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Edward Elgar - Along The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal

Photographs  John H. Luxton 2014

These photographs of English Holiday Cruises' EDWARD ELGAR were taken on a two night cruise along the 16 mile Gloucester and Sharpness Canal between April 15 and 17, 2014. This is your web master's third Gloucester and Sharpness Canal cruise. What makes the trip particularly interesting is the G&S Canal was built as a ship canal, thus dimensions are large enough to allow sea-going vessels to reach Gloucester Docks.

Further photographs of the cruise can be viewed on JHL Photography @ SmugMug.

Passengers board the EDWARD ELGAR at the Alexandra Warehouse berth at Gloucester Docks. The EDWARD ELGAR shares the berth with her now laid up and much larger fleet-mate OLIVER CROMWELL which has been out of cruise service for some years and is currently offered for sale on a number of shop brokers' web sites. Passenger's board at 18:00 and spend the night on board the vessel.
EDWARD ELGAR seen just before breakfast at 08:30 on April 16, departure is around 09:00
EDWARD ELGAR is equipped with en extremely well stocked bar at the bow of the ship offering excellent forward views.
Putting the gangway ashore at Slimbridge.
EDWARD ELGAR arrives at Patch Bridge, Slimbridge at 12:00. Lunch is served at 12:30 and a minibus-taxi is provided to take passengers to and from the Wild Fowl and Wetlands Trust Centre at Slimbridge around three quarters of a mile away. Also located close by the canal bridge is the Tudor Arms public house am excellent real ale emporium offering five real ales.
At Slimbridge EDWARD ELGAR encountered the LADY OF MANN, well not the late lamented Steam Packet ship of the same name but an Isle of Man Registered narrow boat.
EDWARD ELGAR departs Slimbridge at 16:30 and sails to Purton arriving at 18:00, one mile from Sharpness Docks and the canal entrance to the River Severn. Here passengers can explore the fascinating "Ships' Graveyard - The Purton Hulks". Vessels deliberately grounded during the 20th Century to stabilize the canal / river bank.  Dinner is served at 18:30 after Captain's Cocktails. On board musical entertainment is then provided from 20:00 to 22:00.
EDWARD ELGAR seen at Purton on the evening of April 16, 2014.
The vessel has 11 two berth air conditioned -en-suite cabins which are small but comfortable.
An early departure from Purton is made at 07:30 and EDWARD ELGAR makes her way down to Sharpness Docks to complete the transit of the canal before swinging and heading back towards Gloucester. Breakfast being served at 08:30, with arrival at Splatt Bridge, Frampton around 09:00. Passengers then have time to explore the village or take a stroll along the tow path. Departure is around 10:00 with lunch being served at 12:00. Arrival back at Gloucester Docks is around 13:40. A trip on the EDWARD ELGAR is highly recommended and makes an interesting contrast to the trips offered by Mersey Ferries on the Manchester Ship Canal.

A number of these canal sailings are offered each year and booking well in advance is recommended as they usually sell out quite quickly. The fares are excellent value when one considers that everything, including house wine or soft drinks with dinner are included as well as entry to Slimbridge and the taxi. The only extra spending required is for the reasonably priced on board bar and any gratuities for the crew - who are excellent.

Feeding the ducks at Frampton - April 17, 2014.
 

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