Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Sharpness Success

Hi, how are you?  We've had a fantastic day, let me tell you about it.

It was a beautiful sunrise with no sign of mist or fog in the marina.

We were in the lock by 8am where we were met by Carl, our pilot for the trip.

They let us down the lock and opened the gates

to the big expanse of the Bristol Channel. It wasn't quite high tide and the sand bank outside the lock was still just about visible.

Carl drove, Roger watched his every move picking up hints and tips along the way and I sat on the upper deck taking in the views

The light was perfect and there were some spectacular views

Originally the wind had been forecast at Force 4 but in actual fact it was flat calm

This is the New Severn Bridge

and this is the old one

It was like a mill pond with the only ripples being the ones made by our wash.

It was just too nice a morning to be indoors so I stayed up top for the whole trip, only going inside to brew up and make bacon butties. As we got closer to Sharpness it got a bit misty in places, but the channel marker buoys were still clearly visible.

This is the approach to Sharpness. We'd come out from here on the narrowboat back in June, never thinking for one moment that we'd be returning on a different boat.

The wooden staging at the lock entrance is to stop damage to the huge commercial ships which also use this lock.

It only took about 10 minutes to raise us up to the docks level and it was a good job we'd bought our CRT licence on Monday because you're now no longer allowed to buy one on arrival. It all has to be done online before you're allowed passage into the docks.

Carl told us the docks are busier than ever and this year there have been more narrowboats than ever doing the crossings between Sharpness and Portishead. If you're reading this and considering doing it yourself, I'd say go for it. We've now done it both ways and it's a wonderful trip. It's not cheap though as it's a requirement of a narrowboat's insurance that you have a pilot and he charges £200. We're now a Cat C boat so don't actually have to have a pilot and next time we'll probably go it alone, but seeing as it's our first "proper" voyage we thought we'd better be safe than sorry.

This boat came into the docks yesterday, we'd been tracking it online in case we met it en-route. Carl will be back again tonight to take her out of the docks at 1 am.

They opened the swing bridge for us and let us out onto the Gloucester & Sharpness canal

where we've moored in one of our favourite spots overlooking the estuary.

It's wonderful to be back in the countryside. Bristol was OK but being out of the water and then moored on the brokerage was making me stir crazy.  We bought a boat, not a floating apartment, and boats are meant to cruise so that's what we'll be doing over the winter; cruising between Sharpness and Gloucester. If the River Severn stays out of flood we hope to have a few trips up that way as well.

"Out of the Blue" really feels like our home now, especially once I'd hung the washing out!

That's all for now, see you soon.

1 comment:

David Cumming said...

You don't want to hit one of those buoys. Funny, don't remember seeing it on the way down.