Saturday, 5 June 2010

Shirley, Alvechurch, and Hanbury Wharf

To Shirley on the North Stratford today, for a boat test.  We parked at The Drawbridge and walked down to where the boat was moored between bridges 9 and 10.  The summit pound is several inches lower than it should be, and it's a deep draughted boat, so we spent quite a lot of our trip dragging the bottom.  At the Shirley Lift Bridge, we probably upset quite a few motorists, as a large lump of rope round the prop meant that our progress through the bridge was extremely slow -- quite a large queue had built up by the time we made it.  It was lunchtime by the time the test was completed, so we went to the pub for lunch with David, the photographer, (in payment for our parking!)  You'd think that as hyalf a dozen boats came through the bridge while we were there, I'd have at least one photo.  But I haven't.

Leaving the pub at about 2pm, we decided to visit a couple of other canal places that we haven't seen for many years, and about which we remember nothing.  We did the Stourport Ring on a hire boat some ten years ago, but memories are very few and far between.  So first stop was Alvechurch, where we parked near Bridge 64 and walked along the tow path to Alvechurch Boat Centre and back.  The tow path was well used, and lined with yellow irises.

A little Anglo Welsh day boat came chugging along, and at ABC there were loads of hire boats, presumably between outings.

We decided to head for Hanbury Wharf, near the junction of the Droitwich Canal.  Our route took us through Stoke Wharf, where we passed the Black Prince base.  We parked at Hanbury Wharf, hoping for an ice cream, but the shop was closed.  So after a look at the locks on the Droitwich, we went to the Eagle and Sun for a cold drink and a slice of cheesecake, sat outside overlooking the Worcs and Birmingham.

Then it was back home, via the M5 and the M4, a route which somehow seems more pleasant than the long slog down the A34.

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