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Avon Riing Boat Trip 1999

Sunday 20 June 1999

After a couple of years of friendly persuasion I finally agreed to go on the boat trip this year. It was planned to do the Avon Ring during the week of Sunday June 20 1999 to Sunday June 27 1999.

Dave Green of Bradford 18 Plus Group called at my home on Sunday Morning and we set of for Penkridge where we were to pick up John Crawshaw.

Where in Penkridge?

We arrived at Penkridge at the appointed time and parked in the village square, unfortunately Dave couldn't remember the name of the Pub where we were to meet John, he thought it was in the centre of Penkridge. We had a walk round looking in the three Pubs in the centre, none of them having a boating type name, needless to say, there was no sign of John Crawshaw.

After our failed attempt to find the correct Pub we decided to wait in the car, I had a look at a map of the village that was on the wall near where we parked and spotted the Pub outside the village next to the canal, where you would expect to find a Pub called the Boat Inn. We drove off and called in to the Boat Inn met John Crawshawm, who had already arrived. We had a drink and then left for Evesham to meet the rest of the crew.

Supermarket sweep

When we arrived at Evesham we made our way to The Vauxaul Inn where met up with fellow Huddersfield 18 Plus member Dave Sugden and James Sheard of Bradford 18 Plus who had already arrived. We waited and waited for Simon, Ian and Adam, and after a while Dave Green decided it would be a good idea to go to the Supermarket for provissions.

After a short while the others turned up, they were a bit late because they had been to the Supermarket for provissions.

We were told that before we've even begun Adders, (Adam Vass of Acton 18 Plus), had tried to get his quid back from Quick Save with a Somerfield trolley. Probably the first gamble of the trip.

The toss of a coin

After lunch and a few drinks it was off to Evesham Marina to board our home for the week, the Simon De Monfort. The boat hands at the Marina tossed a coin to decide who would give us the instructional tour of the boat.

That decided we were shown the weed hatch, the gas supply, the galley etc etc etc. then we were given a short trip up and down the river to demonstrate the navigation of the boat, we dropped off our instructor back at the Marina and were on our way.

The first leg of our journey took us from Evesham to Bidford upon Avon.

Dave Freen at the tiller

James phones other end of boat

After about a half hour's cruising James thought he had lost his mobile phone, so he borrowed one and phoned his number hoping his phone was abourd, it turned out to be at the opposite end of the boat.

River Avon Lock
George Billington Lock

First night

There was no room at Bidford to moor the boat for the night, so we went further upstream to Barton where we moored just after the E & H Billington Lock.

There was a Pub at Barton but unfortunately it was on the opposite side of the river and there was nowhere to cross so we headed across the fields to a public footpath which led back to Bidford where we had a few drinks and a game of cards at The Bullfrog.

It was agreed that each evening we would play cards for the chores, the first knocked out would clear out the weed hatch, the second knocked out would do the washing up, and so on.

Weed hatch - Ian Crawshaw
Washing up - Simon Manby
Washing up pans - John Barker
Drying up - Dave Sugden

On the way back to the boat some of us got some chinese food to take back.

Monday 21 June 1999

David Green made breakfast, buffet style, everyone thought it was a brilliant idea and really enjoyed it.

Bidford upon Avon to Stratford on Avon to Wooton Wavern.

Here we are pictured arriving at Stratford upon Avon.

Into Stratford upon Avon

Dave Green at the tiller, John Crawshaw and Adam Vass looking for a place to dock for lunch at Stratford upon Avon.

Docking at Stratford upon Avon

I had a bit of a walk round Stratford, I had been on Holiday there as a child but it wasn't familiar at all.

When we left Stratford upon Avon we passed through a lock from the river Avon on to the canal system, this drew crowds of tourists to watch - see picture.

Stratford Lock

After leaving Stratford upon Avon we headed North navigating many locks along the up hill climb.

The big climb


Our evening meal was at The Navigation Wooton Wavern, I had the last mixed grill, it was enormous, John Crawshaw helped me finish off some chips and peas.

Weed hatch - Ian Crawshaw
Washing up - John Barker
Washing up pans - David Sugden
Drying up - Ian Crawshaw

Tuesday 22 June 1999

Simon made breakfast, he copied Dave's buffet which everyone enjoyed, but not as much as Dave's breakfast.

