strensham lock had a swing bridge over the chamber – we have now visited nearly all the dozen or so locks in the country that have swing bridges over them.
Sharing Strensham lock with the hire boat family – bridge swung out of the way of course!
As this is a river there are very few bridges and, apart from the M5 and two Pershore bridges, Eckington bridge was the only other one we passed under during the day.
Pretty red sandstone Eckington bridge
We moored up for the night outside the Fleet pub at Twyning having cruised for 20 miles during the day – a lot for us these days. We just squeezed into the last spot and assumed the hire boat family had moored elsewhere as they didn’t appear. After about two hours they did appear – we helped them moor up alongside us. It transpired that they had broken down when leaving the last lock and had to wait for the hire boat company to sort things out. The poor girls were distraught after such a tense first day, but talking to them this morning after a good night’s sleep they say they are relaxed and looking forward to the rest of their holiday.
|Our mooring on Saturday night|