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Tours 2000, BCN, Severn Estuary, K&A and River Wey

19 - Tuesday 18th July - Gloucester to Purton. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Brilliant sun all day, but a little blowy from the west.

We eventually left Gloucester docks at 10.50 after a large shopping spree to provision boat for all the Severn Estuary day trippers! Neil had spent the morning cleaning up the gunwales and touching up the Hammerite black. The signs of the Dudley Tunnel scrapes have now been eradicated. The exhaust extension boss and surround was also painted. Our departure was a bit swift, as we managed to catch the lift bridge, that had been swung for a departing cruiser. Needless to say there was no way we could keep up with them! Sims, Sellars and Rea swing bridges did not have to be swung, as they have enough air draught for a narrowboat, though the light signals did have to be observed. A few other cruisers sped past us. 
We got caught by bridge keepers lunch hour between 13.00 and 14.00 and were marooned between Sandfield and Saul Junction bridges. We tried to get diesel from R.W. Davis, but were recommended to get it at Adulac, just before Fretherne Swing Bridge. While here we looked over the really solidly built faithful replica Town Class narrowboats. We had a walk around and looked at the moribund Stroudwater canal, which crosses over here. At 14.00,  just before we pulled off, a barge came out of Davis's dry dock, so we let it go first. This was a mistake as it pulled up at Adulacs for diesel! Fortunately they did not take that long and we were soon filled up (25p / l). 
While we were waiting Sophie was taking a somewhat casual pose on the front of the boat with one of her legs dangling over the side of the bows. Neil told her off for this, saying that it was bad practise. To our dismay she would not listen and we got pulled up by the barge captain. Neil explained that we had told her not to do it. The barge captain then jumped down from his bridge and gave her a piece of his mind. He had let the barge in gear against one rope. He then returned to his bridge after Sophie had listened to his warnings. A quick blast on his throttle sent the side off Earnest's bow smacking into the high piling. Neil applauded his practical demonstration of what could have happened to Sophie's leg! Adulacs is a commercial fuel depot and as such, does not give much of a display to the fact that they do marine diesel. 
After a trouble free and quick bridge opening run, we eventually arrived at Purton Bridges. This was having finally been burned off by three small cruisers. The bridge keeper kept the Upper Swing Bridge open for us, but at the last minute he shut it for no apparent reason. By that time we were nearly passed the traffic lights. Some confusion then arose when the bridge finally re-opened, as we could not see the traffic lights and we got beckoned through by a annoyed hidden voice on a large Tannoy! When we passed the Lower Bridge we witnessed the bridge keeper being shouted at, by what appeared to be a mad women! 
At 16.15 we stopped in Purton. Here we filled up with water, having moored up on the overgrown non-towpath side, just past it. Not long after a small narrowboat we passed earlier moored in front of us. Neil had a chat with a local permanent moorer, whose narrowboat was just past the bridge. We had something in common, for he once moored at Harefield Marina. He knew the bridge keeper and said that the bloke was sorry for shouting at us and for the confusion above the Upper Bridge. He said that he would see us in the pub later. We then went off to investigate the Berkley Arms pub and did the classic walk amongst all the beached bank protection old barges, on the banks of the Severn. The Berkley Arms pub was checked out, they would be open from 19.00. It is truly a magical place, one bar in the farmhouse. It also has incredible views across the Severn Esturary. While walking back over Purton Lower Swing Bridge the bridge keeper collared Neil and they had a good chat. Firstly, the guy explained that the reason he had to shut the Upper Bridge on us, was to let the local farmers wife walk across! She was the woman who was giving him a severe ear bashing when we passed the Lower Bridge. He said that the Upper Bridge was the only one on the canal not owned by BW. It was put in by the water company, when the reservoirs were put in at the river side of the canal. He had to operate the Upper Bridge by remote control, from his hut. He also enthused about his canal and Neil agreed that it has a lot to offer, not the boring straight ditch we imagined before we first came here. He then gave us an insight into the many anti-yob courses BW staff have to go on, not that this knowledge would be needed around here. He thought that we were very brave to have done all the BCN! 
After this, Ian Scott went in swimming and eventually used a pan shiner to remove Earnest's Dudley Tunnel ballasted waterline. Neil did the tow path side from the bank. Neil then phoned Phil, the pilot and booked Sharpness Docks bridge and locks. We were to go through the docks at 8.00, for a 10.35 high water departure. Andrew Goodland and John Chapman soon joined us in the pub.  John got dropped off by his nephew,  who stayed for a while and Andrew arrived in his Landrover. George Eycott would be joining us tomorrow in the docks. Just before the new arrivals a band of elderly motorbikers arrived. There were a lot of Matchless machines. They all had a swift pint then all chugged off. Andrew and John soon chilled out in the pub and Andrew persuaded one of the locals "look after" his Landrover until he returned! 
After the pub and watching the Severn streaming in at 10mph we retired to the boat for a coffee and some of Andrew G's excellent single malt! (Lagavulin) Neil has never been a liker of whiskey, but this single malt Islay stuff was a different matter! Next followed the battle of the handheld GPS, John's new Garmin 12+ won the day, though Andrew's Garmin 2 did have the more impressive aerial. This became known in TNC folklore as the "Babe Magnet" aerial!


