Saturday 8th July; Pershore to Evesham
Well, after yesterday’s concerns Meg was up and wanting her breakfast and ready for an early start. So after a quick visit to the bakery (opens at 6) and one of the butchers in the market (open at 8) and getting a paper, we were away before 9. This is a great place to moor; lovely outlook, walks for the dogs in the fields (though with Meg poorly last night we didn’t go), and a nice town to boot.
I should have taken a photo yesterday, as the sun would have been behind me and I wouldn’t have had to hide in the shade of the tree to do it. At Wyre lock we had the company of Le Lapin Agile (named after a café in Paris). Once more the sun was scorching hot.
Leaving Wyre lock
There are some expensive-looking properties in Wyre Piddle; some pretty and some pretty ugly. I think if I had the sort of money to build a riverside property I’d take a bit of care over the design.
We could see the heads of our locking companions across the fields as the course of the river twisted and turned. This heron obligingly posed for a photograph; is it just enjoying the sun or trying to cool down?
At Fladbury lock we were pleased to find two Avon Navigation Trust volunteers who waved us straight into the empty lock. They used small grappling hooks to take our ropes, which they then looped over the bollards, dropping the loose ends down so the crew and steerers had nothing to do but hold them. The gate paddles on some of these locks are extremely fierce. With only one ground paddle on the river (at Pershore) it is slow work going up locks on the Avon; for non-boaty readers, ground paddles produce less turbulence than gate paddles. If you open gate paddles too quickly your boat could be swamped, or at the least thrown about in a very unsafe manner, so filling a lock takes quite some time.
It was tempting to moor up as Fladbury village was having their Open Gardens today. But we didn’t, and neither did Le Lapin Agile.
Our companions stopped for lunch at Craycombe Turn and we went through Chadbury lock on our own. We tooted the horn for the Hampton Chain Ferry (as requested just after the lock) though we didn’t notice any sign closer to it. As soon as we had passed, the ferry operator was lifting the chain so that he could cross back over the river for his lunch break.
He was watching the fast-approaching cruiser which had just appeared. We wanted to moor at the pontoons just past the A-road bridge on the approach to Evesham; the Riverside Festival was on and we suspected Workman Gardens moorings would all be taken. We had a leisurely lunch, watching the little hourly-hire boats and trip boats plying up and down in the sunshine.
it was too hot to leave Meg on the boat as it was in direct sun, so she came with us as we strolled up to the gardens to take in the sights. Boats were moored two or three abreast and many were decorated. As we wandered round the stalls (mostly food and charity stalls) the boat parade was announced, but only a few took part. The Wizard of Oz was a good one – it’s a shame they were all looking at the other bank!
There were a few narrow-boats but it was mostly cruisers. Having looked at the boats we walked up to the shops past this dog-cart giving children rides.
We went through to Crown Meadow on the other side of the river from Workman Gardens and walked back to the boat in the shade of the trees. This was Workman Gardens;
and this our mooring, rather quieter!
While we had tea two little steam launches chuffed by, with that distinctive smell.
We knew there would be an illuminated boat parade and fireworks but didn’t feel like walking all the way up to watch. Anyway we couldn’t leave Meg alone if there were going to be fireworks. She tends not to be bothered, but you never know so we played safe.
Dave took the rest of the pictures in this post; mine were a bit rubbish. (We were about 300 yards away though). The boats were mostly just strings of lights, but this one had made an effort for Wimbledon fortnight!
Most of the fireworks were partially obscured by the trees, but the rocket bursts were spectacular.
10 miles 3 locks