Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Blowing up the Avon (not literally)

We left Tewkesbury late on Sunday as we waited for the howling gale to abate. Eventually it toned down to a gale, at which point we put up a sail and moved up river to the Eckington Bridge. A very pretty medieval bridge.  We moored up just as it started raining, but at least the wind had died down a bit. Or we were in the lee of the Bredon Hill.

Our mooring at Eckington Bridge

Eckington Bridge in the morning light

Eckington Bridge close up
The wind has not really been kind to us this week.  If it is not the snow, cold, rain then it must be wind.  I am beginning to wonder if the only summer we will ever see in the UK this year were those few reasonable days before the snow set in once more when we were on the Shroppie in mid March.

The River Avon is far more interesting than the Severn. On the Severn, as it is such a large river, we found ourselves boating at the bottom of some very steep river banks. As a result all we could see were some very messy river banks, with lots of rubbish caught up in trees from all the flooding.  The Avon river banks are much lower, giving us lovely views over the meadows and as we have approached Evesham, the fruit orchards. And always on the horizon seems to be Bredon Hill.  Although I think that we have finally lost it here at Evesham.

The wind has been a real nuisance and with very few mooring spots along the river, all of which are only overnight moorings, we have had to move on. At least at this point the wind is not freezing but relatively warm.  It is such a pity that what could be a really lovely waterway is spoilt by a lack of boating facilities for visitors.  There are numerous marinas, but these are not available for overnight moorings.  I guess it comes down to money.  The Avon Navigation Trust probably does not have the money to add new facilities and the river banks are all privately owned.  Not enough visiting boats frequent the river to top up the coffers of the Trust.  A bit of catch-22.  I must say that we have been very surprised to see so few boaters on both the River Severn and the Avon.  In all we have only seen about 3 boats on the Severn and four or five on the Avon.

On the other hand we have seen some new wildlife. Unfortunately not all have been able to be photographed and some a bit blurry but we have seen some Red Legged Partridge, Barnacle Goose, deer, bats, Common Sandpiper and a black swan.

A Barnacle Goose consorting with two Canada Geese


Squirrel at Pershore Abbey

Common Sandpiper

Black Swan


Our first set of ducklings for the year

The other rather lovely bridge which we went under, the Old Bridge at Pershore with the New Bridge right beside it.
New Bridge with Old Bridge behind

Old Bridge with New Bridge behind

The facilities at Pershore were very good and we did a quick tourist trip around the centre of town before setting off again.
Pershore Abbey

Pershore Abbey
The weir and Mill at Fladbury Lock
Wood Norton
According to our canal book, Wood Norton built in 1897 for the Duke of Orleans, was used by the BBC in the Second World War as a radio monitoring centre for all foreign radio stations. It is now a luxury hotel.

We are now moored up in Evesham. Another nice mooring spot, max 48 hours but no water facilities (although the books say they should be here). We will make full use of the 48 hours as the wind forecast is for 35 - 48 kph gusts. Today was bad enough before the wind really got up and going.

We had a look around the town centre here in Evesham too and it seems that every second shop is empty and is to let. Even the Riverside shopping centre is mostly empty.  I guess this is a signs of the times, no-one has spare money to spend.
Abbey Gateway

The Almonry House - now a heritage centre

The Round House - but not really!
 I have waffled on a bit this time but hopefully some of the pictures speak for themselves and I will be much happier when the weather is more to my liking :)  but still having a great time out.

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