Saturday, 23 June 2012


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A walk along the banks of the Severn here reveals the old  concrete working boats that were beached here from the 1930’s. The object of this was to protect the land from being eroded away by the high tides.

IMG_1288As you can see they are doing the job of encouraging the area to grass over nicely.

IMG_1294The friends of the Purton Hulks have installed information plaques for each wreck and keep the winding footpath around the site clear for sightseers. 

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As it as such a fine clear day we could see the opposite bank quite well. British Rail workers were busy maintaining the line that runs alongside the Severn from Gloucester down to Newport.

IMG_1231There are also some steel hulled boats such as the 86 ton Severn Falcon beached here in 1974.

IMG_1235Harriet of Bristol’s shapely old oak frame is weathering beautifully. We just paused here long enough to fill our water tank, have a snack and stroll around before cruising on up to Shepherds Patch. We are near the Slimbridge Wildlife and Wetland Centre here but we see quite enough of the wildlife on the canal, so probably won’t go there. There are several Mandarin Ducks around these here parts. Although the males are very colourful, the females and their chicks are dull in colour but very appealing. Btw there seems to be fewer baby duckling around this year and I’m wondering why? Is the variation in the weather to blame, or are there more predators about?

Our friends Michael and Mary came up from Bristol to join us in the Tudor Arms for a lovely roast lunch on Sunday. Mary and I had children's portions as we had seen the pudding menu and wanted to leave room for some afterwards. They came back to Oakfield for coffee and a guided tour and were impressed with our relaxed way of life afloat. However they were dismayed to learn that we are actually floating on their drinking water. Just north of  Purton 24 million gallons of water a day can be drawn out of this canal, purified then pumped via a 4’ pipeline down to Bristol for use by it’s residents!

Friday, 22 June 2012


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Well we have managed to reach the end of this canal to spend a few of days there in the sun.  We watched with some amusement as the Seagulls hurtled along at speed over the waves on the strong central current of the river. On strolling down to the old dock we saw Balmoral coming alongside to pick up her passengers. The tide was coming in fast, but they managed to get the bow secured, then slowly winched the stern in.

IMG_1262 When everyone had boarded she reversed and sidled out into the turning tide and burbled off speedily. What a lovely day for a cruise to Clevedon and Ilfracombe.IMG_1272

The canal arm leading down to the old disused lock which used to connect with the river, is now a marina. There are various boats mooed either side down from the junction. From our mooring we watched a Kingfisher and a Grebe catching fish. The Grebe caught one that was nearly too big for him to swallow, but he managed to force it down eventually. I bet he had indigestion after that!

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This is all that remains of the swing bridge that crossed the canal and then took the railway line over the River Severn into Wales. I wonder if that lovely solidly built tower is big enough for residential use? As you can see this was a beautiful day for cruising, like floating on a dream!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Nice boats


IMG_1196 Saul Jnctn

 IMG_1203 Mayflower for sale

I like the shape of this boat, but it doesn’t look suitable for a continuous cruiser live aboard. Little Mayflower is up for sale, just right for one man and his dog, what do you think Dave?

IMG_1206 Severn Belle IMG_1209 Buffallo

Lovely Tug, and like us it seems that others are hoping to cruise up the Thames and Severn Canal one day!

IMG_1211 Cambridge Arm

IMG_1207 Splatt Bridge

A sailing boat with a handy mooring right next to your wooden cabin in a quiet idyllic setting, what could be better?

IMG_1205 ACP Fuel Wharf ZiggyWe still think ours is best though! Here we are filling up at the ACP Wharf on our way down. Whilst waiting entertainment is provided by Ziggy, who likes you to throw her ball or stick to be retrieved. Trouble is she keeps dropping them in the canal!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Whitminster walkabout.

IMG_1177 Saul Junction HouseThe weekend was warm and sunny so we had a snack at the Stables Cafe, then went for a stroll to escape all the crowds of visitors that come here most weekends. This is the house that sits at the junction of the G+S and Stroudwater Canal where the now derelict lock in the foreground was used to enable boats to reach the Severn at Framilode. We took the footpath behind Junction House through the field to Whitminster Church.

IMG_1176 wildflowers     IMG_1178 firewood

Wildflowers nestled in the long grass and their scent rose up on the warm air. This long dead tree was nicely weathered just right for a boats supply of winter firewood, only joking!

IMG_1180 Whitminster ChurchThe path crossed a little bridge over the River Frome and then led us behind Whitminster House into the beautifully kept churchyard.

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Along the main path stood a line of old limestone gravestones adorned with delightfully carved cherubs, looking rather  like a row of wobbly teeth.

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I admired this beautifully patterned sandstone cross, also there was a grave of a man, and his three wives. Unfortunately the church was locked so we took the path out onto the road past the weir, turning right and back down the arm of the Stroudwater Canal. The water was clear enough for us to see a Pike under the water seize another fish for it’s lunch. The arm is used by the Saul Boat Club for permanent moorings for it’s members. We crossed the footbridge over the canal, it is operated electronically by the bridge-keeperIMG_1185 Walnut Tree

I think this is a magnificent old Walnut Tree, it’s size can be compared to Bottle who is the dark midget on the right!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Moving on down.

