English Holiday Cruises – Gloucester to Sharpness – Chapter 3

Again, the dreaded alarm going off and the start of another day.  During the night had been torrential rain the sound of which hammering the window had woken me up so I looked out with some trepidation but was delighted to see a clear sky.

Saul JunctionBreakfast this morning apart from the usual choices had Bacon and Mushroom Croissant instead of the Muffin. Great start to the day. This morning we were sailing to Saul Junction for a talk from the Cotswolds Canal Trust. With the sun shining I took the opportunity to go up to the top outer deck and admire the scenery. There is something very tranquil about cruising the canal at a steady 5 mph, passing fields of sheep and cows, admiring the tree and shrub lined banks with their leaves displaying those colours that only autumn can bring. The water ahead of us, so still that it acts as a mirror to all around. It makes you realise that life really is wonderful and a great gift. As we sail on Saul Junction comes into view, our final stop on the cruise prior to Gloucester. We go to the building of the Cotswolds Canal Trust where we meet Clive who gives us a most interesting insight into the canal and its history. I for one did not realise the history of the town of Stroud and its cloth making industry. Neither did I realise the various types of felt from that which graces the tops of billiard tables to that which is the outer of a tennis ball. Thank you Clive for a really interesting talk. Their ambition is to eventually join the River Thames with the River Severn via a series of canals and locks. Ambitious it may be but with their enthusiasm and some money I am sure it will happen in the years to come.

Back to the boat for our last meal on board. Today it was a Ploughman’s with a selection of three different cheeses, pickle, silver onions, salad and bread rolls again followed by a delicious creamy desert mixed with fresh fruit. Whilst having lunch the crew carried our luggage from our cabins to the bar area ready for disembarkation. The scenery was now changing with houses and factories lining the river bank showing we were nearing our destination. Soon the large lift bridge marking the entrance to Gloucester Docks came into view and after a while lifted open to allow us passage through. It seemed only minutes later that we were alongside our berth and the peace and tranquillity that we had enjoyed seemed a lifetime away.

Edward Elgar - Englsi Holiday CruisesThis is a small boat but it brings with it an intimacy that is enjoyed by all especially those of mature years. The food served to us by Chef Andy was really first class and far surpassed my expectations. Yes the cabins are small but the way they are arranged makes full use of the available space and at no time did I feel restricted. I spoke with all the passengers on the cruise and without exception everyone said they had had had a good time. Some had returned for a second year and were talking about returning next year. If you want glamour, glitz and lots of entertainment then this is not the boat for you. If however you want a boat that offers value for money, good food, relaxation, small happy staffs for whom nothing is too much trouble and you enjoy the company of a small number of like-minded travellers then this is the boat for you. The cost of all your tours is included in the price and even umbrellas and suntan lotion are supplied. The question now is did I enjoy the cruise and would I do it again? The answer to both is a resounding yes.  From me, thank you Capt. Dave, Mate Fran, Chef Andy, Jade and Jeannie, I had a great time.

Watch Alan’s video about his cruise.

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Alan Fairfax

Travel writer & cruise journalist

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