It was raining this morning, so we delayed starting till almost lunchtime. The rain stopped, and we even got some sun this afternoon, but the wind was blowing hard all day. The second lock, at Nafford, has an awkward dog leg approach with weirs on either side. That’s the one where we saw the half submerged narrowboat on the way up. It’s still there. I made it to a lock landing OK, though not the one I was originally aiming for. There was a boat coming up the lock, a seventy foot hire boat. They had difficulty making the tight right hand turn out of the lock as the wind was blowing them in the opposite direction. In the end I had to move Wharram Percy out of the way, and use our pole to push their bow out to get them started turning. Even then they only just made the corner, and almost ended up pointing the wrong way towards another weir.
Remind me never to try to take a seventy foot boat up the Avon.
The next lock down we had difficulty getting away from the landing stage below the lock, as it had a wall in front of it with a narrow exit way to the right. Once again I had to push the front of the boat with a pole. but then go and jump on the back. We just made the corner.
Coming into Tewkesbury, the final challenge is King John’s Bridge.
It’s called that because a bridge was first built here by King John. Of course, he didn’t do it himself, he had people for that sort of thing. In fact, as far as he was concerned he had the entire country as he was absolute monarch, and apparently engaged in such a frenzy of enforced bridge building that the barons put a special clause in the Magna Carta about this.
No town or person shall be forced to build bridges over rivers…
It’s worth pointing out that the bridge, though repaired and rebuilt several times over the centuries, is still in constant use, whereas only three of the sixty one clauses of the Magna Carta are still part of our legal system, so King John’s Bridge has stood up a lot better than the baron’s Magna Carta. John may not have been a good man, but he knew a thing or two about infrastructure projects.
Anyhow, there is only one arch of the bridge high and deep enough for boats, and the one remaining vacant mooring was right on the other side of the river. I attempted to get to boat over to the mooring. Now, when you are bringing a narrowboat to the bank, you are at the stern, so you concentrate on getting the stern to the bank so you can step off with a rope, and pull the rest of the boat in sideways. I succeeded in getting the stern across, but the wind (remember that bloody annoying wind I was talking about) took the bow and started pushing it back up river. Resigned to our fate, I stepped off with the stern line, and moored the boat facing back up river towards Stratford.
Later, fortified with cheese (white stilton with stem ginger), I grabbed the bow line and pulled it downstream along the bank while Paula took the stern around completing a 360 degree turn. We are now pointing in the right direction again. It’s little things like that that keep me happy.