Day 25 and 26 – Herefordshire and Gloucestershire
After Shropshire and the industrial museums at Ironbridge and Colebrookdale, which resulted in some nice photos at least, Herefordshire was a day off. I’d arranged to visit a friend who lives in The county and since he lives in a converted 12th century chapel it seemed silly to insist on camping when I could stay in such a momentous building (1841 total miles). The view of my tent photo was the shot of the church with the truck outside under the ancient yew tree. Instead of taking a photo of the view from my tent I took a shot of the view from my bed which needs to be seen. (See the Instagram link for photos,.)Gloucestershire
From Hereford I had the idea of looking for the Severn Bore. I found the Severn Bore Inn on the net and headed down there on off chance (1889 miles). I had a splendid carvery lunch with (nearly) more meat than I could eat, but I made the effort. The landlord told me that I could camp on the riverbank and that there would, indeed, be a bore that night and again in the morning. Now bear in mind that the timetables on the net for the Severn Bore seem to show about four days a month that seem to be around the time of the full moon. I’d been in Shropshire on the night of the full moon and Herefordshire the night after so to see the bore on the next day was pretty lucky. However, there was more to Gloucestershire than that.
While setting up my tent there was a couple of blokes who had climbed down the bank and out of sight. I went over and instead of the couple of canoes as I expected to see they had a high powered twin engined semi rigid speedboat. Realising that they hadn’t untied the rope I offered to untie it for them to save them climbing back up the ladder, in response they offered me a ride.
It was only when I was out on the river with them, after we took off standing the boat on it’s stern, that it began to occur to me that these guys were not completely sober. I hadn’t noticed that there was a pint of scumpy on top of the dashboard (is it called a dashboard on a boat?) and I hadn’t realised that the fact that they’d forgotten to cast off the rope might have been a warning signal.
Within five minutes I was in the driving seat being told that you have to stand it on the stern, gunning both engines, to get the boat ‘on the plane’ which I understood to mean planing over the water. (This was later disputed by someone else in the pub after I got back.)
Driving the boat was fun until I started to think about the fact that I hadn’t planned to go on a boat trip, I was just untying a rope after all, and all my possessions, car keys, wallet, computer, phone, etc., were in my car back at the pub with the windows and tailgate open, the tent was barely pegged down in an exposed position on the river bank and I wasn’t confident the guys would be in any hurry to take me back.
Asking about how we turn around was the point at which one of them reached over (I may have been driving but I can’t quite remember) and started doing doughnuts at what felt like 45 degrees. Fortunately one of them got an inkling of just how terrified I was and he persuaded his mate to take it easy and we cruised back more at narrowboat speed than power boat speed.
The adventure ended, after a photo was taken of me at the controls but it’ll be on his camera, with them realising that the water was now too low for me to get back to the ladder so I had to climb up the muddy bank.
The Severn Bore, that night and the next morning, was interesting but not exciting by comparison. I’m glad I saw the Severn Bore as it was probably a 1 in 10 chance of it happening on the day, but better to plan it and go on a four star day rather than a two star day as I did. Still the sight of the tidal surge snapping overhanging branches was quite impressive.