The Crustacean row in July 2019 took place on the most northerly part of the navigable Severn from Worcester to Stourport and back over two days.
A few years ago the crew had rowed from Gloucester to Worcester and back: a much longer and more challenging route. However, after most of the 2019 crew had endured and mastered their first and for many their last offshore row from Sark to Jersey, a couple of weeks earlier, there was strong support for a much lighter two days than normal.
With no bike tow path along the Severn bank support was minimal. As there were only five crew members, Terry Gibbon, Dan Davidson, Gavin Suggett, Robin Kerr and David Walden, the need to meet for changes with someone on a bike was avoided.
This year the crew was able to borrow an almost new touring 4+ from Worcester Rowing Club (WRC) thanks to the kind help of their Captain, Anna Singleton, and a long term member, Ashley Robert, who met us on the first morning and on our return, as well as providing some useful local knowledge concerning logistics.
With only three locks before a lunch break and all operated by lock keepers, our journey up river was about as easy as any we have had in ten years of touring. The result was that we arrived at the Hampstall Inn, our lunch stop, about 45 minutes early and were able to have a very leisurely break before rowing on to Stourport in the afternoon. David, who had done a recce a few weeks before, had found limited choices for lunch stops but this Inn offered an easy-to-use pontoon with plenty of space and an open air terrace with full view of the river. This plus a friendly host and good food made it a perfect place to stop.
The afternoon row to Stourport Rowing Club (SRC) where we had arranged to park the touring four overnight took little more than an hour. We were met by the SRC Captain, Paul Danby, and several members of around our level of maturity. The suggestion had been made in prior emails that we would be welcome forming a joint VIII with the Stourport members and rowing 3km further up river to near the limit of navigation even for small boats. The main navigation ends at Stourport which provides the entrance to the canal system linking the Severn to the midland canal system. The VIII proved to be great fun and despite the scratch crew the balance made for a comfortable row. A visit to the bar, some chats about rowing and a few beers were much appreciated before a drive back to Gloucester for an evening meal with spouses joining us.
Day 2 was a down-stream row back to Worcester. Again, the availability of lock keepers and near absence of other river traffic allowed us to make good time and we arrived in time for a sandwich lunch on the hard at WRC plus a welcome cup of tea, thanks to Ashley. While much less arduous than most of our earlier rows, the fine weather and kindness that we received from those at both WRC and SRC made this a memorable two days to complete another of UK’s waterways.
David Walden, Aug 19.