Thursday 11th – Friday 12th June 2015
8 Miles 14 Locks
First job was to load up and this is what happened as we were loading the car at home
We set off around 11:30 on Thursday 11th June in glorious sunshine, but with a good wind blowing which always makes leaving the marina interesting. We are a few weeks late, but I am glad to say that my leg is healing and I got the go ahead from the nurse to head off on our travels. We have industrial quantities of dressings and Chris will be the nurse for the foreseeable future.
The only locks of the day were Hanbury where we were met by James the VLK (voluntary lock keeper) who, as always, was a great help. I have been sorry to read of less than co-operative and downright obstructive VLKs that some other bloggers have experienced recently. The ones round here are always helpful, cheerful and polite and I hope we are found to be the same when we do our shifts at the Stoke Flight. It was quite busy at Hanbury and the water was low, so James’ expertise at this flight was very helpful. We made it through and headed off to Hanbury Turn. A look out at the front is always wise here!
We discovered that Monty has not forgotten his favourite position when travelling particularly if one of us is at the front. It might only be 59 feet away and on the same boat, but he still thinks the flock is too far apart!
Once round the turn, Monty and I enjoyed a peaceful walk
Until Bridge 31 where we waited
For our transport!
We assume this is a wasp trap, but thankfully we have not seen many yet
It was a pleasant cruise to Tibberton where we found a mooring at the end of a line of boats – far enough from the Pub and the M5 to be very peaceful. We got chatting to the couple on the hire boat next to us (as you do!) and they are at the nearly retired stage and thinking about getting a boat. They popped over to visit, inspect and talk boats (including the inevitable toilets of course) and shared in our first Pimms of the trip on what was a wonderful sunny evening. Good luck Gary and Jane and do let us know if and when you realise your dream.
Friday we set off at 09:00 as we had 11 locks to tackle before meeting up with The Captain and Boatwif on nb Cleddau in Worcester. This is the approach to the top lock at Offerton with the very noisy M5 behind the boat.
Is this a Des Res for chickens?
At Offerton Bottom Lock I spied a little gate at the bottom of the steps and I just had to go and see where it went
The Worcester Warriors training ground we think. Whoever it belongs it was worth the trip as I found a bin for disposing of a Monty deposit.
We were lucky that most locks were either full or nearly full and only Tolladine Lock was busy with a boat above
We sailed on past the winding hole (where nb Cleddau will need to wind/turn) between Bilford Top and Bottom Locks.
On to Gregory Mill Top Lock and there she was – Boatwif had come to lend a hand and what a welcome she got from Monty (and us of course).
There is some interesting artwork on billboards (hiding a building site of new homes) before you get to the sports ground
Including one celebrating the reason we are here in Worcester for the weekend - the bicentennial of the opening of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.
A bit further on and there she was – nb Cleddau and The Captain who got an enthusiastic Monty greeting.
Next job was to help them take Cleddau back up to the winding hole and shortly after we set off the rain started!
The wind was started – note the hand signals at the bow
Until Boatwif disappeared into the undergrowth
On the way up to the winding hole, Boatwif and I had to shut the lock gates as these two swans were determined to take their two (apparently they started out with five) cygnets into the lock – not wise with 16 tons of boat!
When we got back to the mooring the swans were still safe with one of the cygnets hitching a lift in the rain.
A meal together was enjoyed Friday night – we did not brave the weather down to the festival site due to very heavy rain, although I gather that the bands did continue and some people turned up. Not what they had hoped for I am sure.