The Severn estuary. A rough crossing from Portishead to Sharpness. April 2011

27th April 2011

Portishead to Sharpness.

Leaving Portishead. Following Mystic Bliss
We woke up and felt pretty apprehensive about the next stage of our trip. It had been so rough yesterday and I didn’t fancy 3 hours of the same today. Our pilot Rick boarded us in Portishead lock. He had a quick check over the boat, anchor, mooring lines etc. All good!!

I have to say it was still pretty windy but we felt ok(ish) with having Rick with us.

Happy times with Rick the pilot.

So we headed out of Portishead lock and into the estuary. We felt very small. We are so used to being a 12′ wide beam  on the inland waterways and feeling quite large!! We seem to be getting smaller and smaller!!

Just not bothered!!

So Bella is strapped on oblivious to what is about to happen. We left the safety of the pier and the waves hit us again straight away. I braced myself for a very rough crossing. It didn’t disappoint. Rick chose this moment to say “these conditions are borderline but if we don’t go today you could be waiting in Portishead for a week or so” Now, I’m grateful to Rick for saving us the £35 a night mooring fee but part of me wanted to turn around and go back! Not an option. Rick swiftly followed this up with ” I haven’t had a crossing this rough in a canal boat for about a year” Great!! So we thought well let’s just try to enjoy this experience. Cup of tea anyone? Trying to drink a cup of tea was very funny. You would go to take a drink and the wind would blow the tea out the cup and all over your face!!

Flying the flag for Blackjack

We were still travelling with ‘Mystic Bliss’ It was so nice to have another boat to share it with and take photo’s of each other, now we have some fantastic photo’s of Blackjack passing under the Severn bridge which we not have if we had gone alone.

‘Mystic Bliss’ Rough enough?!
Making a splash!

Actually once you got used to the movement of the boat it was ok.


The worst thing was going inside to make the tea and hearing the boat creaking and thinking I do hope the welding holds out. It was only built for the inland waterways after all.

In no time at all we were coming up to the Severn bridge. We must have been enjoying ourselves!!

Going under the Severn bridge was fantastic. We really felt like we had achieved something.

Raga and John some great pictures of Blackjack. So grateful to have them with us to capture this.

We look so tiny!!

The best souvenir we could have. Give us a wave Mike!

A great shot.
Rick was fantastic he pointed out landmarks and sand banks and made us feel really comfortable and relaxed. He did go quiet when we approached Sharpness lock as the wind and tide are so strong there. The tide wants to take you out past the entrance to Sharpness and if you miss it it’s a long hard journey against the tide to get back in.
Sharpness pier, concentrate.

Sharpness lock was even bigger than Portishead.

The tiny wide beam Blackjack
We threw our lines up to the lock keeper and held on. Mystic Bliss was alongside us in no time. We we all smiles again as we said hello after 3 hours of waving across the Severn estuary to each other. Partly relief and partly proud I think. We had made it.
Our first view of Sharpness docks from the lock.Coming out of Sharpness and into the docks was an experience in itself. We passed a ship being leaded with scrap metal destined for Spain!
Scrap for Spain

A couple of large road swing bridges later we were onto the Gloucester and Sharpness canal. Beautiful.

4 happy boaters 🙂
and a happy dog

As much as we all enjoyed the experience we were happy to set foot on land. Bella was enjoying the sun as soon as we moored up.

After a glass of bubbly we set off on foot to have an explore.

A well deserved drink

We could see where we had come from and we couldn’t quite believe it. Seeing the Severn bridge in the distance put it into perspective.

It looks a long way.

This is where we would be spending the next couple of months while Mike worked on the wide beam fit out. It was going to be nice place to spend the first half of the summer. The second half we planned to travel the length of the River Severn and the River Avon as far as we could on a wide beam. Now……….to work.

Tide’s out on the River Severn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s