What a wonderful place Droitwich is, they have really embraced the canal with Vine Park that runs between the river and the canal and also Vine Park basin visitor moorings where there is room for about 14 Narrowboats. It was full last night but there are also good bank side moorings in the town beside the park.
A very late start today as my Grandson has come to stay for a few night so it was 2 pm before we headed off first for water and then up the canal to the Birmingham and Worcester canal at Hanbury junction. In the park there is a finger sign board pointing to all four points of the compass, its made of solid oak and was unveiled by a very good friend of ours Andrew Dyke who was instrumental in raising cash and awareness when he was a Councillor. There are four swing bridges in use that cross the canal in the town, all pedestrian and hand operated. One of them crosses the Barge Lock so has to be opened before you can use the lock.
As the Barge Lock in not in line with the canal it required a layby below it to allow the barges to line up so the could enter and leave the lock. After this lock the rest are all narrow and include a staircase of two, as we approached it we met a volunteer lock keeper on his bike who had drawn the bottom paddle for us. All the locks above the tunnel under the M5 only have one paddle operational, this is to prevent water entering the canal to fast and raising the level in the tunnel as some boats only have millimetre clearance depending on the height of the river. Today the river Salworpe was very low so clearance was good.
After the stair case there are three more locks and these all have working side ponds which they ask you to use, I would suggest they have better signage like they have at staircase locks. This sign for instance makes no mention of using the side pound when you empty of fill a lock before use, only when the boat is in the lock. When the water comes into the lock via the side ponds some of it enters just in front of the tail gates bubbling up furiously.
I am not sure how much water these ponds actually save as the next lock down is the staircase which are very inefficient water wise so needs sufficient water from the junction to top it up. At the junction we turned left up the Birmingham and Worcester canal mooring quite close to the railway for the night before lighting the BBQ.
2¼ miles I staircase lock, 3 locks with side pounds, 1 Barge Lock, 4 swing bridges, 2 canals in 2¾ hours.