Thursday, 31 May 2012

RW Davis Boatbuilders.

IMG_1009 Lucia

While we were moored at Saul Junction there was much activity over in Davis’s boatyard. We had caught a glimpse of this lovely old wooden boat lurking behind another and now it was being moved to enter the dry dock. First they tried to pull it in backwards but it seems that it was too low in the water.

IMG_1016So with the aid of ropes and the overhead crane they manoeuvred it around to try it bow first. It still wouldn’t go in and some of the heavy interior fitments and ballast were removed by crane and by hand onto the quayside.

IMG_1019    IMG_1015

Although this is reminiscent of that Titanic moment, he was just attaching the chains from the crane to lift it a bit to coax it forwards. Anyway it wouldn’t budge, so after much head scratching, postulating and discussion they all went home as it was getting late.

IMG_1020 Lucia     IMG_1023

The next day a Smiths grabber arrived and took some more of the boats innards out and it began to rise out of the water revealing it’s rudder.

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Between them the crane and the grabber stripped her insides out and she floated into the dock easily then. I learnt a little about this shapely old fishing boat by asking a few questions. Her name was ‘Lucia’ and she had been submerged near Gloucester and had been brought down to be scrapped. So by this evening her demise will probably be complete, a sad ending to such a beautifully crafted wooden ship.

IMG_1032 RW Davis first Butty took 8mnths All the other boats were pulled around by ropes and re-moored which gave me the opportunity to photograph ‘Susan’ the first butty to be built by them taking eight months to complete. Would you like one like this Ruth? We were contemplating having our bottom blacked here, but they are far too busy this year!

IMG_1022I think this one maybe called ‘Joseph’ which came out of the dry dock, who would like a boat like this then?

IMG_1026Both of the Willow Trust boats are kept busy cruising from 11am-3pm most days. You can judge how big they are as that is Oakfield moored on the right of this picture. Well we have been kept well amused with some of the boat movements during our brief stay down here.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Gloucester to Saul.

IMG_0979     IMG_0985 Bruin

Monday I caught the bus over to my home town to visit my Sister and her Husband who were looking after their little Grandson. As it was another hot day he was playing in his paddling pool. After coffee and catching up on their news I visited my Aunt for lunch returning mid- afternoon. There were lovely views over the hills and down the valleys from the top deck at the front of the bus. With all the walking and an hours bus journey each way, it took me seven hours for the round trip. I was definitely ready to put my feet up with a cuppa and cool off!

We set off early on Tuesday, leaving fellow bloggers on nb Balmaha behind, to fill our water-tank back at Llanthony Bridge. While we were waiting we watched the pigeons having a ride on the bridge as it was raised and lowered. A lovely sailing ship ‘Brixham’ was moored opposite, then on our way down we met ‘Bruin’ who was doing his best to keep the channel clear!

It’s a shame you didn’t bring your boat down Paul. You could have opened up your new engine to 8 mph going with the flow down the Severn! The limit on the G+S is 6mph, so you could fly along, compared to doodling about at 4 mph on the narrow canals. The fishing is good too I hear, the chaps opposite our boat tipped about 10 fish out of their keep nets at the end of their session!

IMG_0987 winding Hempstead BridgeThe keeper at Hempsted had to do a lot of winding to swing his bridge for us to pass by.

IMG_0995 Tjalc EbanhaezerWe had a pleasant journey down waving our thanks to all the Bridge-keepers as we went. On approaching the ACP Fuel Wharf to fill up with diesel we admired this lovely old Tjalk . Then I saw Anna and she helped to pull us in to moor up. She and her husband Alan had acquired this boat for their new home and after we had filled the tank she offered to show us around inside.  It is 104 years old, 70’ long and 14’ wide. We stepped into the wheelhouse/conservatory where Jasper their dog was reclining on his cushion sunbathing. The original thin wooden steering wheel with iron spokes has been retained, the wheel is about 4’ in diameter. There is a bedroom below aft, then we descended some steps down into the large well equipped kitchen with dining table and chairs. Next was the spacious lounge with big wood-burner, bathroom, double bedroom and door into the store under the fore-deck. It was so big, bright and airy and definitely had the wow factor!

IMG_0997 Tramp IMG_1003

The chap on the left looked like he was a ‘continuous camper’ and why do fishermen fish next to the sign telling them not to? Come in number 4, your time was up before you started!

