Friday 30 August 2019

Blue Lias Friday 30 September 2019

Day : Friday
Date : 30 August 2019
Start : 1040
Finish : 1500 Blue Lias

We woke to a fine but breezy morning and set off up the 12 locks to the Blue Lias. The bridge below Radford lock has for sometime had a manikin in residence, it looks as if its found a friend.DSCF2361

As expected the locks were against us, as we were halfway up in the first lock a boat appeared at the bottom, I was about to tell them we would wait when they were joined by a second boat, so that ended that idea. We worked on alone, locks against us until we started meeting hire boats and a couple of private boats coming down, after that it was a good run to Bascote Stair case which had both chambers half full so I guess a boat had gone up before us. The staircase looked quite splendid in the sun.DSCF2365

We stopped to top up with water for the weekend and also eat lunch at Bascote bridge, that just left us two lock to get to the Blue Lias where we will be for the weekend at the Cutweb Internet Boat Club annual rally, so no more postings until we move Monday or maybe Sunday evening, depending on other boat movements.

Today's Journeymap 37 6¼Miles 12 Locks in 4¼hours

Thursday 29 August 2019

Radford Semele Thursday 29 August 2019

Day : Thursday
Date : 29 August 2019
Start : 1000
Finish : 1720 Radford Semele

I have uploaded our proposed route to CanalPlanAC if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

Boy did it rain last nigh but it had cleared out this morning, we set off at 1000hrs when I thought I saw a boat coming out of the top lock, it was actually going down, so when we got to the lock we decided to wait for a bit and see if anyone else came a long, there were 7 Volockies working down the flight, some in radio contact and Chris, who came to meet us told me there was a boat on the way up, and the boat that had just gone down had joined another so I told him we would sit in the lock and see if anyone turned up. In due course a hire boat arrived but filled with water before joining us down the flight. Chris assisted us down the first 10 locks but then worked his way back with a single boat with just a couple onboard. The last 3 locks the 11 year old son drove the boat and we were coming into the locks side by side, he was a good lad.DSCF2356 We did have to turn a few locks but not to many before reaching the bottom and stopping opposite The Cape for lunch. After lunch we were off alone.

As we approached Kate Boats there were a family of swans, eating what swans are supposed to eat, not bread.DSCF2357

At the back of Kate Boats there is a structure which looks very much like a bridge over the entrance to a basin, but looks to be built of scaffolding and then clad, my thought are its an access training platform or maybe a theatrical prop as it has several lines, pulleys and shackles on it.DSCF2359

Passing the student accommodation at Leamington an old brick building has had the back wall completely covered with graffiti, I am not sure how they managed it but it looks very impressive.DSCF2360

We continued on to moor opposite the church at Radford Semele for the night, all the moorings against the pilling were takes so where we are its well silted so another fair step to the bank.

Today's Journeymap 36 8 Miles 23 Locks in 4½ hours

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Hatton Wednesday 28 August 2019

Day : Wednesday
Date : 28 August 2019
Start : 1030
Finish : 1400 Top of Hatton

I have uploaded our proposed route to CanalPlanAC if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

Nice meal in The Boot Inn, not cheap but enjoyable, all the special board items were fish including Hake and Halibut, not what you normally find in a pub. My only warning is if you eat in the bar watch where you sit, the bench I was on had a moulding the whole length of the back, so you couldn't lean back.

This morning we were away at 1030, the first boat went by at 6 am so the locks were against us, but after turning the first 2 there were a stream of boats coming up so the other 4 were with us. We stopped for water after the fourth.

The old bridge crossing the tail of lock 19 has now been removed and they have put fencing round the bases of the temporary bridge up to the canal edge so its a balancing act to go from tail to head with an empty lock.DSCF2344

As we left Kingswood Junction to join the Grand Union we spotted a housing estate going up right on the corner, I hope the new owners are keen train spotters.DSCF2346

The signpost at the junction has started to lean towards the canal a but, and its not that long since it was overhauled.DSCF2347

Coming along the Grand Union there has been bit of a landslideDSCF2350 CRT have put A4 notices up about 50 feed before you get there warning you of it, your bows are level with the obstruction before you can read the sign, it might be OK if you are walking, but with a boat its not much help.DSCF2351

We only met one boat on the GU and that was half way through Shrewley Tunnel. That without doubt is the wettest tunnel we have been through this trip and the left hand side was even wetter than our side.
Last time we came this way these old boats were up for sale for I think it was £10k they are just deteriorating and deteriorating, I doubt you could give them away now.DSCF2352

It was only a short day today, mooring at the top of Hatton locks ready for the decent tomorrow, hopefully it wont be raining like it is at the moment.

