Thursday, 24 July 2008
What a great place to live. I hope the owners like boats!
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
I arrived early, so took the opportunity to drive through Napton, which I've only ever seen up on the hill from the canal. It's a pretty village with a useful looking shop. I couldn't resist the opportunity to go to the locks, which were fairly busy with boats in both directions.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
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.
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
Saturday, 5 July 2008
We walked down the towpath following the rafts, but decided to turn back before the finishing line. It was quite a long way, and some of the crews (particularly the ones who were paddling rather than peddaling) looked rather tired and were going slower and slower.
Back at Millmead, the decorated boat parade was about to begin. I don't know who took the official title but our personal winner was Thomas the Tank Engine, complete with turning wheels and smoke coming out the chimney, with Thunderbird 2 coming a close second.
We stood on the sharp turn where the boats winded to go back to their moorings. Some got round with no problems at all, despite the strong gusty wind. Others made more of a meal of the turn, and one came close to getting wedged across the river.
Among the boats moored along the river was Herbie. We knew Herbie was there because of Neil's blog, but when we walked past there was no-one at home (the repainted roof looks very smart though!)