I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Friday, 26 August 2011

Thursday 25th August

Oh boy did it rain last night, I’m sure the river is slightly higher today as I didn’t have as much trouble getting off the boat as I did last night! We were soon at Gloucester Lock and able to go more or less straight in. There are restrictions on locking at present but the lock keeper wanted us through as the electricians were coming. The water in the lock was a pale brown silty colour – I can’t think of better words to describe it – but it was disgusting!! I was able to play heroine as a small child lost their balloon into the lock, I managed to scoop it out and as we left the lock Richard steered the bow to where Mother was waiting and I handed her the balloon back – the small child was still howling and had set another one off too, I hope they both stopped crying after we left! We filled up with water, went to Sainsburys and then set off up the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. The canal is very wide as it was originally built for large sailing ships and is often said to be 16 miles long, 16ft deep and to have 16 bridges. In fact it was intended to be 18ft deep in the centre to accommodate the keels of large sailing ships, but it was not dredged to the full depth because in later years steamers had flatter bottoms and the under-water curvature of the bridge-holes became limiting. There were originally 16 bridges across the canal and one across Gloucester Lock. Four railway bridges were added later, two at Sharpness also being road bridges. Two road and two rail bridges have been removed, but new road bridges were added in 2007 and 2008, and so the total is currently 18 across the canal and one across Gloucester Lock. We were very lucky as Gloucester is having a Tall Ships weekend and so there were four large sailing boats tied up just outside the docks and we saw the fifth one coming down the canal. I had originally thought that we would be seeing tall ships such as the ones we saw in Portsmouth a few years ago preparing for the Tall Ships Race but to be honest these were just large sailing boats but nevertheless still pretty spectacular and I guess would be even more so if in full sail. We continued along the canal until it poured with rain and Richard had to pull over and tie up until it stopped! We went through Saul Junction where the old Stroudwater Canal used to cross and pulled over for the night at a beautiful spot where we could see the River Severn and The Forest of Dean.

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