Wednesday, 7 October 2015

To Hopwood and Alvechurch

Sunday & Monday 4th and 5th October 2015

Sunday 4th October 2015
Earlswood to Hopwood
10.5 miles, 0 locks

Another glorious day dawned dry, bright and sunny.

Just miles to travel today rather than locks, but it was a good job we had plenty of time as every time we met a boat it was always just at a bend or where there was a moored boat.

They say a good crop of autumn berries heralds a harsh winter - are we going to have to batten down the hatches?  The hedgerows are heavily laden.

We passed this house with a very neat canal side area - a great use of astro turf in our opinion.

Turn left at Kings Norton Junction once you are through the stop lock.  For those who are not familiar with canals - a stop lock was purely a way of stopping boats leaving one waterway and entering another - charges were often applied, so they needed a way to stop the traffic.  In addition, water was a scarce resource (yes, even in the UK!) and by this stop lock is an interpretation notice which states that the stop lock-keeper in 1810 had to maintain a one inch difference between the Birmingham / Worcester canal and the North Stratford canal.  This was so that the Stratford canal owners could not be accused of stealing water from the Worcester / Birmingham canal.

We moored safely at Hopwood at the end of the visitor moorings.

Our daughter came and collected Chris to take him home to collect our car and move it to Alvechurch and she then delivered him back to Hopwood.  During that time Monty and I walked along the tow path to Bittell.  The fishing lake was busy - a warm and dry Sunday.

This is the view across the canal to one of the reservoirs

and this a view the other way.

Monday 5th October 2015
Hopwood to Alvechurch
2.5 miles, 0 locks

A very different day - there had been a lot of rain overnight and it was still raining as we set off.  We all dressed accordingly including Monty.  However, as we pulled pins the rain stopped, but we were committed and in wet weather gear.  Monty and I walked to Bittell - unfortunately his determination to shout at every possible squirrel in the trees led to him ripping his coat.  No biscuits for month to pay for a new one!!

The fishing lakes on a chilly, wet Monday were empty.

I took a distant shot of the reservoir yesterday with what I thought was a fisherman, but on taking a close up today I found it is a dummy.  Today's walk was marred by the ever present thunder of
 the M42.  Something I was not as aware of yesterday when it was dry.

This house featured in the television programme "A Place in the Sun" last year.  The couple were looking for either a house near the Canal du Midi or one in the UK - the one thing they had in common - they had to have a mooring for their boat, They chose the UK and this property in Alvechurch. Last year when we went past the boat was not present - now it is.

We noticed this new mooring at The Crown Inn, Withybed, but no sign of mooring rings as yet.  We will watch this space.

We have booked into Alvechurch Marina, so Chris could see a doctor which was done on Tuesday and yes he does have a chest infection.  He returned with antibiotics and steroid tablets as he suffers from asthma.  We are taking a short break to allow the pills to work.

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