IMG_1161 Glos 9.6.2012

We returned to Gloucester because we had been invited to a family and friends BBQ get-together. There were eleven of us and we had a wonderful time in the garden. The rain held off until late afternoon we then moved into the lounge to watch the Queens Diamond Jubilee Boat Pageant on the Thames which seemed a long drawn out job with useless commentaries on various things, with the exception of boats.  Obviously they hadn’t researched enough information on all the boats taking part. I remember they said that ‘President’ must be a working boat because it had covers over it! We were rather disappointed by it all and glad that we were in good company enjoying the party indoors. By the time we arrived back on-board Oakfield the rain was quite heavy and the wind was making waves on the canal. Anyway we were rocked to sleep nicely. On Thursday the weather was really stormy with heavy rain, thunder and gusting winds. We were blown about so much and the wind blew through the bedroom portholes sounding just like in the film of ‘Wuthering Heights’. It was so noisy and turbulent that we hardly slept at all that night! Friday we had our Grandson for the day, so we were kept busy playing, reading stories and doing puzzles. We walked to Sainsbury’s Cafe mid-morning for a break as the weather was a bit gloomy. Needless to say we were exhausted by the evening and as the gales had subsided we slept very well that night.

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As our mooring time was up we made our way south again. There are quite a few pairs of Swans with signets on the Sharpness canal, some have only two survivors and some we have seen with six.

IMG_1170 piggyback One proud mum brought her fluff-balls over to see us on piggy-back, but they kept sliding off into the water. There is not much room for five growing youngsters on her back now.

IMG_1164We passed this monster which maybe a live-aboard and seems to be in the process of renovation and re-painting.

IMG_1165 above Saul JunctionThe moorings are a little overgrown here, so I had to get the shears out to trim the grass.  We notice that ‘they’ are trying to limit the mooring times around Saul Junction quite considerably. The 14 days maybe cut by half, and the 48 hrs moorings to just 6 hrs, so no boat will be able to moor overnight here. Of course it has all been done in the worst possible way by not consulting anyone about the changes. Meanwhile there are conflicting permanent and temporary notices, so you can take your pick which one you go by!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Gloucester City.


St Mary de Crypt Church and the old Crypt School building in Southgate Street. 

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The archway leads through to a courtyard with Robert Raikes House which is a newly refurbished pub standing opposite it. Most of the streets leading from The Cross have now been pedestrianized which provides a nice safe area for the street markets.

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This unusual clock stands above a jewellers shop has coloured statues depicting the  Irish, English, Scots and Welsh, with Old Father Time as the central figure. They used to strike the bells with their hammers on the hour, but we haven’t heard them yet.  A little further along the coffee shop has some spectacularly carved woodwork above it. IMG_1036 mariners Chapel                                                                                                                                                                                                                          IMG_1035 There was some nice stained glass in the Mariners Chapel in the Docks.

IMG_1033    IMG_1034 Cariad 1904

A beautiful wooden sailing boat was being lovingly refurbished over by Tommy Nielsons' Boatyard. When I zoomed in to the brass disc on the tiller arm it revealed that it was the Cariad, built by Rowles, Pill in 1904.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Jubilee Display.

IMG_1155Gloucester Dock was mainly taken over by a  gathering of plastic boats to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee. All the boats were heavily decorated with fluttering bunting and flags.

IMG_1154 A couple of them breasted up go to shop at Sainsbury’s and yes that is the mooring rope right across the towpath! This is always a busy place and cyclists had to dismount and walkers had to step over the ropes. How inconsiderate can some boaters be? These boats seem to travel about in twos and delight in going up to the full 6 mph limit on the G+S to make moored boats bob about like corks! Funny how the two much larger trip boats, King Arthur and Boadicea that cruise down from the Waterways Museum,  don’t seem to affect us as they go by!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Stroud on Water 2

IMG_1092IMG_1094 Edith-Elizabeth

There were plenty of barrels of locally brewed beer being enjoyed in the beer tent. We visited the Cotswold Canal Trusts tent and bought a couple of new books that we wanted. On the table a very large windlass had been found and was being displayed for people to guess what it was used for, any ideas? When we crossed the bridge to head off towards Walbridge in Stroud the Edith Elizabeth was taking  people to see the restoration works.

IMG_1096 new houses,old cottage  IMG_1100 Lodgemore Mill

Quite a few new houses have been built along the banks of the canal, but some old cottages and mills remain. We made a detour into Lodgemore Mill and saw this row of lovely old mill buildings.

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Some of the low bridges giving road access into the old mill sites will have to be replaced. The towpath runs along the side of Lodgemore Mill where the green baize for snooker tables and the bright yellow tennis ball coverings were manufactured by Strachan's from sheep's wool. They also made the crimson cloth for the Guards uniforms here. 

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Then we passed out under the stone doorway and the view looking back showed that there is still some clearance work to be done here to reveal the canal.

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We looked down into Walbridge Lower Lock where the River Frome could be seen cascading through. Then on along to the new bridge recently completed on the outskirts of Stroud.

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A nice impression of a Trow graces the side of Stroud Brewery Bridge.

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Then we went into The Lockkeepers' Cafe for some refreshment and a well earned rest. The cafe overlooks the newly restored Upper Walbridge Lock with it’s new paddle-gearing at the ready. I had a Winstone's Ice-cream and Bottle sampled some of the local brew which was very tasty!

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We then caught the No 93 bus which took a more direct route back into Gloucester. Of course we had to walk past Wetherspoon’s in the old Regal Cinema so popped in for some dinner as we were getting hungry with all the walking we had done. The place was packed with people watching the football, but we managed to find a quiet spot in the corner. A lovely ending to a ‘perfick’ day out.