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KenK

Severn, Mersey and Ribble

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What a brilliant suggestion - I'd never thought of taking the most direct route up the Western side of the system from south to north!

Now I have I might have to make plans...

Edited to add - request noted Matty, just pondering the best place to pin this: Waterway Holidays or General Boating?

 

Edited by magpie patrick

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On 18/10/2017 at 20:04, KenK said:

This year was the first of full retirement so ideal to boat to places that we had long wished to see but work never allowed enough time to visit. Our intention was to travel from Newbury up the western side of the country and travel as far north as possible. In addition we wished to tackle the Severn Estuary, the River Mersey and the Ribble Link, all of which we were able to do.

I'm aware that these have been covered in the past but the following is a list of contact details and tips for anyone planning to do one or all of the crossings next year.

Severn Estuary

Gloucester Pilots              07774 226143                    sharpnesspilots@gmail.com

Gloucester Harbour        01453 811913                    www.gloucesterharbourtrustees.org.uk

Sharpness Lock                 01453 511968

Swansea Coastguard      01792 366534

Bristol VTS                          01179 802638

Portishead Marina           01275 841941                    keithberry@quaysmarinas.com

                Bristol to Portishead

You will need to have your fuel tank cleaned and the fuel polished before the trip, used to be advisory but now it is compulsory. Chief pilot had three narrowboats break down in one week all with fuel issues and they will ask to see a dated invoice.

You need two tides so at least one night in Bristol and one in Portishead Marina.

The Harbourmaster’s office in Bristol will supply a tide table and arrange the operation of the lock to let you out onto the Avon. If it is a high tide they will need to operate the Stop Gates so you will be given a latest time to enter the lock.

It took us around three hours to travel from Bristol lock to Portishead marina.

Inform Swansea coastguard before you set off and let them know you have arrived safely in Portishead.

Call Bristol VTS before you exit the Avon onto the Severn Estuary, they will inform you of any boat movement from and to Avonmouth docks.

Call Portishead marina once you can see the entrance, there is nowhere to moor on the outside of the lock so you need the gates open. There are pontoons inside the lock.

Portishead to Sharpness

The pilot will have kept in touch with you by phone and text since your passage request and he will meet you in the lock.

Obviously you need lifejackets but check they are in date. Get your anchor ready for use. Remove as much as possible from the roof and secure everything which cannot be removed. If you do not have a cratch cover tape up the lower half of your front doors.

Pilots like Tea, Coffee and biscuits, enjoy the trip.

Costs

Fuel tank cleaning    £110.00

Pilot                               £200.00 (2017)  On the day either cash or cheque

Bristol                           £46.00 (one day)

Portishead                  £54.00 (one day)

 

 

Ken

High Ken nice of you to share this info.

Just a quick question did you only have one pilot between Bristol-Portishead- Sharpness. When I made enquiries I was told that we needed two pilots, one from Bristol to Portishead and then one from Portishead to Sharpness.

Thinking of having a go at this next year.

Fred.

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On 18/10/2017 at 20:36, matty40s said:

Very detailed and concise information

mods, can this be a pinned topic in one of the waterways journeys folders.

+1

Great info. May be useful in a few years time. Please pin it.

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6 hours ago, Dr Bob said:

+1

Great info. May be useful in a few years time. Please pin it.

 

On 10/18/2017 at 20:36, matty40s said:

Very detailed and concise information

mods, can this be a pinned topic in one of the waterways journeys folders.

I've moved it to cruise diaries and pinned it

I'm now planning the refurbishment of Juno so she could make a voyage like this :) (Lutine's hull is fundamentally unsuitable for estuarine passage)

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Hi Fred,

We didn't use a pilot between Bristol and Portishead. The Avon from Bristol to Avonmouth is a fairly easy river to navigate given sensible weather conditions and other than the small maintenance vessel (actually looked like the Queen Mary compared to us) which Bristol VTS warned us about we didn't see another boat moving. Once you reach the mouth of the river keeping going until you clear the long quay to your left, then turn left or to port as you are now on lumpy water, follow the shoreline for about 20 minutes and you'll see Portishead quay, turn in and phone the marina. We checked with our insurance company and they didn't require a pilot from Bristol just from Portishead to Sharpness.

The journey from Portishead is a different matter you see this sheet of water and think OK straight down the middle, once you do it you'll see why you need a pilot, a straightforward course it isn't but it is an experience not to be missed.

Ken

 

 

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I am considering doing the Severn in the southern direction from Sharpness to Bristol (via Portishead), however I have been told that doing it the other way from Bristol to Sharpness is easier on the boat's engine and less hazardous too.

 

Can anyone confirm or deny this please? Also, I want to do it next spring or early summer but I wonder if the tides might be a bit too lively in the spring?

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1 hour ago, Grassman said:

I am considering doing the Severn in the southern direction from Sharpness to Bristol (via Portishead), however I have been told that doing it the other way from Bristol to Sharpness is easier on the boat's engine and less hazardous too.

 

Can anyone confirm or deny this please? Also, I want to do it next spring or early summer but I wonder if the tides might be a bit too lively in the spring?

No idea about the route, but I think tides are tides, whatever the time of the year. Their speed/strength varies between neap and spring with the phases of the moon, so on roughly a monthly basis, you get a full cycle.

 

NB: Spring tides are definitely more "lively" than neap tides, but the word "spring" in spring tide, bears no relation to the season, which is possibly where you have drawn your conclusion from?

  • Greenie 1

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Call me old fashioned, but I've spent enough time at sea to know I won't be taking my narrowboat onto any estuaries, particularly not the Severn!  Great info for those who are braver than me and/or those who have boats are better suited than mine, so thanks. :)

 

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On ‎20‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 14:09, KenK said:

Hi Fred,

We didn't use a pilot between Bristol and Portishead. The Avon from Bristol to Avonmouth is a fairly easy river to navigate given sensible weather conditions and other than the small maintenance vessel (actually looked like the Queen Mary compared to us) which Bristol VTS warned us about we didn't see another boat moving. Once you reach the mouth of the river keeping going until you clear the long quay to your left, then turn left or to port as you are now on lumpy water, follow the shoreline for about 20 minutes and you'll see Portishead quay, turn in and phone the marina. We checked with our insurance company and they didn't require a pilot from Bristol just from Portishead to Sharpness.

The journey from Portishead is a different matter you see this sheet of water and think OK straight down the middle, once you do it you'll see why you need a pilot, a straightforward course it isn't but it is an experience not to be missed.

Ken

 

 

The journey from Portishead is quite straightforward but its not that easy to spot the entrance to the river, quite easy to start heading for Avonmouth docks.! I don't think you need a pilot though. I would certainly advise a pilot for the rest of the trip. Clean fuel is an absolute non negotiabal must. As for tea and biscuits, too right! Our pilot ate all the chocolate hob nobs. The blighter.

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We crossed the Mersey back in 2014 and Stuart Wood was our pilot. A year previously we did Limehouse -  through the barrier then back up to Teddington, again with a pilot from St Pancras Cruising Club.  Definite NO NO to Severn [and Ribble due to 70ft length]!

 

Very good information for those wanting to give them all a go

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