The rain cleared up, and the sun came out, so even though we knew the place well, an evening stroll seemed mandatory. It’s an interesting place to wander around: once upon a time a serious inland port with several large basins set above the Severn, it transmogrified into a tourist destination that fell on hard times. The Severn riverside is quite an attraction, and there’s a large public park and so on, immediately next to a sizeable funfair. And even though all the pretty lights were on, and it appeared to be open, we never saw a single person on any of the rides. The place was clearly aimed at day-trippers from the Midlands once upon a time, as most of the eating establishments are tea/ice cream related and shut at 16:30 – proper restaurants are few and far between. Early evening and the place was as quiet as a mouse. Mind you, it wasn’t much different at lunchtime in the rain, come to think of it.
The basins are full of narrowboats and river cruisers; the upper one with the CaRT facilities on the wharf is always busy with boats moving around.
Just across from there are some new-ish flats built around a previously abandoned basin. They’ve been there for quite a few years now, but not one of the private moorings was occupied. Mind you, a tiny stub pontoon and an anchored buoy at the other end to tie up to isn’t exactly our favourite kind of mooring, particularly when there seem to be a few unoccupied berths in the main basins.
Down on the river, The Tontine – now “luxury” flats – has long been a landmark when heading up river, announcing one’s arrival at Stourport. And our old friend from Gloucester Lock and Tewkesbury Edward Elgar was moored up where we’d been the night before. Good job we moved, then – he’s a bit bigger than us.
Coming up off the river,you have a choice: a large wide-beam lock up to the lower basins, then another up to the upper basins. Or a narrow 2-stage staircase lock to the lower basins, and another up to the upper. The broad locks use way more water, and a rumoured to be seriously hard work, so there’s quite an incentive to use the narrow option if you can. It just looks awful tiny when you try and squeeze a boat in!
And we couldn’t go without a picture of the old BWB HQ at The Wharf, and the famous Clocktower (still telling the correct time).