Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Gloucester Ring; a planned return, 2014

Feeling a little bit excited.

The "Gloucester Ring" is a 46 mile journey; leaving Lydney to follow the tide 28 miles up to Gloucester, crossing the weir at Llanthony and entering the Docks, 16 miles back down the Gloucester Sharpness Canal, then wait for the next tide to lock out of Sharpness and cross the couple of miles back over to land home at Lydney again. You need a tide high enough to top the weir at Llanthony, typically 9m plus and you need to NOT miss the brief window for crossing the weir at top of tide or you'll find yourself in something of a pickle. It could well take a couple of tides to make it back down.

The upper reaches of the "unnavigable" Severn, and by that I'd suggest I mean anywhere above the Old Crossing some miles below Lydney, are not somewhere to get stuck between tides. Every tide on this stretch of the river pushes a bore up in front of it, but with the springs, of which you need an especially high one to clear the weir, the Bore is potentially very violent.

It's not for the purists. The constraints of the tidal gate at the weir means that if there's insufficient wind, you have to use the outboard. And, of course, the 16 miles back down the canal have to be under power as well. But it's still quite the adventure.

We last did it in the company of quite a few other boats in September 2012, and had a great time. The photos accompanying are from that trip.

A friend, Steve of Green Bean, has said he's going to try it again this coming October 11th and asked if we fancy joining in. A spring tide of 9.4m is predicted for Sharpness at around 10.30am. That gives us plenty of water, if only a little bit of time, to reach the weir and cross.

I think we're on.

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