Friday, 19 May 2017

Bidford on Avon (we weren’t expecting red boards)

This was the sunrise on Thursday morning – what a difference to the constant rain on Wednesday.

When Karen left for work at 6, we hadn’t noticed that the water had nearly risen to the level of the pathway but by 7 o’clock the water started creeping onto the pathway – that’s about 12-15” higher than yesterday.

Water just starting to flow onto the pathway

By 9 o’clock the path was under about 6” of water and the river was still rising.  I logged onto the River Avon website to check their live webcams and most were just going into red which means you must be on a flood safe mooring.

Pathway getting submerged

You can see from the picture above that we were on flood safe moorings as the mooring ring slides up the pole as the water level rises.

It was soon obvious I wasn’t going to have my planned cruise for the day and that we would have to stay put.  Buddy and I went for a walk instead but first we went to check on the nearest lock.

The weir was quite a torrent compared with yesterday and the lock landings were completely submerged so it wouldn’t have been possible to moor up to operate the lock without getting extremely wet.

I found the water level marker board and saw that it was now 6” into the red.  It has 12” of amber below the red and then green below the amber.  Green is when it’s safe to travel.

Board at red at the lock

Buddy didn’t care as he had found a large stick to play with and it was just as well no one was around otherwise he would have taken their legs off with it.

Buddy and his branch

I know the river levels weren’t that high, compared with how they do get in times of real floods, but it still meant boats had to stay put.  Well, a plastic boat that was moored opposite us went for a little cruise during the day but only a couple of hundred yards and then back again. 

There were three narrowboats, including us, on our moorings and one of them was a hire boat from the canal at Stratford.  In the afternoon, I noticed a guy I know, called Steve, standing on the bank next to the hire boat.  He's the guy at the Stratford boatyard who is always good to me and lets me have a free pump out if I do it myself.  I wandered over to see him and he said that the hirers had now gone home and that he was looking at getting the boat back to the base.  Being as the base is on the canal he hadn't realised that the river was up and so he was going to have to get a lift back down on Friday to take the boat back.

Steve explained that there had been an accident and somehow the guy steering the boat was rushed to hospital as his thumb was ripped out.  No one knows how it happened but apparently, the rudder hit something and swung the tiller arm uncontrollably.  At least that also explained why the hire boat was facing the wrong way (you should always moor facing upstream on a river); they must have been in quite a panic.

The three boats on the moorings

Coincidentally, I knew the middle boat: when I was up at Northwich for three weeks, waiting for our boat to be completed, I obviously took Buddy for his normal walks. On his morning walks I always took him along the same part of the canal and we passed a boat moored at the bottom of a garden every day.  It was the same boat as the one moored in the middle!

No doubt levels will be back to normal on Friday and we can continue our travels on the pretty River Avon.

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