Monday, 19 September 2016

Pottering around in the shed

It’s that time again, another 250 hour service for the noisy green thing in the shed.  Either the engine compartment is getting smaller or I’m getting older and less flexible; probably the latter!  My New Year resolution was to lose 10kg…. only 15kg to go!

It’s interesting how I was regularly replacing the 175A alternator belt with belts purchased from chandlers.  18 months ago I bought two replacement belts from a motor factors in Banbury and the first is still on the engine 18 months later.  It’s not showing much sign of wear!  Today I re-tensioned it and the charging voltage immediately increased.

On our arrival at Tewkesbury I asked the lock keeper what time we would should lock down onto the River Severn.  He’d informed me we should go at 2pm.  So I had a slight surprise this morning when the crew of the boat moored in front (nb Waka Nui 2) mentioned they were leaving for Gloucester at 11am.  I immediately went to the lock and asked for confirmation from the rostered lock keeper.  Yes, it was 11am!  By now it was 10 45am and we wanted to take on water.  The crew of Waka Nui 2 kindly waited for us.  So we have two boats in the lock with Maori names.  However the other crew have no connection to NZ and have never been there.  They bought their first narrowboat from a Kiwi who lived in Rotorua and who had named the boat.  Waka is a large canoe or boat and Nui means……. well how the hell would I know… I’m not a Maori!

There have been spring tides over the last few days and the lock keeper informed us this had pushed the water back over the weir at Gloucester Lock bring a large amount of debris with it.  We were warned to be careful.

There was a bit of fluffing around at Upper Lode Lock with one boat coming up and the two of us going down.  Then we were joined by a large fibreglass cruiser and it took the lock keeper several minutes to decide where he wanted us positioned in the lock.  We’re back on big locks.

P1030274The plastic boat followed us out but with some 14 miles to Gloucester and the next lock we knew we’d not see him again.

IMG_0768 The adjacent weir

Waka Nui 2 is a local boat and we decided to follow rather than lead.  It was a good decision because in the rush to leave I’d failed to load the River Severn map into the gps.

P1030286The lock keeper at Upper Lode Lock called out asking if I knew where to turn for Gloucester.  I called back “If we see Cardiff then I know I missed it!” 

There was a good downstream current and we moved along quite nicely with the engine doing 1200rpm.

There was a final glimpse of Tewkesbury Abbey which we will also see on the way back, although we’re not planning to go back up the River Avon.

P1030275The river was full of yachts at Lower Lode and we hugged the right bank to avoid them as they tacked back and forth across the river.


The river is actually rather boring.  High banks covered in trees means there is very little to see.  The river is shallow on the left bank on the bend below Haw Bridge, but there are marker posts and warning signs. 


Last of the marker post.  The current had Waiouru “crabbing” as we went around the bend.  At Combe Bottom we met two large fibreglass cruisers going in the opposite direction.  Not only were they going faster than us but they were also pushing against the current.  For us it became “A life on the ocean waves… a home on the rolling deep” . I steered diagonally across the river in an effort to meet the waves in their wake square on to the bow rather that be struck side on.  That mostly worked with spray from the bow bursting into the air.  Narrow flat bottomed boats don’t handle waves very well.  As it was we bounced around in their wake for a good kilometre.

P1030280What happened to the millpond?

The river splits at Upper Parting.  We needed to go left onto the Eastern Channel, but the current was attempting to take us right to the weir.  I was glad Waka Nui 2 was ahead and knew the way.  The Eastern Channel looks more like a wide canal than a river, however by looking at the banks it was obvious the water level had fallen by half a metre so the high tides had affected the channel.

We had been seeing and avoiding small debris for most of the cruise but from this point onwards some of it became significantly larger.


There’s a second weir at Gloucester Lock.  The crew on Waka Nui 2 had phoned the lock keeper when we reached Blackbridge Railway Bridge to warn him we were coming and hopefully have the lock ready for us.

The river makes a right turn in from of the lock and then goes over a weir.  We didn’t want to get caught by the current and hugged the left bank staying back from the lock gates until they were open.


When the lock was ready we powered on through the current until inside the lock.  It was only once we were inside the lock that the steerer on Waka Nui 2 informed me that was the most interesting trip he had done on this stretch of the river.

We’ve reached Gloucester and found a mooring in the basin.


Adam said...

We loved the Gloucester and Sharpness when we did it this time last year. And Gloucester Docks is probably one of my favourite moorings of all time -- especially on a sunny weekend, with so much going on. Sharpness is great for completely different reasons. You can look up when big ships are coming in off the Severn, and walk round to the far side of the lock to see them coming or going.

Paula said...

We were at Saul today and we half expected to see you. The work on Saul lock is interesting, l hadn't realised it was a listed structure. You're so right the River Severn is so boring, the journey from Gloucester to Worcester used to give me plenty of time to unpack and pack up when we moored at Saul marina. The Gloucester/Sharpness is very pretty on a sunny day and l loved the basin at Gloucester. Hope you enjoy your trip. Maybe you're heading for Upton on your way back? We went up and down several times and we're unlucky enough never to get a mooring, although l believe it's easier now, you coming on round to Portishead? Paula

Tom and Jan said...

So far we would agree with you Adam. Looking forward to the rest of the cruise down to Sharpness!

Paula said...

We were at Saul junction today and we half expected you to be there. We used to moor at Saul and loved Gloucester Docks and the complete contrast of Sharpness at the other end. There was an open day at Saul lock today which was quite interesting. Are you heading round to Portishead and into Bristol or are you heading back up to Worcester on the Severn? You're so right about the Severn, it is endless and can be so boring, l used to use the time to unpack and pack up when we headed up to the wider canall network.I hope you're on your way to Portishead, l don't think any of the bloggers have done it yet and l would love to see a familiar boat around here!! Paula

Jenny and Robin said...

Tom as you said "Waka" means canoe, "Nui" means big. Therefore "Waka Nui 2" big boat no. 2.


Tom and Jan said...

Hi Paula,

We are going to turn around at Sharpness and retrace our route to Tewkesbury and then continue up the Severn to Stourport. Last year we cruised the length of the K&A so it's the channel in the middle we'll miss.

Tom and Jan said...

Robin, I knew one of my Maori friends would know the answer! :-) How is your aboriginal progressing? Or perhaps you are sticking to "Gidday Mate!"

Davidss said...

Having no knowledge at all about non-UK English, I can't help but notice the original owner, 'a Kiwi who lived in Rotorua', spelt Waka as Whaka; perhaps it's a local dialect difference :-)


Tom and Jan said...

Damned keyboard! And the post was proofread. Another instance of it urining a post!

Pip and Mick said...

When you change your fuel filters is it easy to bleed the system? I ask because on Lillyanne's Barrus Shire engine you just need to leave the electric fuel pump running for a few seconds then fire up the engine. NB Oleanna is having a Beta 43 and I sort of hope that the proceedure will be just as easy.

Tom and Jan said...


I turn off the out and return fuel cocks at the tank and remove the old fuel filter. Spin on the new filter and turn the cocks back on. Then I prime the system and fill the fuel filter by repeatedly pressingdown on the spring loaded priming button on top of the filter housing. When it feels under pressure I turn on the engine.

We also have two fuel prefilters.