Droitwich Spa Marina to Vines Park and Back Again
1.5 miles, 10 locks, 2 Swingbridges
We came aboard on Saturday and rather foolishly decided not to light the fire. We were fine all evening with just the central heating, but oh boy was it cold during the night! Monty is usually very good and keeps to his bed in the saloon, but when it is cold he comes and joins us for warmth! He does, at least, keep to the foot end of the bed and doesn't wriggle.
The day started off quite sunny, but that soon disappeared and with a cold wind blowing it was going to be a chilly trial run. Our daughter and her two sons (now 10 and 7) came and joined us mid morning and we set off fairly sharply. As we left there was a boat moored just past the marina either loading or unloading and another waiting to come into the marina. The first lock is a staircase and only a few hundred yards from the marina. 6 months of living on shore has addled our brains! I am afraid that we forgot to empty the bottom lock before we started to empty the top one! Thankfully we realised before it was too late and were able to retrieve the situation with no damage done and minimal loss of water. There had been a boat coming out of the lock as we arrived, so we had no time to stop and think! Must do better next time. The boat that had been either loading or unloading as we left came up behind us, so far more traffic than we had expected.
From there it was an uneventful run down to Vines Park in Droitwich and lady luck was shining down on us as the one mooring below the lock into the park was empty, so we winded and tied up for lunch. The next mooring would have meant two more swing bridges, one of which is really hard. Chris popped over to Waitrose and our daughter took the boys to the play park whilst I made the lunch.
Just before we wanted to return a boat had come down the lock into the park and had conveniently moored on the lock landing! It is a broad lock so we made it in without contact and it looked as though they were preparing to move - we assumed to the mooring we had left. However, once they saw that we had made it into the lock, they re-tied and went back inside!
The water level under the M5 culvert was a bit lower going back - it had been a tight squeeze going down. We had had to unfold the cratch cover from the top and let it hang down as on the way down we just touched the height marker
|On the way back|
Just a few shots of our trip back up - it all went very smoothly and the extra crew helped make light work of it.
There is one member of the crew who has not forgotten what his lock duties are
You might wonder why we chose to do a day trip on such a cold day? It was see how we managed with my right leg somewhat impaired whilst we had help on hand if we should need it. I am glad to say that we both feel that all will be well, so, as long as the results from the MRI scan (due Tues or Wed) do not decree otherwise, we will head off on our 2019 cruise on Thursday. We will have to take our time and I will probably still do the locks, but there will not be walking between locks or locking ahead and walking back and forth. I had no problem winding or opening and closing the gates which is what Chris struggles with. So hopefully, normal summer service will soon resume.