Netherwich Basin, Droitwich to Droitwich Spa Marina
1.5 miles, 5 locks, 3 swing bridges
With such a short journey ahead we did not hurry at all. It was bright and sunny and we set out with Monty to go to the playing fields for a game of ball. We had not even got out of Vines Park when it started to spit. We sheltered under a tree to no avail and had to make a dash back to the boat. As Sue from Cleddau would say it was "2W4C" - too wet for camera!
We could not wait for ever, so started to make our preparations. Our biggest regret was that we had not taken the cratch down before we went for a walk. With so much rain recently we decided that the whole lot would have to come down to ensure we made it through the M5 culvert. Thankfully we have two good tarpaulins to protect the bed, but it would have been a lot easier without it all being wet.
First job was to move to the water point to fill the tank - any extra weight to keep the bow low in the water is essential. That done we moved off to the first swing bridge to find that a hire boat had just come through, and as they had not locked it they kindly opened it up again for us. We were thus able to sail through and moor up opposite Waitrose. I popped in for the paper and a few other bits and we then had lunch before heading off again.
The first obstacle is the swing bridge opposite Waitrose - it really needs two people to release the lock. One to push the bridge and one to remove the padlock. Debby from nb Chuffed said she leans over from the bridge and manages it that way. I failed! Chris moored up and came to lend a hand. Success and he went through and was about to moor up to help me again when a kindly man stopped to lend a hand.
Next comes the barge lock at the edge of the park - this has a swing bridge in the middle. I opened one gate, then over the bridge to open the other one. I swung the bridge; Chris entered. There were a group of lads on the other side of the lock, so I asked them if they would be kind enough to close the gate their side. They were only too eager and jumped to it and also helped me with the gates to let us out once the water had levelled. The rain had stopped, but it was still deemed to be 2W4C, so no photos!
One more lock and we arrived at the M5 culvert. The height board on the Droitwich side is in need of a lot of attention! It is of little use in its present state.
The water level looked about right for us, so we hoped we would be okay.
We were and could have left the cratch up and just taken the cover down. Still better safe than sorry.
We emerge unscathed
Looking back - this is what the board the other end should look like!
One more single lock and a staircase of two and we would be there. As we were rising in the single lock I spied people at the staircase - were they coming down?
Yes - please note the gentleman in a red t-shirt
The boat emerged, they shut the gates, which we assumed meant the man in the red t-shirt was coming down behind them. I asked the ladies with windlasses if this was the case. 'No I don't think so - we have not seen any other boats at all', they said. I politely said that if that was the case if they saw boats coming up it was okay to leave the gates open. 'Oh', one replied 'I did not see you at all'!! The man in the red top was indeed coming down. I think I might suggest a trip to Specsavers for the lead boat!! Anyway I helped the other boat down - he was on his own, but young enough leap up and down ladders with ease and to even move the boat from top to bottom lock whilst kneeling on the roof! He was astounded when I told him that the other boat had no idea he was there even though he had filled the top lock whilst they were in the bottom one.
I think he might have been in for a frustrating trip as the boat ahead had only just exited the single lock in the time he had got down the staircase and nearly got all the way to the next lock.
He is very efficient - he just drove up to the lock, stepped off the bow and opened paddles on both sides. I suspect he would have arrived at the next lock well before the other boat is out of it, or maybe even still in it!
turned round to get a spoon out of the drawer when there was a popping noise. I turned back to find tea everywhere and the mug in two parts!
Sadly the tea had leached into the two large drawers below the work top, so we now have two very clean and tidy galley drawers!
Our future plans are flexible, but we hope to be back in Droitwich for the Salt Festival on 7th and 8th September. We take delivery of Kiera (Monty's black Labrador friend) on the 8th and hope we will head off somewhere for at least another month. It will all depend on various appointments we have and the weather. Surely we deserve an Indian summer as we seem to have missed the real summer?
Our statistics for this summer cruise that started on Thursday 18th April.
We have travelled 503 miles, gone through 329 locks, 30 swing/lift bridges, 13 tunnels, over 134 aqueducts of varying size and under motorways on 22 occasions. We passed through 5 counties (not including Greater Manchester - which I am given to understand is a unitary authority) and travelled along 11 waterways.