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Dre

Saul Junction via Severn, Avon, GU to Bascote

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Hi everyone, 

 

New to the forum and new to boating! 

 

I'm very excited to be picking up my newly acquired boat from Saul Junction Marina on the Sunday the 23rd of February. 

I'm planning to reach Gloucester on the Sunday. Gloucester to Tewkesbury on Monday as I understand the Severn is shut on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Then 3 days on the Avon to Stratford. 2 days to Lapworth Junction and 2 days to Bascote. Are those timings possible? 

I actually have two weeks in total but I might "pop in" to Birmingham (Selly Oak) for a visit. My concern is mainly the Severn (difficulty, booking locks, etc.) and the Avon (I can't find much information about navigability) 

If anybody would be kind enough to comment on my route and give me any information that I may need would me much appreciated. 

Thanks 

Dre

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5 minutes ago, Dre said:

Hi everyone, 

 

New to the forum and new to boating! 

 

I'm very excited to be picking up my newly acquired boat from Saul Junction Marina on the Sunday the 23rd of February. 

I'm planning to reach Gloucester on the Sunday. Gloucester to Tewkesbury on Monday as I understand the Severn is shut on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Then 3 days on the Avon to Stratford. 2 days to Lapworth Junction and 2 days to Bascote. Are those timings possible? 

I actually have two weeks in total but I might "pop in" to Birmingham (Selly Oak) for a visit. My concern is mainly the Severn (difficulty, booking locks, etc.) and the Avon (I can't find much information about navigability) 

If anybody would be kind enough to comment on my route and give me any information that I may need would me much appreciated. 

Thanks 

Dre

In normal conditions that would be straightforward.

 

However conditions aren’t normal currently. The Severn is well above it’s maximum normal level and rising, and that’s before storm Dennis arrives this weekend.

 

I think it’s possible you won’t be going any further than Gloucester for a while. Even if you are allowed to leave Gloucester are you confident in your boat and your own capabilities in what is likely to be abnormal conditions?

 

JP

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Your primary concern should be the amount of rainfall we have had and are due which will make your journey this early in the year nigh on impossible.

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One thing to learn to accept is that there can be no timetable when boating.

If you need to be somewhere on a certain date, either take the train or leave 6 months 'Just in Case' time for the trip.

 

You would think that there should not be a problem in September, but, a few years ago I was stuck for 3-weeks due to floods / high water levels. Fortunate to be on a bus route to be able to go and get supplies.

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The Severn is often closed in winter (it is at present) because of high water levels, though it is usually only for a few days before levels drop to a safe level.  Just pray for a dry spell.  Also a couple of days a month the spring tides overtop the weir at Gloucester and for a few hours after those tides the river north of Gloucester is not safe to use.  Gloucester lock will tell you if there are any tides on the day you intend to travel.  I think that in winter you need to book the river locks as they are not always manned.  Book via Gloucester lock.

 

Gloucester lock is very helpful (01452 310832), give them a call.

 

The Avon is not CRT waters, so you will need a one week License costing from memory £50.

 

I don’t know if your proposed route is free of closures for winter maintenance.

 

i.

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Thanks for the replies. I've been monitoring the water levels on the Severn. It was Green before the storm and I'm hoping it will go down again after Dennis but I'm not holding my breath. I have some experience on canals but not rivers and I wouldn't attempt unless it was on Green again. There will be two of us on board if it makes any difference! 

Hopefully I will be able to leave Gloucester within the two weeks I have. If not what is it like to moor on the Sharpness/Glaucester canal? 

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5 minutes ago, Dre said:

Thanks for the replies. I've been monitoring the water levels on the Severn. It was Green before the storm and I'm hoping it will go down again after Dennis but I'm not holding my breath. I have some experience on canals but not rivers and I wouldn't attempt unless it was on Green again. There will be two of us on board if it makes any difference! 

Hopefully I will be able to leave Gloucester within the two weeks I have. If not what is it like to moor on the Sharpness/Glaucester canal? 

