Most of the mooring is time restricted to 48hours on the Avon, so although we could have enjoyed another day or two in Tewksebury we set off on our first cruise going upstream on a river. It would also be the first time we had done an unmanned river lock. These locks are wide enough for two boats and are fast flowing so the instructions are to use ropes both fore and aft. This needed some consideration as I would be on the lockside and neither Eric’s arms aren’t long enough to reach the bow and stern at the same time or are any of our ropes. So following the advice from Nicky the Tewkesbury lockie, the solution is to tie three ropes together and lay it down the length of the boat, once I am lockside Eric hooks the ropes around our boaters pole and passes it up to me. I wrap it around the bollard and pass it back to him so he can now hold the bow steady. And we do the same with the stern rope. It’s a bit of a palaver but it works. What’s disconcerting is having planned this all out, we shared the first lock with an experienced boater didn’t hold his boat with any ropes at all. I wonder how long it will be before we are confident of our capabilities to disregard the guide book. And our nervousness wasn’t helped any when we called into the chandlery to buy a longer rope, and the salesman couldn’t understand why the lockies were telling us to do it that way. Ho hum. We’ll opt for safe and secure for now.
We shared all 4 of the locks on this section with the same experienced boater and he was actually very complementary of Eric’s boat handling skills, and by the end of this trip we did feel a lot less intimidated.
The cruise was pretty and easy, quite a few fibreglass cruisers that seem to travel faster than a formula 1 racing car, some sailing boats that go round in circles as the wind dictates, lots of canoes, that know to avoid 20 tons of oncoming steel and relatively few narrowboats.
We said goodbye to our travelling companions at Pershore and as there was a dragon boat race in progress mooring was limited but we were invited to double breast against NB Eli. A kind gesture as we were unsure of the protocol of asking to double up.
Pershore is another lovely little town centred around one main high street and its Norman Abbey. We didn’t get to go inside but enjoyed walking around the grounds, this lovely carving in an old tree represents the gift of learning.