Saturday, 16 April 2016

The best laid plans....

Thursday 15th April 2016
Stratford to Wilmcote
3 miles, 16 locks

The plan had been to travel from Droitwich Spa Marina to Netherwich Basin in the centre of Droitwich (a direct route of 2.75 miles, 5 locks and 3 swing bridges a journey of around 2.75 hours) by the scenic route - up the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, down the Stratford Canal and then take the Rivers Avon and Severn to the Barge Canal and up to Droitwich.  Sadly it was not to be.  I went to get a licence for the Avon this morning only to be told that the river was at amber (travel with caution) but the Severn was shut as it was four feet higher than usual.  So the only option was to turn round and travel back up the 41.25 miles and 99 locks the way we had come!

First we had to leave the basin, but I am afraid we had 'Monty's double' with us today.  He is usually very good, but just occasionally his naughty twin comes to the fore.  As we were preparing to leave he jumped ship and went and lay on the grass behind the boat and refused to come back on board. We started to move off and when he realised we really were going he sped back along the pontoon and got back on board.  It provided quite a lot of hilarity for the watching tourists!

It was not to be our day - as we were about to leave the basin a boat came in from the canal, winded (turned round) and headed up the canal right in front of us which meant every lock was against us.  At the second lock we came across this large party of Canal and River Trust volunteers repairing the path.

Not only did we have a boat ahead of us, we also had rain and no voluntary lock keepers at Wilmcote.

Still we made it and found a good mooring at Wilmcote before we headed into the village which is home to Mary Arden's home (Shakespeare's mother).  Chris and I have been there before, so did not feel the need to visit again.

On the towpath by the moorings is a board with local information that states that the villag store is the best along this canal.  I can confirm that they are absolutely correct. It has a far better choice of fresh fruit and vege than anywhere else we have come across.

They also have something that is new to us - a mobile Post Office

Friday 16th April 2016
Wilmcote to Wootton Wawen
3.5 miles, 1 lock

A short day for us today which was just as well as it was filthy weather.

A wet walk back to the village to get the paper.

A very wet ride - to start with Kiera sensibly decided to stay inside by the fire

but she did eventually succumb and went out to stand in the rain.

We only had one lock to do today and we were lucky enough to arrive as the only boat we saw moving came out of it.

We now have a 'boot tree' to join the 'spanner tree' we passed a few days ago!

We had the pick of the moorings at Wootton Wawen - it had stopped raining when we got there

and we had a pleasant view across the cut to our neighbours for tonight

Their patience was rewarded with a walk

But the order of the day was mud
 more mud
 yet more mud
  and yet more not so glorious mud!

The boat was so clean and sparkly when we left a couple of weeks ago and now we are far from clean!! With two dogs it is pointless doing too much until the weather improves and/or we are due at the St Richard's festival on the first May Bank Holiday weekend.

The rain stopped for part of the afternoon, but started again about 6pm and is still hammering it down as I type at midnight.  The biggest surprise of the day - a boat passed us at 11:45 which is (to us) a ridiculously late hour even if it had not been pouring with rain!  Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for us all.

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