Lunch - Ian while dishing out his soup farted, Simon thought it was me, Ian said he threw it, he was a fart ventriloquist.

Near Lapworth John Barker fell in the canal while reaching out to pass the windlass. Dave Sugden said "we didn't know wether to help him out of the water, or to take photos - we took photos!"

Wooton Wavern to Hockley Heath

Pubs Kingswood - The Boot Inn
Hockley Heath - The Wharfe Tavern and The Nags Head

Ian - "I can cook, you put the bacon in 'till it boils!" Said at the Wharfe Tavern Hockley Heath prior to playing cards for the chores.

Weed hatch - John Barker
Washing up - Ian Crawshaw
Washing up pans - James Sheard
Drying - John A Smith
Washing up, noght - David Sugden

Wednesday 23 June 1999 - Rain

Breakfast, David Green tried to make hash brownes, a bit of a failure, and was very attached to the pan, poor James had to clean it.

After breakfast Ian had a bet with Simon that he would fart more than twice, and own up to it, he said that even if he lost the bet he'd be doing everyone a favour by making Simon put a cork in it!

Drawbridge - key in lock, therefore we had to pull the boat through.

Draw bridge

Swing bridge - I opened this, the Americans came through first and thanked me, they were quite apologetic about closimg the previous bridge behind them, but at that point there was a big gap between us and they couldn't leave the bridge open thus blocking traffic, I said we understood.

Pub - The Hopwood House Inn
Alvechurch - The Crown


Simply remember you're playing, every time you are handed something say "I remember!. If you forget, the other player may say "Yanders!" winning the game.

John & Ian have been playing for five years, and


for the first time in a year, winning him

Two pints!


Ian Crawshaw

Weed hatch - Ian Crawshaw
Washing up - James Sheard
Washing up pans - John A Smith
Drying - John Crawshaw
Evening muck - Ian Crawshaw, John A Smith

Thursday 24 June 1999

We navigated two tunnels today, I walked the first one with the idea of taking a photograph of the boat leaving the tunnel, unfortunately the footpath was not a direct route and I missed the boat.

Locks, Locks, Locks!

Group photos were taken at Tardebrigge Top Lock and Bottom Lock

Pull Pull Pull
Pull Simon says pull pull

David Green "RAGGE'ED" the boat, The rope fell in the water and got wrapped around the propeller. We had to manually tow the boat into Tardebrigge top lock, at least it gave us time to take lots of group photos.

Down the Weed Hatch I`ve got it!

John Crawshaw got stuck into the weed hatch to cut the rope free with the bread knife.

Tardebrigge Bottom Lock
Tardebrigge Bottom Lock

Lunch - The Queens Head, £3.99 carvery buffett, we arrived just in time, except that Ian decided to pay a call and when he re-joined us he was too late to get a meal.

The Queens Head Buffet
Beer garden
The Queens Head Beer Garden

After the meal we went into the beer garden for a few drinks, we saw a dog on the roof!

"A normal belly takes up a few bytes, Dave's takes up a MEGABYTE!" - Ian quipped after hearing about the size of Dave's buffett portion.

When we returned to the boat we saw the fllowing sign advertising the buffett lunch we had just partaken of:

"It's not a fairy tale, it's not a dream.
They are the biggest portions you've ever seen"

John Barker suggested the following should be added:

"Don't forget we shut quite early.
If you arrive late the staff get surly."

Stoke Prior

Taking on water at Stoke Works David Green had a go at destroying the front rope! As we were pulling up to shore he had the bright idea of using the fron rope as a break so he wrapped it round a bollard and as the boat pulled in the rope got frayed on the side of the boat, luckily it didn't break.


The evening was spent at the Fir Tree Inn where Dave had a huge Raspberry Pavlova.

I ordered one as well following my meal, then Simon arrived and decided he wanted one however he forgot to ask for ice cream so when it was served he was rather disappointed by it's size so when the waitress returned he asked for some ice cream, he only got one scoop though.

Pictored - Adam Vass, John A Smith (that`s me eating my Pavlova), then John Crawshaw, and stood behind, Simon Manby.

The Pavlova Incident

Dave Sugden spills his beer on "The Jizzer"

Tyhose who were on the 1996 boat trip did lots of reminiscing about "Bird Jiz" as this part of our journey coincided with that of 1996. John Crawshaw said this was the best boat trip so far as it was male only.

