Business as normal as we filled up with diesel, pumped out the loo and headed off for Gloucester docks. With winds gusting at 40mph (Richard lied to me and said they’d be less so I wouldn’t worry, the cheeky git!). We got caught in a few full on downpours but made it ok to Sainsbury’s to do a quick shop before leaving tomorrow.
We had called the lock keeper in advance to get the best time to go through as we knew the spring tides were due again. We hang back at the lock to let the large dutch barge get settled into the lock. No point charging in with them bouncing all round the lock chamber before finally getting some ropes on and settled. We had been given the heads-up that there may be debris due to some tree management happening and that we should be just ahead of the incoming rising tide.
A little way up and before ‘The Partings’ where the river massively widens I saw what I thought was a log, turns out it wasn’t a log but was a dead horse. I felt very sad that maybe the owner would never know what happened to their horse and it just wasn’t in the field when they went to see them.
Somewhere along the way I started to feel the water behave differently, the river flowing down past the boat but waves comes from behind and churning the water underneath. I realised it was the rising tide so took care to keep her steering straight as occasionally the stern was lifted. Overall the river rose up a metre by the time we reached Upper Lode Lock.
After the lock the river calmed straight away and made it safely to Upton with a fair share of log dodging, we were joined not long after by a couple from Surrey who were exploring the networks and breasted up alongside Māhina for the night.
The plan was to head to Worcester for the night but on arrival at Diglis Lock around midday, the lock keeper asked if we were going under Worcester bridge as due to some major debris blocking one of the arches we have to navigate through a specific arch. He warned us that news coming down from the other lock keepers up the river was that the water levels were rising and rapidly due to heavy rainfall over Wales. I had always worried about choosing to be on the river during an amber status so we had a conversation to decide what to do.
We decided to push on to the next lock (about an hour away) as we could gain an update then and it sounded like there were some more mooring options there if we decided not to continue. At this stage we were considering doing the whole next day’s driving today to get to Stourport and therefore off the river and onto a canal to be safe.
On arrival to Bevere Lock, the keeper was super friendly and helpful. The update was that further up the river the levels were still rising quickly and the chance of a more faster flowing river and more debris were highly likely. That being said, when it rains in Wales it takes a couple of days for that to have an impact downstream and the keeper said if it was him he’d make a run for it and get to Stourport as he couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t be worse tomorrow.
We agreed and went for it, another hour to Holt lock and enjoyed seeing the new scenery to us on this section of the river. I got very excited as i saw an American Mink running over a couple of fishing pontoons. Photo below is not mine but I was not near a camera to snap him!
Through Holt lock and onto Lincombe with no issues.
Pulled over on the lock landings to set the staircase lock and got very confused by the fairground rides right next door to the lock.
A strange wiggle through the basin of moored boats, a very articulate 10 year old, a shit of a turn into the town lock, a dead floating rat and a final mooring closed the end of our day! It was a bit of an epic but i will always respect the lockies advise and feel better for being off the river and onto a canal network.