Wednesday 17 May 2017

In, out, shake it all about

We had to leave this divine mooring today, we had to be in Tewkesbury tonight.  I didn't really mind as the weather was awful, cloudy, drizzling and cold.  This was a highlight of the trip, there weren't many.

Eckington Bridge

What another stunner.

We carried on, wearing full rain kit.  Two locks to do.  The first was Nafford Lock.  I never want to go there again.

So we arrived, the river makes a sharp right hand turn for the lock (In river terms), then this sight faces you.....

Holy Moly.

Now had I not have seen this already online, I might have started to cry, this poor boat has been here I think over a year, due to its rural location, its been unable to be retrieved as a crane cannot reach here.

Raining now, David brought WaL around to go a sharp left turn into the lock,  "David there's a bridge"  I shout,  I have to shout, he's a bit deaf and has a hood up,
"Stop panicking woman, let me get the boat in the lock, BLOODY HELL there's a bridge there!!!!"  
So we avoided the wooded footbridge over the lock, through frankly as us boaters have to cross the slippery lock gates when operating the lock I don't see why walkers can't.  It was a real heavy push to open it, but I got it slowly, the lock was already filled and the top gates open, so in he went, diagonally across the lock....  

Oh did I say, it was really raining now, the lock surroundings were slippery, my leather boating gloves were saturated, my hood was up but wet hair was blowing across my glasses and sticking to them, I hung onto the front rope, David clung onto the back rope around a bollard also holding the tiller at right angles to the lock to keep the rudder away from the cill, which was close to the stern.  I wound one paddle up, David yelled instructions to me asking how much further forward he could come, he couldn't hear the answers....  Marvellous.

The answer was no!  You are right on the gate, David inches down, then the gunnel of WaL appeared to be "Hooked up" on a little ledge of brickwork, I shouted at him and ran up to him, he pushed off the side and wumphed onto the water....

STOP!!!! he yelled full of feeling...  I bolted to the top gate and wound up a paddle to let the water in as the rubber was on the cill.

Holy cow.  I hate this stuff.

So paddle on the bottom gate let down and I refilled the lock.....  now what?

"Don't worry, I know what to do"  Now my only suggestion was to go home, David did have an idea,  I wasn't sure how he was going to make this lock bigger.....

He reversed out of the lock, around the two sharp corners, did I say it was windy now too, he did take two attempts, I was on the lock side unable to help except that I could indicate how close to the lock landing he was when turning by opening my arms wide and closing them again.

Finally in he came backwards, no bumps, scrapes or tinks and me pretty scared all over,   I climbed over the wet gates to shut the top gates again.  

So here we are again, me on the bow rope, WaL backwards in the decending lock, David hanging onto the stern rope, still with the tiller at right angles
"I've seen this done" he calls to me, as I quiver on the rope,
"Just the once"
So oh so slowly one paddle went up, 
"How far over the cill is it?"  He calls to me at the bow
"Two foot" I called back
"That's okay"  he said, I considered it far from ok.

Reader as I write this I have a stiff gin next to me as I relive it all.

So with the windlass ready on the paddle to let water quickly in as necessary.....  but no need as it worked.  

I needed the loo with relief.  I opened the gates and he wiggled WaL to allow the gates to open behind him.  I shut the very slippery footbridge which wasn't easy, I laid down on the ground to pass David my windlass, then carefully carefully climbed down the wet ladder onto WaL's roof and David caught me and got me onto the back of WaL's deck.

Now all that was left was to reverse out of the lock, in the wind, and wind (Turn) WaL in the shadow of the weir....

What a bloody star David was that day, I have never been so pleased and proud of him.  I have to say it was only me quaking, he was always confident.

It was too wet for my phone, so I used his phone for these snaps.  My camera is forgotten and hiding in the car in a different county!!

Very slippery wooden footbridge open and WaL in the lock the first time.

Gates shut.... see the cill marker?  Did you hear my heart hit the floor?

Reversing out of the lock and lock entrance, that sunken NB is just the other side of that bush alongside him.

Finally out and turning in the wind.

Down the second time, footbridge in place, me about to go around and descend the ladder

Darling, still smiling.

So me now onboard and David deciding how to best spin WaL around

Out, the lock landing was closer than it looks here.

Yep pretty glad to see the back of Nafford Lock.

The rest of the run down to Tewkesbury was very dull, flat land, the odd duck, some motor boats moored and more rain.
But on arriving, we were the only boat and moored on the nice metal floating pontoons at £3 a night.  

We were meeting our son-in-law's father and partner for dinner at the WONDERFUL restaurant HERE,   

I had fois gras, lamb shank and creme brulee.   
Certainly the best meal out we've had in a while, can't rate it highly enough fellow boaters for an absolute treat after Nafford Lock traumas.


  1. How long is Wal? we are thinking of the Avon later this year .... what a horrendous lock.

    1. WaL is 70 ft. The boat mentioned in the comment below is also 70ft. Fear not, anything shorter will be fine.

  2. We had problems going UP the locks, only room for us to go diagonal. Another problem was with the river being low when we opened the paddles steadily the water shot up over the boat flooding the well deck, well it would I'd we didn't have the catch cover closed. The secret is to open one paddle (opposite the boat) very quickly, then the water spurts out horizontally and you keep dry
    Pass it on and have a safe trip
    Steve & Denise

    1. Hello Both,
      That reminds me of being on the K&A three years ago when the river was pretty high after much rain. Those locks gave me nightmares.
      The river Avon is low at the moment for sure, maybe that has caused it, but even so the cills never become visible.... Now we know.
      Fondest felicitations
      The Wallies xx

  3. Oh, Lisa, we can visualise your anguish only too well, having come through Nafford Lock later that day...!
    Hope your onward trip was not too rough - we felt pretty battered by the wind as we were heading down to Gloucester. However, it was only as we moored that the downpour hit!
    Best wishes,
    Sue /Boatwif/nb Cleddau

    1. We thought of you having the wind and rain into your face the whole way down. We had the wind behind us. Deadly Dull, but it was fun going fast.
      Enjoy Gloucester and all,

  4. Cor, you just had to trump my Wyre spin with your reversing Nafford taradiddle, didn't you? The boy did well!

    1. Well yes I think we did trump you however I'll pass on any further competition.

  5. Did you leave that bottom gate open then Lisa, if so shame on you! Only joking you both did so well to solve the problems safely. xx

    1. Haha Carol,
      Nope actually David moved over, I opened the gate then he pulled back again next to the closed gate to pick me up. So glad to have cissy buttons that day.
      Big kiss to George,
      Lisa xx