IMG_1001 LifeboatsThere are always variety of interesting boats being worked on in and around the RW Davis Boatyard, including  these two old lifeboats.

IMG_1005 Joseph,Susan FerrousFerrous with Butty Susan are both RW Davis boats and the large boat in the dry-dock beyond is Joseph which is for sale. Anyway we found a pleasant spot just below the junction to moor. In the evening sun we watched a flotilla of canoes and kayaks being launched and were told they were en-route to the Fromebridge Mill for drinks. Of course they would have to carry their boats past Walk Bridge which has yet to be higherred for craft to negotiate. Saul Junction is one of our favourite spots with plenty going on. There are the two huge boats for the Willow Trust passengers to enjoy a cruise on. Boats are also in and out of the new-ish marina ,Wicliffe School have their rowing club house here and many others come launch small boats too.

IMG_1006 I think we may well have a more peaceful night here away from the buzz of industry, traffic, and those infernal seagulls screeching non-stop.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Olympic Torch.

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The city centre was closed from 8-9am Thursday for the Olympic Torch to pass through Gloucester. I toddled off down to Westgate Bridge to see the finale.


As the lady torchbearer was walking with a stick she couldn’t wave to all who were cheering her on. She was being filmed from the back of the bus which she was following. The Police and Army were manning all the road junctions so that the procession and spectators could safely pass through. Wandering back up Westgate Street I noticed balloons outside Celly’s Hairdressers who were advertising everything £9. So I went in and was able to get my hair cut straight away at their new shop opening offer which was half price at only £4.50, fantastic value!

Friday our Daughter and Grandson came to pick us up to go and visit ‘Pop and Nanna’. Two and a half hours later we arrived with our little grandson full of beans after a sleep in the car.

IMG_0950He ran up the path carrying his very own ‘Olympic Torch’ that he had made at nursery from a cardboard tube, covered in tin foil with tissue paper flames trailing from the top, a fantastic effort!  We spent a very enjoyable time together, going out to lunch, doing a bit of gardening and playing games. Surprisingly nearly ninety years separate Pop from his Great-grandson!

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When it was time for us to leave everyone wanted their moment of glory with the ‘Olympic Torch’.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Gloucester Docks.

IMG_0835 North Warehouse Turning left we moored to the pontoon alongside the North Warehouse where we could see the Alexandra Warehouse over in the opposite corner.

IMG_0848Although this was a lovely vantage point for watching the boats go past, unfortunately we got a spattering of Seagull’s messages left all along our roof!

IMG_0836 herbert Kimberley Phillpotts Warehouses

Herbert Warehouse is GCC HQ, Kimberley and Philpott's Warehouses are both residential with the popular Fosters Bar on the ground floor. We spotted the fuel boat Bletchley moored nearby and thought we would buy some coal from him the next day, but he had entered the lock by the time we got up.

IMG_0849 Phillpotts Warehouse     IMG_0865 Policeman on Cross

On Thursday we wandered up into the city via the Antiques Centre and spotted one of an endangered species near The Cross. Friday we caught the bus and spent a happy day at our daughters playing with our grandson and helping with a bit of gardening. On arrival back at Oakfield our 48hrs were up so we moved down under the bascule lift-bridge to Llanthony Quay pontoons where we filled with water and had a good self service pump-out. (10 minutes!)

IMG_0891 Llanthony QuayWe then moved past the permanent moorings to moor by the Lightship Sula which is a Holistic and Buddhist Centre with a small shop on board.

IMG_0909 The pillar fronted building was Downing’s Malthouses which still awaits restoration. Meanwhile the seagulls use them as nesting sites as they resemble their natural  cliff-top breading grounds. Nearby in the grounds of Llanthony Priory we could hear the performances of Gifford's Circus being enjoyed in the not-so-big top. IMG_0903 TS Jack Petchey Sunday we moved on down to Monk Meadow Quay onto the very handy 14 day moorings by Sainsbury’s Superstore. Just after we arrived the High Orchard Bridge was lifted to allow the TS Jack Petchley to pass underneath heading south. Monday we were taken out for the day to Cheltenham and were also treated to lunch at Ben and Jerry’s, luvley jubbly! The afternoon turned out to be quite hot so once back on board I quickly did a load of washing and hung it in the cratch to dry in the sun.