You can moor just about anywhere on the canal.  If your boat is under 60ft you can turn anywhere as it is a wide canal.

 

added - River Avon, see -  avonnavigationtrust.org

 

There is a Sainsbury’s just before Gloucester docks on the left heading north with 2hr moorings.  
 

Edited by Chewbacka

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Just now, Chewbacka said:

You can moor just about anywhere on the canal.  If your boat is under 60ft you can turn anywhere as it is a wide canal.

Thanks for that Chewbacka. Boat is 60ft so I guess I'll be practising my wind skills up and down the canal! I understand it gets quite blustery there? 

Any info on the Avon's water levels? All I know is that the locks can be quite "angry" and to watch out for the weirs but there doesn't seem to be much info on levels

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2 minutes ago, Dre said:

Thanks for that Chewbacka. Boat is 60ft so I guess I'll be practising my wind skills up and down the canal! I understand it gets quite blustery there? 

There is always some wind blowing from Sharpness towards Gloucester which makes heading South into the wind very cold,  dress warm.

 

The bridges are all CRT operated, and also closed on Tuesday & Wednesday in winter.

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There was a lot of damage and debris to be  cleared on the Avon less than a month ago, I am not sure the full length of the river is open yet.

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11 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

One thing to learn to accept is that there can be no timetable when boating.

If you need to be somewhere on a certain date, either take the train or leave 6 months 'Just in Case' time for the trip.

 

You would think that there should not be a problem in September, but, a few years ago I was stuck for 3-weeks due to floods / high water levels. Fortunate to be on a bus route to be able to go and get supplies.

That's one thing I gathered early on in my "research". Downsizing and slowing down is what I'm looking forward to, actually. I'm really looking forward to this voyage so any excuse to make it longer 😁

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Just now, Dre said:

That's one thing I gathered early on in my "research". Downsizing and slowing down is what I'm looking forward to, actually. I'm really looking forward to this voyage so any excuse to make it longer 😁

Good luck & enjoy.

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Just now, matty40s said:

There was a lot of damage and debris to be  cleared on the Avon less than a month ago, I am not sure the full length of the river is open yet.

 

All I found is the info on the Avon Navigation Trust and there seem to be no stoppages in their warnings 

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Welcome to the forum and the slow world of boating.

If you've got a shovel and plenty of time you could always help the Cotswold Canal people restore the route the other way from Saul Junction, so you have an alternative way to get to Bascote. Of course, once it is finished it ends up at the Thames and that might be in flood too!

Jen

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3 minutes ago, Dre said:

Any info on the Avon's water levels? All I know is that the locks can be quite "angry" and to watch out for the weirs but there doesn't seem to be much info on levels

That's because the Avon goes up and down like a yoyo, so you need to look in realtime at the water levels 

 

https://www.avonnavigationtrust.org/index.php?id=15

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Welcome to the forum and the slow world of boating.

If you've got a shovel and plenty of time you could always help the Cotswold Canal people restore the route the other way from Saul Junction, so you have an alternative way to get to Bascote. Of course, once it is finished it ends up at the Thames and that might be in flood too!

Jen

Hahaha, I'll leave the Thames for a while I think! 

I'll make my way down if the Severn is no go for a while. Where about do I find you and on what days? 

5 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

That's because the Avon goes up and down like a yoyo, so you need to look in realtime at the water levels 

 

https://www.avonnavigationtrust.org/index.php?id=15

 

 

Ah yes! I did come across those webcam but apart from the pretty picture I can't see if it's go or no go

 

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3 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

That's because the Avon goes up and down like a yoyo, so you need to look in realtime at the water levels 

 

https://www.avonnavigationtrust.org/index.php?id=15

 

 

 

In comparison, the Severn takes water from a huge part of Wales, so is slow to rise and slow to fall. In prolonged wet conditions, like now, it can take an extraordinary amount of water. The catchment for the Avon is much smaller, hence the fast rise and fall.

 

2 minutes ago, Dre said:

Hahaha, I'll leave the Thames for a while I think! 

