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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.

Living in Pershore

Wednesday morning dawned clear and bright, pretty much the same as every morning has done for the last few weeks. We had reckoned on a three hour trip to reach Pershore so just got up and set off at half past seven. There haven’t been that many boats on the move on the river this week, probably still too early for holiday makers, so it was no surprise that we only saw three boats on the move all morning. The locks on the lower Avon, from Evesham to Tewkesbury, are all a bit on the short side despite the fact that the river is described as being able to accommodate boats up to 70′ in length. At 68′ long, Caxton should have had no problem but we have had to take our time as we have worked down the locks. Sitting diagonally in the lock, avoiding the cill (only just) and then after opening one gate, using the bow thruster to move sideward around the closed gate.

Anyway, we reached Pershore and found that there was plenty of space on the recreation ground moorings. An hour later and three boats arrived, filling the remaining space in front of us.

Mooring at Pershore

The park view.

The river view.

Pershore is a lovely little Georgian Market town and the moorings there are excellent. We had a good wander around the place and admired the many beautiful buildings there, including the Abbey.

Pershore Abbey.

Inside Pershore Abbey.

Carved tree in Abbey gardens.

The village of Wyre Piddle is only a half hour walk away from Pershore so we took the time to visit it and had lunch at the Anchor Old Spot. There’s not much to the village but you can’t miss the opportunity to visit somewhere with a name like “Wyre Piddle”!

The Anchor Old Spot, Wyre Piddle.

Rose adorned cottage.

The moorings in Pershore are flood proof and provide all amenities, the information board makes no mention of time restrictions so we stayed for a week. We didn’t do much more than just ‘live’ in the town, although we did catch the train to Great Malvern one day, just for a look around. Great Malvern was built as a spa town and it still has that feel about it.

The Abbey.

The view from the top of the town.

The railway station is a beauty and still has many of the features that it would have had back in the days of the Great Western Railway.

Porter’s barrow.

Platform weighbridge.

Station tea room.

A week after we had arrived in Pershore, we decided that it was time to move on. Wednesday morning was almost a carbon copy of the previous one with blue skies and bright sunshine at half past seven so we untied and headed for the nearby lock, thus starting the next leg of our journey.

On to Evesham

We awoke at 7 o’clock after a quiet night on our mooring near Pershore. As we prepared to move off, one of the narrowboats behind us also got underway and we followed them into Pershore lock. The morning was everything that you could expect from a mid August day, blue skies and a light breeze. In all we shared three locks with this boat, built by Barry Hawkins at Baddesley basin, Atherstone. They are heading back there from their base near Gloucester so perhaps we will see them again soon. We didn’t share the fourth lock of the day as they had caught up with another vessel and went through with them. 

We started looking for a mooring as soon as we reached Evesham and were soon tied up opposite Abbey park. As usual, we sorted ourselves out before walking into to town where we had a light lunch and a bit of an explore. 

We stopped off at the Royal Oak where Sue treated us to to a specialist gin concoction each, very refreshing!

We returned to Caxton and sat on the front deck, enjoying the early evening sunshine and watching the local rowing club zipping up and down the river. There is a bit of rain forecast for the next couple of days so we are unsure about how we will finish our journey on the Avon.

As an aside, I was reminded today of my first narrowboat experience, a family holiday in 1981 (I think). The hire base was in Evesham but when we arrived were told that since the river was in flood we would be unable to leave the boatyard that day. I seem to remember visiting the Railway Hotel for a few pints with my dad (although as usual it would have only been reported back to the mother superior as two pints!)

 I don’t remember too much about the rest of that holiday other than being moored up in Stratford a few days later but maybe I’ll get some flashbacks as we journey along the Upper Avon. In any case, it’s safe to say that the 1981 holiday probably sowed the seed that brings us back here today.