Today's Journeymap 355¾ Miles 6 Locks in 3½ hours

Tuesday 27 August 2019

Kingswood Tuesday 27 August 2019

Day : Tuesday
Date : 27 August 2019
Start : 1015
Finish : 1615 Kingswood

I have uploaded our proposed route to CanalPlanAC if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

Well the old boat is falling apart a bit at a time, last night the bathroom light threw its hand in. I had been planning to convert this to LED and already had a few bits in hand, so this morning I removed the guts and fitted two flat LED G4 replacements of a bout 2.5 Watts each, I am not sure they are really bright enough through the diffuser so may add a third.

As you can see we were a good couple of feet out last night, but at least we didn't bang as boats went by.DSCF2325

After sorting the light we set off a little after ten and were soon passing through the broken Shirley Draw Bridge, which I understand had been given a good bang with a lorry, its split all the welds on the rails one side and distorted the bed.DSCF2327

Work at the Earlswood Motor Yacht club has progressed over the past 3 weeks since we passed last with the old club house gone as well as some of the buildings at the back.DSCF2328

We saw very little traffic until we stopped for lunch (and stock up with beer) at Hockley Heath then a boat moored in behind us, a little later another arrived so as we had finished lunch we moved off and let them have the space. As I mentioned before , we passed acres of Christmas trees growing alongside the canal.DSCF2338

I have noticed this under the bridge before but today I realised it is actually under two bridges which must make the boundary look interesting.

DSCF2334   DSCF2339

We didn't do very well at the Lapworth locks only meeting two boat and having a hire boat pull out in front of us after the second lock down. We just got to the bottom and it started to rain quite heavily and I expected a storm, but it only lasted a few minutes. Tonight we plan to eat in The Boot pub, we have heard good reports but have never been.

Today's Journeymap 348¼ Miles 13 Locks in 5¾ hours

Monday 26 August 2019

Shirley Monday 26 August 2019

Day :Monday
Date :26 August 2019
Start :1100
Finish :1735 Shirley

I have uploaded our proposed route to CanalPlanAC if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

Last night we were moored almost opposite the plaque marking DSCF2306where tom Rolt was moored with Cressy when he had a meeting with Robert Ackerman and they decided to form the IWA. I first time I came this way I moored over there and very good moorings they were, Today for some reason they are now no mooring withDSCF2303 special red no mooring signs. I have no idea why.

This morning the first job was to fiddle with the fresh water tank level gauge, it still shows full 3 days after the last top up and half empty when I drain it. I expect it will need to go back for attention. The result of this was it was gone 11 when we set off, meeting a boat in Tardebigge Tunnel with a rather bright headlight, luckily the next boat hadn't entered the tunnel as we left as it was a day boat with 2 LED spotlights on each side of the cabin. It wasn't long before we were in Shortwood Tunnel, this one is just raw rock, no brick lining other than the ends. DSCF2310

Can you imagine meeting this boat in one of the tunnels?DSCF2313

We stopped for lunch on the new cutting where the M42 crosses the canal, part of the original line is still in water but is now a nature reserve, the original line can be seen on this map from old loopWaterways Routes I guess the canal was still important enough for them not to block it when they built the motorway so the built the bridge and new cut before crossing the canal proper.

After lunch we were soon we were in the longest tunnel of the day, Wast Hill tunnel, all brick lined, dead straight and 2726 yards long tunnel where we met yet another boat, this time his headlight was no problem. As the light from the end of the tunnel started to illuminate the roof I spotted it was covered in small stalactites.DSCF2316

This is an information board just a short way from the end of the tunnel on the off side, I would have thought the canal would have stored sufficient water for them, but maybe it was too polluted.DSCF2317

After leaving the tunnel it wasn't far to Kings Norton Junction where the old toll house suffered an arson attack in February.DSCF2320 Here we turned right, a much easier turn than if coming from Birmingham onto the North Stratford canal. a short while later it was the fourth tunnel of the day, Brandwood Tunnel. This means that we had done almost 2½ miles underground. On the North Stratford we also passed this pair of figures, I think they look like children made from wire netting, I don't know if the owner plans to plant them up with hedging of just have them as decorations.DSCF2322

We finally moored for the night about 3ft from the bank just before the aqueduct over the River Cole at Shirley.

