Stoke Boats to Gloucester Docks

Having returned Chrissie to Stoke Boats 2 weeks earlier for some “finishing” jobs, we left there on 25th July and cruised half an hour North, to the South Portal of Harecastle Tunnel. Just to see how things were after the work.
The “dressing” of the propeller had worked and there wasn’t a hint of the “singing prop” we’d suffered from new.
After an overnight there we turned round and called in briefly at the boat yard to report on the prop before getting on our way South again.
Our last boat Eliza Jane had spent a couple of winters at Festival Park Marina in Stoke, where Black Prince have a depot. We’d promised the staff there that they would see our new boat if we passed so we called in briefly for them to view. They get little chance of seeing onboard other boats.
This section was becoming familiar to us now, at Great Haywood we turned up the Staffs & Worcester Canal and once again over-nighted at Tixall Wide.
I’ts a popular mooring, in the middle of nowhere really. The canal was made wide here in 1771 to pacify the Lord of Tixall Hall who didn’t want a grubby ditch through his parkland.
On from there, through Tixall lock and several miles later, Deepmoor Lock, where I lived in the early 60s. Strange to be there over 60 years later.

Penkridge is next, and a chance to stock up on provisions before carrying on through Gailey and The Bratch Staircase Locks on the A5.

On to Autherly Junction near Wolverhampton and on via Kidderminster to Stourport basin where the Staffs & Worcs meets the River Severn.

Pictures above of Stourport are from 2014 when we had NB Eliza Jane. Joining the River Severn and heading towards Worcester now, it’s great to be in deep water, the boat behaves completely differently and is able to go quite a bit faster, if needed.
On past Worcester to Tewkesbury and briefly onto the River Avon to get to Tewkesbury Marina where we leave Chrissie for a week or so to go home again. 16th August.
Back on board and rejoin the Severn and off to Gloucester. An interesting cruise on the river, big locks and it’s tidal so care is needed. Once at Gloucester and through the lock we are in stable waters again and able to moor in the Docks to explore the City. This is now the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.
We were able to meet up with Jennifer and the grandchildren a bit further down at Saul Junction and have the kids onboard for a few nights, cruising with them to Sharpness which is just amazing. There’s a huge lock complex allowing boats to get onto the massively tidal Severn Estuary. Hard to imagine big boats getting in and out of here all those years ago. Back to the docks where Jill took the girls home by train to Exeter returning the same day. Well done Jill on the train alone.
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