Weed hatch - Ian Crawshaw
Washing up, all - John A Smith
Drying - John Crawshaw
Evening muck - Ian Crawshaw

Friday 25 June 1999

I was the first to get up, it set off chain reaction - we set of at about 8:20 a.m. before breakfast.

I briefly joined the daily Monopoly session, I played for Adam "Sparks" Vass. John Crawshaw bragged about winning two games in a row.

We had breakfast at Tibberton before start of locks, no stop.

Adventures in Worcester

Went to see the Cathedral with Dave Sugden, James Sheard and Adam Vass, they didn't stop long at the Cathedral so we got split up, After a good long look round the Cathedral I went for lunch on my own at The Crown, alfresco.

Worcester Cathedral



Simon failed to obtain £2 he won on machine because they couldn't give it to him 'till tomorrow, and couldn't send it. Simon got pissed off and ground some crisps on the floor. They caught him and tried to eject him and Ian saying Ian couldn't put more money in. Ian said "Nothing to do with me!" then they were both asked to leave. Ian said they should improve their attitude. Simon said their policy was a bit off, then left

Leaving Worcester

John at the tiller

Leaving Worcester

  1. Dave Sugden
  2. Ian Crawshaw
  3. John A Smith
  4. Dave Green
  5. John Crawshaw
  6. John Barker
  7. Adam Vass
  8. James Sheard
  9. Simon Manby


(Revised) LARD LIST
  1. Dave Sugden
  2. John A Smith
  3. Ian Crawshaw
  4. Dave Green
  5. John Crawshaw
  6. John Barker
  7. Adam Vass
  8. James Sheard
  9. Simon Manby

Ian's Severn Seven

The Swimmer
The Swimmer

Ian said to his brother John, would you buy me a pint if I jumped in the river. John was a bit non-committal so I said I'll buy you a pint if you jump in the river, and everyone else probably will as well, after a bit of discussion everyone agreed, and got their cameras out ready.

Jump Splash
Swimming the back stroke Ian in the Severn
Had enough? Aboard again

Mississippi River Boat, a Jazz concert was on shore.

River Boat

At Tewksbury we take a lock from the River Severn to the Avon, here we have to get a Permit to navigate the Avon and the Lock Keeper fills in Simon's name as "Simon De Manby" confusing his name Simon Manby with the boat's name Simon De Montfort.

Leaving the lock at Tewksbury

River Certificate

The Fleet - Twyning Green

To the Pub!

Weed hatch - James Sheard
Washing up - John Barker
Drying - Simon Manby
Today's muck - John Crawshaw, John A Smith

James & John swopped

Saturday 26 June 1999

Dave Gren and John Barker head home, Dave to a friend's Wedding and John, who is a big James Bond fan, to see Pearce Brosnan open the National Museum of Photography Film and Television following a re-vamp.

Breakfast - Frosties

Pershore Lock - After we came through I jumped ashore to pull boat in but didn't manage to get rope around bollard in time, then John said he'd steer the back end in to shore for James and Dave to get aboard.

The Anchor - Wyre Piddle. John and Ian's family were waiting, John departed

At Wyre Lock Adam leaped off the boat into the nettles, he also got the winlass in the ribs and had to take a break.

Arrived back in Evesham to a rain and thunderstorm welcome.

Rain & thunderstorm welcome

Simon's arse! x2

At Evesham Lock Simon "moons" at neighbouring boat - unintentionally! Twice!

Reversing in to dock

Arriving at Evesham Marina Ian does a perfect 180 degree manouvre only to be told that he has docked in the wrong place.

After dark we all went for a meal, while leaving the Marina Simon "wazzes" as security light comes on.

We returned to The Vauxaul Inn, in Evesham for our evening meal, there were six of us left and the waiter remembered our order to the letter without writing it down, Dave thought this was amazing! We spent the remainder of the evening in The Vauxaul for a few drinks.

We slept on the boat at Evesham Marina and after packing up set off back to Yorkshire and home.

Ian wins!
Ian gets £10, £20 and £50 off Jack. Good!

There have been three boat trips prior to the 1999 boat trip chronicled here:

1996 - Stourbridge Ring
1997 - Four Counties Ring
1998 - Warwickshire Ring

In the year 2000 the boat trip was the Llangollen Canal

In the year 2001 it was planned to do the Chesshire Ring, starting and finishing at Bunbury near Chester .


British Waterways


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