Today's Journey map 3312¾ Miles 1 Lock (a stoplock) in 4¾ hours

Sunday 25 August 2019

Tardebigge Sunday 25 August 2019

Day  Sunday
Date : 25 August 2019
Start :1100hrs
Finish :1450 Hrs Tardebigge top lock

I have uploaded our proposed route to CanalPlanAC if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

This morning the first boat passed us going up the flight at 6-30am. then about 9am a CRT work boat went up. My policy if I am not in a rush is to wait for at least one boat to come down, at least that way one lock will be with us. While I waited I decided to change the diesel pre filter, the changing went OK but the bleeding left something to be desired as 5 minutes later the engine stopped. As I now needed to bleed the injectors I decided I may as well change the on engine filter as well. I am pleased to say that there was no signs of water of the dreaded bug but the pre filter was a bit mucky well its probably had over 4000 lts of diesel through it as that how much I have bought since it was last changed. The engine hour were 3236. Once the system was fully bled we were ready for the off and lo and behold a boat had come down the fight. What we didn't expect to see was the CRT work boat just leaving the second lock going up, it turned out they were cleaning and doing lock maintenance, they even drew a paddle for us. As we passed they informed us there were another 7 boats coming down the flight. As we came up in the lock I spotted these giant puff balls in a field of DSCF2291sheep. After this things got better with the locks in our favour and spotting a hire boat coming down we could also leave the top gates open. Once we crossed with the hire boat it was obvious that they had been leaving the bottom gates open all the way. we carried on, always meeting oncoming boats at convenient times all the way to Tardebigge reservoir, after that the locks were of varying fullness, from a foot to full. At the lost bridge we passed under the old telephone insulators can still be seen where the telephone wires ranDSCF2294 under the bridge In all honesty I couldn't have wished for a better run, just two full locks to turn out of 30, especially welcome in this heat. We completed the flight in 3 hours 50 minutes but it was too hot to chase about.
You get a very good view of the village church from the top lock with its interesting spire.DSCF2295 Once clear of the flight we moored on the first bit of towpath beyond the lock moorings.

Today's Journeymap 32

3¾ Miles 30 Locks in 3¾ hours

Saturday 24 August 2019

The Queens Head Saturday 24 Auguste 2019

Day : Saturday
Date : 14 August 2019
Start : 1030
Finish : 1700hrs Bottom of Tardebigge Flight

I have uploaded our proposed route to CanalPlanAC if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

Last night at sometime we had a visitor as we found there footprints on the front deck and down the gunwale.DSCF2269

Thanks to Saturday Live we were a bit late getting away and it had just turned 1030 when we set off. As Diana was driving I managed to get a better photo of the brickwork inside Dunhampstead tunnelDSCF2272where the brickwork joins.

As we approached Hanbury Wharf where we stopped for diesel we passed this shed, not only have they been collecting CRT signs they also have a CRT padlock, which according to the notices at Droitwich cost £80 each and I am helping to pay for this.DSCF2277

We had mixed fortunes on the locks and only one turned on us, which I don't understand. A straight section of canal and I watched a boat come out of the lock, he then sat in the lock mouth while his crew turned the lock. My first thought was he has a butty, but as I got closer his crew hurried along the lock and rejoined the boat, there was a boat a 100 yards above the lock to come down but between them they had only drawn 1 top paddle, Once the crew was back on board the boat set off as I was coming into the lock mooring, not a word was said. Eventually the other paddle was drawn and after a delay the boat set off from 100 yards back into the lock and came down. Strange.

We stopped for water above Astwood and a boat came by just as I was about to set off, chatting to him below Stoke bottom lock he said he was going through the lock, wind and then come down again, I wished him luck with Black Prince moving boats about on turn round day. Things weren't helped by CRT leaving a workboat on the lock moorings, below Black Prince hire base, over a Bank Holiday and on turn round day. Anyway things didn't go to plan for the boat ahead, he went up, a Black Prince came down, we went up and he was second in the queue to come back down. There were two Volockies on the next flight, a lady and a gent, in radio contact with each other to aid boat movements, one of the boats coming down had so many flowers I don't know how he could see to steer.DSCF2289

We continued up the flight to moor opposite The Queens Head. Just before we reached the pub I could see the sails of a windmillDSCF2290 in the distance. it was Avoncroft Museum and we had attended an IWA AGM there a few years ago. I had tried to ring to book a table but they weren't answering the phone. When we arrived the place was heaving as usual and the normal story, if you can find a table in the bar area you can eat. We went over about 7pm and there were loads of places in the bar to sit so it wasn't a problem. The place is not cheep for a pub, but the food is better than some and for a place that is so busy the service was good.

Its been quite warm today, so much so that the Ipad shut down on over temperature.

Today's Journeymap 31

10¼ Miles 12 Locks in 6¼ hours

Friday 23 August 2019

Tibberton Friday 23 August 2019

Day : Friday
Date : 23 August 2019
Start : 1140
Finish : 1510 Tibberton Visitor Moorings

I have uploaded our proposed route to CanalPlanAC if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

A small disturbance yesterday evening when one of three lads walking by stepped on the gunwale and made the boat rock, well gone by the time I put my head out, other than that a very quiet mooring.