Llanthony Warehouse, home of the Gloucester Waterways Museum and BW Area Offices. The boat to the right is the local trip boat. It is one of the Dunkirk Little Ships. Gloucester Docks. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Llanthony Lift Bridge. We sneak out with the cruiser. Gloucester Docks. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Passing under Llanthony Lift Bridge. Gloucester Docks. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

We would never dream of it! (why is there a way to?) Gloucester Docks. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Looking back at Llanthony Lift Bridge and Gloucester Docks. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Gloucester Docks. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Looking back at Llanthony Lift Bridge and Gloucester Docks. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Looking back at Llanthony Lift Bridge and Gloucester Docks. More visitor moorings and a water / sanitary point are also here. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Looking back at Gloucester Docks. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Gloucester Docks. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Gloucester Docks. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Roman's Quay Dock. Now sadly not used for ANYTHING! Gloucester Docks. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Nearly free of Gloucester. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Hempsted Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Hempsted Swing Bridge. All but a couple of these bridges are still manually operated. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Leaving Hempsted Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

The "S" bend before Sims Bridge. Now fixed, bridge over entrance to old dock. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

The "S" bend before Sims Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Sims Swing Bridge. Not needed to be operated for narrowboats. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

The Sims Swing Bridge  keeper in dog shit strimming mode! Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Rea Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Looking back at Sim's Swing Bridge from Rea Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

The Pilot pub name board at Sellars Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Sophie now feels confidant enough to steer under bridges. Sellars Swing Bridge, The Pilot pub to right. We stopped here in 1994, for a quick pint. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Parkend Swing Bridge. Unlike the last three, we will not fit under this one! Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Parkend Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Parkend Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Parkend Swing Bridge. The pristine "classical" bridge keepers cottage. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Leaving Parkend Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Saul Junction Swing Bridge being swung. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Saul Junction Swing Bridge. The crane is at R.W. Davis boatbuilders. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Looking back at Saul Junction Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Saul Junction. The Moribund  Stroudwater Canal crosses over the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal here. The lock is in the long ago abandoned section, that went down to the Severn Esturary. This was the only exit point before the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal was built.

Saul Junction. Earnest takes an enforced stop. Sandfield Swing Bridge to the right. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Sandfield Swing Bridge. We pass through with the newly blacked barge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Looking back at Sandfield Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Looking back at Adulac's fuel mooring. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Fretherne Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Looking back at Fretherne Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Telephoto shot towards Splatt Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Splatt Swing Bridge and Church End (The Splatt) church. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Boden, a newsgroup members narrowboat. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Cambridge Arms Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Cambridge Arms Swing Bridge bridge keepers cottage. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

The Cambridge Arm. There are plans afoot to make this navigable. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Patch Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Purton. Looking down at the Upper Swing Bridge. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Upper Swing Bridge. Purton. It is about to close on us! Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Looking back at Purton Lower Swing Bridge. The building to the left is the closed Berkley Hunt Inn. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Purton.

The Berkley Arms pub. Purton.

The Berkley Arms pub. Purton.

The old barge grave yard at Purton. These were dragged here to protect the banks of the Severn / canal from erosion. 

The old barge grave yard at Purton.

Purton. The dredger and dredgings pump out station.  Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

The Severn at Purton. Somebody pulled the plug out!

"Severn Collier". The old barge grave yard at Purton.

Looking up stream of the River Severn at Purton.

"Harriet" "Bristol". The top of the transom seems to be carved with "Ash" something. The old barge grave yard at Purton.

This image joins to the last one. The old barge grave yard at Purton.

This one has still got the paint on. The old barge grave yard at Purton.

One of the wrecked oil tankers that bought down the Severn Railway Bridge in 1959. Purton.

Ian S giving Earnest a side scrub! Purton. Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

The Berkley Arms pub. Purton.

Sunset over the Severn Estuary at Purton.

The Severn flood tide. Looking up steam from the pub. Purton.

Ian Scott reflecting on the superb sunset and scenery. Purton.

Sunset looking over the pub field. There is a campsite here. Purton.

The Berkley Arms pub. Purton.

The Tour continues....

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