I'll make my way down if the Severn is no go for a while. Where about do I find you and on what days? 

I'm not part of the Cotswold canal society and not in that part of the country, but I believe their restoration around Stroud is well worth taking a look at if you are free.

Jen

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17 minutes ago, Chewbacka said:

There is always some wind blowing from Sharpness towards Gloucester which makes heading South into the wind very cold,  dress warm.

 

The bridges are all CRT operated, and also closed on Tuesday & Wednesday in winter.

Are these the swing bridges on the canal? 

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2 minutes ago, Dre said:

Are these the swing bridges on the canal? 

Yes they are.

Re the Severn, currently up here at the source it is still high and more heavy rain is forecast for this weekend so it is not likely to go down very quickly. I suspect you might be at Gloucester for a while.

 

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1 minute ago, Dre said:

Are these the swing bridges on the canal? 

Yes. Though you can in a normal narrowboat pass under Netheridge, Sims & Rea bridge when they are not manned - traffic lights turned off.

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Summary of trip

This is a trip of 92 miles, 4¾ furlongs and 83 locks from Saul Junction to Bascote Bottom Lock No 17.

This will take 48 hours and 45 minutes which is 6 days, 6 hours and 45 minutes at 7 hours per day.

 

Details of the route are given at

https://canalplan.uk/journey/12866_cp

 

Stoppage info for CRT waterways can be found at https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/notices#form

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dre said:

Thanks for the replies. I've been monitoring the water levels on the Severn. It was Green before the storm and I'm hoping it will go down again after Dennis but I'm not holding my breath. I have some experience on canals but not rivers and I wouldn't attempt unless it was on Green again. There will be two of us on board if it makes any difference! 

Hopefully I will be able to leave Gloucester within the two weeks I have. If not what is it like to moor on the Sharpness/Glaucester canal? 

By what criterion was it “green”? The information you can get online isn’t necessarily related to navigation conditions. I haven’t seen the Severn in a condition in which I’d go on it for a while and for me there’s a gap between when it’s open and when I’d personally choose to cruise on it.

 

Buying a boat at Saul I guess there’s a fair chance it’s been tested on the Severn but do you know it’s history on the river? Pushing upstream in high levels will be hot work for your engine. You need to be sure the cooling system can cope having allowed for the extra time you will need.

 

All that said it’s a pretty benign river in normal conditions despite its size.

 

JP

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Not sure I would fancy taking an unknown boat upstream on the Severn in the current conditions, it is going to be hard going even when the river is open.  The Severn is currently closed of course.

 

I would also think that The Avon will be challenging, in fact more so than the Severn.  On the Severn it is just the push against a fast flowing river that you will need to deal with, on the Avon you have a lot of locks to do with fast flowing and unprotected weirs.

 

If you are thinking about a diversion to Birmingham anyway, have you thought about going up the Severn to Worcester and then the Worcester and Birmingham canal into Birmingham.  You would then go the North Stratford to join the GU.

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Something to be aware of is the flow when the levels are high is a few mph, so if you normally cruise at 4mph then going up river you will have a very low over ground speed, which makes for long journey times.  You will therefore have to run at high rpm, so you need to check the boat can run at high powers without overheating, and if the boat has been stood a long time the fuel may be a bit dirty, so check for diesel bug, and maybe service the engine including fuel filter.

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Just now, john6767 said:

Not sure I would fancy taking an unknown boat upstream on the Severn in the current conditions, it is going to be hard going even when the river is open.  The Severn is currently closed of course.

 

I would also think that The Avon will be challenging, in fact more so than the Severn.  On the Severn it is just the push against a fast flowing river that you will need to deal with, on the Avon you have a lot of locks to do with fast flowing and unprotected weirs.

 

If you are thinking about a diversion to Birmingham anyway, have you thought about going up the Severn to Worcester and then the Worcester and Birmingham canal into Birmingham.  You would then go the North Stratford to join the GU.

... and it's a couple of miles shorter, and doesn't need a transit licence for the Avon.

 

(Just don't count the locks!)

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