This morning we visited the Cathedral before setting off at 1140 hrs. Looking out of the porthole before we departed we saw this Moorhen enjoying a fallen damson.DSCF2256

Worcester has quite an interesting brick railway bridge over the canal right by the entrance to Lowesmoor Wharf the home of Worcester Marina. I wonder how many bricks they saved havingDSCF2259 the hole above the towpath?

The Landsdown bridge beside the recreation ground has been nicely decorated on its abutments, better than plane concrete covered in unsavory graffiti.DSCF2261

We had mixed luck with the locks as although there were boats coming down we caught up with the boat ahead going up in the first part of the journey, after that it was just a stead passing of boats coming the other way. We picked some Victoria Plumbs just above Tolladine lock and just had a bowl full when a boat came down, continuing up the flight we almost had lock 15 turned on us, we were well on the way to the lock from No. 14 when we saw a lady struggling to raise a top paddle, if the paddles had not be so heavy she would have succeeded, a few blasts on the horn eventually caught her attention. The top lock, lock 16 for some reason needs to be left empty, I have no idea why. Also today there are now 2 paddles out of action coming up the locks, it was only one last week when we came this way.

We moored up a little after 3 at the Tibberton 2 day Visitor moorings and walked up to The Bridge pub to check the beer out, but I wasn't over impressed, I prefer something a bit darker

Today's Journeymap 307 Miles 14 Locks in 3½ hours

Thursday 22 August 2019

Worcester Thursday 22 August 2019

Day : Thursday
Date : 22 August 2019
Start : 1100
Finish : 1715 Worcester

I have uploaded our proposed route to CanalPlanAC if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

Last night we said goodbye to George at the end of his second week with us. We had a farewell dinner at The Gardner's Arms and it was very good with very friendly service. I would recommend this pub if you want somewhere to eat while moored in Droitwich. Only one thing to watch the menu in the bar and restaurant are different.

The mooring was quieter than I expected and the trains didn't disturb us at all, it was 11am when we set off heading to the River Severn again, but higher up. Since we were last this way it looks as if more sections of towpath have been cut so it may be possible to moor here.DSCF2250

We passed under Salwarpe Bridge 7 which is a large brick built bridge on a sharp bend, There are holes in the brickwork in the arch of the bridge and I can only guess that these were to support timbers for the former of a scaffold.DSCF2251

At the old swing bridge No.6a which is now laying in the undergrowth there is this sign, its a bit late in the day if you draw more than 1.1 Mt when you have come this far.DSCF2252

A the first lock we came to we caught up with a hire boat who had left the basin quite a bit earlier than us, but by sharing locks Diana was able to walk to the next lock and set ahead all the time right down to Porters Mill Lock. At Porters Mill Lock the gates were open and the hire boater who had the rope around the prop yesterday was waiting to go in, but he very kindly waved us both past. below the lock all crews rejoined the boats and we set off following the hire boat to Mildenham Lock, it then became obvious why we caught up with the hire boat, I didn't get above tick over. Once through the lock, where not only did we meet two boats leaving the lock so the gates were open but we met another as we left the lock so could also leave it open, I made sure I was away first as I knew the other boat was stopping overnight above Hawford top lock. When we arrived at the lock there were already 2 boats there and a CRT work boat and only a small piece of bank mooring. We moored alongside the work boat and then I managed to pull us both back by two rings, so when the hire boat eventually arrived there was room for him to get bank side for the night.

After lunch we were off again, there is one of the nice new flowDSCF2253 indicator boards at the lock showing there were no problems on the Severn, so we dropped through the two locks and as instructed by the board rang the Bever Lock keeper to tell him we were coming, but I only got his answer machine so left a message.

There is a lot of work ongoing at Bevere Weir that we could see asDSCF2255 we approached the lock. Looking ahead I could see a green light which should indicate the lock is ready for us, but the top gates were closed, then it went red and the lock gates started to open, it should flash read to show the lock is being made ready, its soon turned to green and we were away. When we left the lock I looked back and the light was green and the gates shut. It only took us an hour to get to Diglis Lock which was empty, on the way we passed about 150 swans, no wonder they need bread to survive at that sort of density. We had just started filling the lock when a boat appeared below so Dian not only drew the bottom paddles but helped them lock up, by now a boat had turned the top lock so I went and helped them down. Eventually the boat joined us in the second lock heading back up to Alvechurch for Sunday morning, so we let them go first and helped them up Sidbury Lock. We carried on a bit further and moored on the rings just after Blockhouse lock and before Pizza express.

Today's Journeymap 29

14¾ Miles 13 Locks in 5½ hours