To date : 738 miles, 476 locks
We decided yesterday evening not to stay a second night at Evesham as we had originally planned. We thought we'd go on and moor at Craycombe Turn. Barry and Carol decided they'd do the same. This morning with a trip to the movies in mind they changed their minds and decided to stay on so we pulled pins and went on our merry way through the Evesham Lock.
As we were entering the lock about half a dozen plastic cruisers gathered below it to wait their turn. There must have been 6 or 7 of their crew standing on the lockside watching, windlasses in hand, while Mick wound both paddles himself, closed them again, opened the gate while I struggled with ropes to keep the boat near enough to the lock side to enable him to climb back onboard. They kindly moved back out the way so he could clamber down the ladder onto the roof of the boat and then they waved us off. Thanks for the help guys!!
We looked in vain for the water point along the parkside moorings but saw in our guide there was another one not too far away so we just went on. A solitary narrowboat moored at the extreme end looked out their window hopefully as we veered towards the bank. I think they were hoping for mooring company. We learned a lesson about double checking on what the tatty old Pearsons that we keep at the stern tells us. The water point, which was supposed to be just before the railway bridge near Tesco was long gone. There had also been pumpout facilities. We stopped there and looked for a tap but no luck. I did find some blackberries for tomorrow's breakfast.
On the way out of Evesham there is a "ferry" which is basically just a little open boat and the ferry master drags it across the river pulling on a wire. Our guide book said we should sound the horn three times as we approached so that wire could be lowered to allow us to pass. He wound a crank on the bankside to lower the wire and after we'd passed took his next passenger across the river. Interesting.
On reaching Craycombe we stopped and had lunch. The mooring itself is good with a field with grazing sheep alongside. The road running beside the mooring was busy and there wasn't a decent walking path beside it. We decided not to take a chance on walking along there to visit the shops we had planned on. Off we went again.
The lockside mill we passed today had been converted into a house. It was lovely to see. We even managed to spy the little arch with water pouring out beneath the building. We passed a stretch of river lined with apple trees. It had obviously been an orchard but now sub-divided into posh riverside properties... each with their own dozen or so mature apple trees down by the river. I so much wanted to jump out and pick up some of the apples lying all over the ground. Hundreds of them!
Now we weren't too sure where we'd moor for the night. We decided we'd have a look at the moorings outside the Anchor Inn at Wyre Piddle... yes... it's really called Wyre Piddle and is just beyond Tiddle Widdle Island! Hoping to have a look at the village, it would be the only place to moor to do so. By the time we passed it we had decided not to bother. Maybe we'd just keep going to Pershore. There's water and shops there and a couple of mooring possibilities.
The Avon has been very rural for the most part but today we passed some lovely riverside properties. We also noticed many flood level markers which act as a constant reminder of the Avon's fickleness.
We pulled into the landing at Wyre Lock (an interesting diamond shaped one) and as I tied the centre rope I saw we were in front of a sign that said 24 hour mooring. On the spur of the moment we decided to just stay there. It's actually an island with the only access being across the lock gates. On the other side there were "private property" signs so it's likely only boaters use the island. Outside the boat we have a picnic table and across the other side from the island is some private moorings and static mobile homes.
While we sat out at the picnic table playing cards... he really does sit still long enough to do so... a cruiser came and moored on the other side of the island to us. The lady brought out a little dog to walk and stopped for a chat. They live 5 minutes away, and they moor their boat another 5 minutes down the river. They like to come and sleep on the boat on the weekend and they putter down to the island to have a meal or a cup of tea and read a book for a bit. A couple of hours later they went off back to their mooring for the night.
The lady said she much preferred Pershore to Evesham so we're looking forward to tomorrow to see what it's like there. We have a lovely peaceful spot for the night and it was totally unexpected.