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Pershore to Eckington Wharf

As I wrote in the previous post, we left Pershore early and under blue skies. After we made the short hop to Pershore lock, it became apparent that it was quite windy but this made it easy to get Caxton on to the lock landing while we turned the lock. It’s a deep lock but being a bit longer than the previous locks on the lower Avon, our passage through was easy enough. We passed under the two bridges and then followed the winding course of the river to the west of Pershore. Clouds gradually filled the sky and the wind increased in strength but it was still warm so we were happy enough. As usual with rivers, there are very few landmarks but by following the map, we had a pretty good idea of where we were at any given time. When we reached Nafford lock, we could see that the narrowboat was still where it sank in the floods five or six years ago. As we approached the lock landing, we saw that there was already a boat in the lock, they were waiting for us to join them and a few moments later we were in beside them. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room for us and we realised that we would have to back out again so that we could take a diagonal position on our own in the lock. In point of fact, the bow fender was touching the bottom gate and the rudder was about 12″ over the cill marker.

Red arrow shows the sunken boat, the green arrows show the tricky lock landings.

Sue had stepped off and then helped the other crew work their boat down through the lock. The lock landings are awkwardly shaped and sized so I tried to hover but of course the wind, which had abated, decided to start gusting again. The boat ahead cleared the lock and Sue and her locking partner closed the bottom gates, then they opened them again because a boat had appeared below. Now I really did need to secure the boat otherwise I would be impeding their exit. As I fought the wind and tried to manoeuvre Caxton to a convenient place, there was a feeling of familiarity about the scene. I then remembered a conversation that I had had with David & Lisa (NB What a Lark!) last year about this self same lock – read Lisa’s account here. “What a Lark” is two feet longer than Caxton so I knew that we would be able to turn below the lock if we did what they had done.

While the other boat ascended, I reversed back into the channel and turned around, bringing the stern on to the short lock landing. Once the other boat had departed, it was quite easy to swing around and reverse into the empty lock. Sue kept checking that the bow wasn’t going to get caught on the cill, which it didn’t and then we were able to leave. It was difficult to turn below the lock because the strength of the wind was able to overcome the flow of the river over the weir!

Once we were pointing in the right direction, I opened the throttle and we got underway again. Twenty minutes later we could see that the moorings at Eckington wharf were completely free and five minutes after that, we were tied to the bank.

After lunch we went for a walk along the riverbank to Strensham lock and then into Eckington village before returning to our mooring. After the three mile trek, we spent the rest of the afternoon just relaxing on board.

Thanks again to Lisa and David for pointing us in the right (or should that be the wrong?) direction with today’s problem.