About Me

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After thirty years of hiring, I finally bought my own 50ft boat in 2005, which was built in 2001 by Andicraft at Debdale Wharf. I mostly cruise single handed and have no problem with that, although it does take a little longer than with a crew. My mooring is on the Wey Navigation, so I have a choice of routes on the Wey or the Thames.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Grand Canal Tour 2014. Just Hanging Around.

After the excitement of last night with Nuneaton and Brighton and a distinct lack of beer, I was feeling under the weather. I thought it was just another bout of hay fever, so more antihistamines were called for, but they were just ineffective, so I realised than that it was a summer cold, which is a very rare event for me. I pottered about doing some minor jobs, but for most of the day I just felt like sleeping, which I did. I dragged myself to the pub later, making sure that I did not drip into my beer!

The following day I cruised down to Awbridge to see John and Jenny and was allowed to moor up at the Awbridge Pier, which is where they load coal into boats. John and I walked across to The Bell in the evening for a good old chat about boats and things.

I decided that it would be a good idea to visit The Severn Valley Railway, which is on the way to Stourport. Although I had been to Stourport before, I had approached on the River Severn and left by the same way, so now it was time to go via canal. I stopped off to pay a visit to Wightwick Hall on the way. It was owned by the Manders Paint magnate, Theodore Manders.
A visit to Wightwick Hall was well worth while.

The pretty Debdale Lock.
Rain was forecast for Friday and Saturday, so maybe it was not a good time to visit the railway or go boating either. Twice I had to pull in to the bank to take shelter after leaving the good moorings just below Kinver Lock. The second time was just above Wolverley Lock, where I decided to stay for the rest of the day, after getting a good soaking. What a surprise – there is a pub here called The Lock Inn!  It has quite a history from what I read in Nicholsons. It was previously several 16th C cottages and one of the landlords used to take payments for beer in cargoes from passing boats, which resulted in drunken boatmen with full wallets and half empty boats. I wonder if they still do that? Maybe they would take some of my junk in exchange for a few pints. Having paid a visit, it seems to be nothing out of the ordinary, with little character to extol it’s virtues.

It was tipping down overnight and the next day until about five pm. At one point a narrow boat reversed back to where I was moored and it appeared that a large tree had come down over the towpath and navigation. Fortunately, it was behind me and I heard later that they were not going to start work on it until Monday and today is Saturday. I also heard that it was too big for CRT to tackle and they had to bring in contractors. There was a queue of eight boats below where I was moored, which would take at least two hours to get through when the time comes.
The lock is on your right Matey!
The attractive approach to Kidderminster.
Kidderminster pub that I did not visit!
The rain finally gave way to sunshine on Sunday, so I made a move further south and moored up above York St. Lock at Stourport. Except that as I reversed towards the intended mooring, the blades wrapped up something large enough to stop rotation. There was no one to throw a line to, but I had just enough reverse motion to get into the bank and on investigation it turned out to be a large reinforced sack, which I had to cut off the propeller with a serrated knife.
Not the sort of thing you want around the blades!

The following morning I went through the lock to the water point, when a hire boat came along to moor at the chandlery moorings, but got shouted at by some jobsworth not to moor there, so I suggested they moor alongside me. You would think I had given them a pot of gold, so great was their thanks. I moored on the river pontoon after that, where it was nice and quiet.

I changed the oil and filter and then thought to go to a big motor factors close by to get another filter, which would be about half the price of one at a chandlery, except when I got there the building  was being demolished! I made enquiries locally and discovered that it had moved out to Sandy Lane Ind. Estate, which was more than walking distance away. On returning to the boat, I found that it was behind a marina further downstream and had thoughts of mooring up close by. When I approached Lincomb Lock, I made enquiries from the lock keeper, who said it was only ten minutes walk away and that I was welcome to moor on the bottom lock landing for a while. So I made it after all to Lloyds Garage and acquired more than I really needed.

It was very easy and pleasant cruising down the river in the afternoon sun and I arrived at Diglis Lock, Worcester about five pm and went through onto a pleasant mooring, close by The Anchor.
Worcester Cathedral looks amazing from the river.
Top lock into Diglis Basin.



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