Tuesday and Wednesday mornings were spent cleaning the roof of the boat yet again, then perusing the shops and having coffee at our favourite venues! Midday the temperature had risen to nearly tropical, we rested and read books and forums. Good news when Bottle went to Specsavers for his eye test, he doesn’t need new glasses, so a great saving there!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Dock Panorama.

IMG_0838 site of West Quay Warehouses The fuel boat Bletchley moored on the West Quay where a row of nine warehouses once stood dating from the early 1830’s. Various merchants used them as storage, mainly for corn and they were demolished in the 1960’s. Now a block of apartments occupies the whole site with little balcony's overlooking the main basin.

IMG_0870 Phillpotts,Kimberley Herbert Warehouses Phillpott’s + Kimberley Warehouses, and the Herbert Warehouse, which is in the occupation of the Gloucester City Council.

IMG_887 North Warehouse CathedralThis crane faces the old steam crane standing in front of the North Warehouse opposite.

IMG_0882 Neilsons Drydock

There is always something of interest being done in Neilson’s Boat builders Dry-dock.

IMG_0879 Alexandra Warehouse ships     IMG_0884

With other boats being worked on at the quayside there. The one on the right looked like a new build in progress with beautiful shapely woodwork all around the deck.


A few more sail boats moored up .

IMG_0878 Alexandra Warehouse Jack Petchey TS

The training ship Jack Petchley was moored here for the weekend while the cadets practiced their rowing and lifesaving skills.

IMG_0888 Llanthony Warehouse

Looking down the Barge Arm where Llanthony Warehouse on the right is the home of The Waterways Museum.

IMG_0889 Llanthony Bascule Lift Bridge

From the left, more of the museum, Coot’s Cafe and Llanthony Bridge.

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This tall rusty pointy sculpture has been installed beside the private moorings in Victoria Dock. More sculpture looms over the steps leading up into the city. Most of the dock area and the city centre has now been nicely re-designed with pedestrians in mind and seems to be working quite successfully.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Worcester to Gloucester.

IMG_0787 Swan Worcs

We had to wait until the excess rainwater had passed down the River Severn so lingered around for longer than usual. This swan had made her nest in a nice secluded sunny spot under a tree below the lock.

IMG_0768 swan eggs These three swan eggs were in an exposed spot by the towpath by the water-point in Diglis basin. We think that they may have been an inexperienced pair of swans with their very first brood. They weren’t continually taking turns to keep sit over them to keep them warm, so they probably won’t hatch.

IMG_0788 Diglis BasinHere we are early on a beautiful sunny Wednesday morning waiting for the top lock to fill below Diglis basin.

IMG_0789 Severn WorcsOnce out of the bottom lock Bottle pulled over to the pontoon for me to jump back on board, then we went with the flow on our way to Gloucester.

IMG_0775 Worcs King's Michael Baker Boathouse This building overlooking the river is built just like a boat with long thin strips of wood, the lettering on the side reads Kings Worcester, Michael Baker Boathouse. We passed through Diglis Lock without even seeing the lock keeper, except for a wave and a thumbs up as we left!IMG_0796

We met a few boats on their way up, otherwise  there was only us gliding swiftly over the smooth surface of the  water under a blue sky with white fluffy clouds.

IMG_0817A Cormorant was drying his wings after doing a spot of fishing.

IMG_0811 Upton on Severn flood defenceUpton on Severn flood defences were in the process of being built up.

IMG_0800     IMG_0833 lower Lode lock Dog

The friendly lock keeper and his companion were keeping an eye on us while we went down in the Lower Lode River lock.

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There are still some working boats here on the Severn. The three on the left lie empty at the wharf having discharged their loads. The other one is low in the water as it is almost full with aggregate ready to transport up to there.

IMG_0826Passing under Mythe Bridge with the pumping station in the background. The entrance up onto the Avon through the lock at Tewksbury is a little further on the left.IMG_0834 in Glos LockWe phoned the lock-keeper when we got to the Upper Parting and again when we got a bit nearer. He kindly had the lock-gates open for us to go straight in when we arrived. Our view as we rose in the lock, ready to moor in the docks after an uneventful journey. It had been a long day as we left our mooring at 7.15am, got down onto the Severn at 9.30 and 30 miles later we were mooring up on a pontoon in the docks at around 4pm, phew!