Thursday, 7 April 2016

Alvechurch and Earlswood

Tuesday 5th April 2016
Tardebigge to Alvechurch
3 miles, 0 locks

A very short trip today as we wanted to be in Alvechurch tonight for the monthly meeting of the Worcester, Birmingham and Droitwich Canal Society. The talk was 'Beyond the Lickey Incline' - this runs very close to our house.  The incline is the steepest sustained main-line railway incline in Great Britain. The climb is a gradient of 1 in 37.7 for a continuous distance of two miles.  It is located between Barnt Green and Bromsgrove Stations. There was also some details of the new railway station in Bromsgrove due to open next month - we were, however, told not to hold our breath!

Once we were moored Monty and I walked north along the tow path with a diversion along a short arm closed to boats and kept as a wildlife haven.  We have sailed past many times, but this was my first exploration.

What a fabulous house complete with a lot of mooring

This view shows just how big it is.  The one downside - the distant rumble of the M42

This is the first swan sitting on a nest I have seen this year - a lady did ask me if I had seen any ducklings yet - I haven't, but I am sure it won't be long.

Wednesday 6th April 2016
Hopwood to Earlswood
12.5 miles, 0 locks

A much longer day today as the forecast was for more sun than showers and thankfully they were proved to be correct.  Monty and I headed off to walk the first couple of miles to Hopwood.  I saw the first bluebells I have seen this year.

The fishing 'dummy' at Bittel Resevoir is still there.  I asked a local if he knew why it is there - the answer 'to deter the invasions of cormorants'  I asked if it worked.  'I have seen them land of the boat' was the reply!

If you are coming this way and fancy a cuppa there is a new Cafe near the fishing lakes

Shortly after Chris picked us up we went through Wast Hills Tunnel.  Despite being just over 1.5 miles long it is so straight you can see the light at the end of the tunnel before you actually enter.  Quite amazing when you think it is over 200 years old.

We emerged after about 30 minutes.  Just look at all the water on the roof of the boat - we were glad of our waterproofs.

It is not the best area round there

As we turned onto the Stratford Canal there were signs warning of work boats.

As soon as you get through the stop lock it is apparent what they are up to - creating another bike motorway.

This work boat was at quite an alarming angle - they were certainly busy.  The tow path is closed for about 0.75 mile until the Brandwood tunnel.

The sun continued and so did we until we moored at Earlswood - somewhere we have stayed a few times before.

We had struggled with engine rpm and steering for a time, (thought to be due to debris around the propeller) but managed to keep going until we moored.  Chris then took a trip down through the weed hatch to the prop and found this 'treasure'.  (Apparently the water was "freezing"or words to that effect!).  

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