Wednesday, 16 July 2008


It's still two months until we're next out on Debdale, but planning is already well under way. Actually, it's replanning that's underway, because we already had a plan. Or two.

Plan A was to do the Avon Ring. Starting at Stockton Top, we'd head down the Grand Union to Kingswood Junction, down the Stratford Canal to Stratford, along the Avon to Tewkesbury, up the Severn to Worcester, along the Worcester and Birmingham to King's Norton Junction, down the Lapworth flight, and back to Stockton Top on the GU. With the Hatton flight (twice), Tardebigge, and Lapworth, it would be a busy fortnight but that's what we like.

Plan B added a quick diversion into Birmingham before heading back down the North Straftord, principally because Adrian's mother will be with us, and she fancied seeing Birmingham from the water.

Plan C changed the route out of Birmingham. Instead of turning round and heading back along the Birmingham and Worcs, we'd go down the Farmer's Bridge locks (one of my favourite flights), then at Aston Junction cover some new territory by going down the Ashted Locks, through Warwick Bar, up Camp Hill Locks and on through Catherine de Barnes and Knowle. It added a few hours, but was still easily do-able.

Then Plan D began to formulate itself. Someone on the Canal World Forum posted about going through Birmingham to Dudley and Stourbridge. Then Indigo Dreaming blogged about a weekend taking in Windmill End and Merry Hill. I'd also been to Stourport a couple of months ago for the first time in about ten years, and thought how nice it would be to boat through again.

So Plan D means we'll stay on the Severn until Stourport, then take the Staffs and Worcs to Stourton Junction where we'll turn onto the Stourbridge Canal. We'll be covering new groud again as we go up the Stourbridge 16 and the Delph 9 (although there are only 8), through Merry Hill to Windmill End. Then we'll go through the Netherton Tunnel and into Birmingham.

So we've ended up with a route which CanalPlan AC says is 171 miles and 212 locks. It should take 95 hours, which over a fortnight averages about seven hours a day. I'm not guaranteeing that the plan won't change again, but that's it as it stands at the moment.


Nb Yarwood said...

Somebody is going to working very hard. Are you the lock boy?
NB Caxton

Adam said...

Yes, Lesley, I do most of the locks, largely because I love them! I can't understand people who want lock-free crusing. A day without locks means there's been something missing, which is one of the reasons we've never done the Ashby, and I also find the North Oxford a bit tedious!

Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

You'd better keep publishing the updates to the plan so I stand a chance of appearing in the right place at the right time with a windlass.

We regularly cruise the BCN (from our home mooring at Sherborne Wharf) so feel free to ask about safe places to moor.

We did the Stourbridge 16 and Delph 8 over the last two days, and the hwole of teh BCN recently filming for teh BCN DVD which will be the next to be edited.

Hope I manage to catch up with you somewhere on the cruise - what are the dates of your fortnight?

Adam said...

Hi Paul

Yes, I've been following your trips filming around the BCN, and your phots of the Stourbridge and Delph Locks confirmed our decision to go that way.

Our proposed mooring sites in that area are Stourton Junction, Windmill End, Old Turn Junction, and either Catherine de Barnes or Knowle (depending on our progress out of the city!). They're all places we've either used before, or have been told they're suitable.

Our fortnight starts on 12 September. We'll probably use Sherborne Wharf for our mid-cruise pump out, so we'll look out for Waterway Routes. We're also hoping to try out mobile internet this trip, so our progress can be tracked!


Halfie said...

Adam, I know what you mean about the necessity of locks for a satisfying cruise. We've just had a couple of weeks on the Bridgewater and Leeds & Liverpool (west of Wigan). Had we not gone down the Rufford Branch as well, we'd have encountered just nine locks each way (including Dutton stop lock which hardly counts). We did have our "money's worth" of swing bridges, though! And it was a good cruise, despite the paucity of locks and the abundance of rain!

I'm just planning our week on Shadow next month: we're also planning on doing some of the Severn (Shadow's now moored at Worcester). According to Waterscape the locks are in operation from 0800 to 1900 at this time of year. We're hoping to get to the IWA Festival for Sat night/ Sun morning, but progress will be determined by our time of leaving the marina and whether we can get off the river onto the Staffs and Worcs by the Friday night.


Adam said...

Hi Halfie, yes I couldn't cope without a good few locks to tackle! I'm enjoying your blogs about your trip -- you'll have to make sure you get the whole holiday done before you go on the next one! We're planning to be at the IWA on the Sunday (by road, unfortunately) so we'll look out for you. Oh, and thanks for the mention about the Canal Boat article too.

Halfie said...

Thanks for the comments about my blog. You're right - I have only three and a half weeks before the next trip! And I was going to try to make the posts a bit more interesting than a straightforward cruising log. Will have to get on with it.

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