Thursday, 30 June 2011

Tardebigge done…

well almost!  We enjoyed it so much we thought we’d leave the top lock until tomorrow – the moorings are better here.  We were the first boat up this morning, and did the 29 locks in 4 hours exactly.  We thought that wasn’t too shabby, considering there are only the two of us – all the locks were either empty, or we met someone coming down. 

SDC10863Entering the first lock at 7.20 am

SDC10864Ok, bored now

SDC10865Half way

SDC10866Really, really bored now!

SDC10867My friend, the robin, watching me work

SDC10868Nice views from up here

SDC10869Just a few more

SDC10870Tardebigge Reservoir, just visible through a break in the trees

SDC10871Big paddle gear, used to empty the pound into the reservoir

SDC10872Now moored a little way below the top lock

2.1 miles and 29 locks


June 2011 – 98 miles and 127 locks

2011 Year to date – 500.3 miles and 384 locks

Poised for Tardebigge…

This morning we left Oddingley for the bottom of the Tardebigge flight.  We thought we were back on the Aylesbury Arm at one point, the canal is so overgrown with reeds.  We passed the other end of the Droitwich Barge Canal (which, incidentally, isn’t ‘officially’ open until the weekend, but a few boats have been up and down in the last week) and it was bedlam!  Two boats waiting under the bridge at Hanbury, to turn up into Hanbury Locks, one of which had to move out of the way so we could pass, and moored boats everywhere.  We were later followed up Stoke Locks by a party aboard a Canal Boat Club (ex Canaltime)  who had come up the Droitwich and been stopped at Hanbury yesterday by the locks closing at 3.30.  They couldn’t get through until after 10am this morning, and were rushing to be back at Alvechurch by 9.30 tomorrow morning.  Good luck to them – mind you, they were young and fit so Tardebigge should be no problem for them this afternoon.  We are now moored at the bottom of the Tardebigge Flight, poised for action tomorrow.  We visited the Queen’s Head and had lunch, then walked a few locks up the flight.  There were no boats to be seen, but a couple have come past this afternoon.  Everyone we meet has been saying how quiet the canal is.

SDC10855No room for manoeuvre

SDC10857Bedlam at the junction with the Droitwich

SDC10856Up the junction

SDC10859Pretty cottage at Astwood Lock…

SDC10858…with a beautiful garden on the other side of the lock – the Sweet Peas smelt wonderful!

SDC10860The Queen’s Head

SDC10861Windsong’s mooring for tonight

SDC10862Windsong just visible on the extreme left of the picture, poised for action just round the bend from the first lock

6.8 miles and 12 locks

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Answering yesterday’s comments…

The comments bit on the blog isn’t working again so:

Once the decision was made we stuck with it.  We aren't particularly comfortable on rivers, but we know the Severn well from living near Shrewsbury for a long time, and it can be a bit of a bitch, so we thought better safe than sorry. Tardebigge doesn't seem so daunting today as the weather is cooler and set to stay that way all week - we'll cope! However, if anyone reading this feels like coming and lending a hand, feel free!!

Adam - you and Adrian could always take a day off and come and help out!!! :-)

Lesley – dodged that one – didn’t you!!! xxx

Karen & Ian – I know we were close, but as I said, better safe than sorry – and I never said you were mad,  just brave.  And thanks so much for telling me how many locks to Stratford!!! xxx


We fancied a day off today to catch up with a few domestic jobs but didn’t much like where we were moored as it was quite overhung by trees so we decided to move on until we found a better spot.  Just under a mile later we were there – opposite the little hamlet of Oddingley.  The photo is of the view from the side hatch.  The church and the manor house are very old, dating from the twelfth century in the case of the church.


Monday, 27 June 2011

Change of plan…

This morning when we awoke, the boat had tipped alarmingly and the ropes were tight as a guitar string and pulling us over – the river had come up over a foot overnight!  It was now well into the amber and rising, so, not wanting to be caught and stuck if it went into the red, it was decided that we would leave the river at Diglis and go up the Worcs and Birmingham Canal to Kings Norton and do the Stratford Canal the other way around.  Another factor was that the Stratford on Avon Festival is on next weekend which is probably when we were due to arrive, and it is bound to be rammed.  I was looking forward to a week of not having to do locks and I can’t say I am thrilled at the prospect of doing Tardebigge, but I suppose we need to do it sometime!  The canal leaves Worcester through the arse-end of town, so not much worth photographing.   We stopped at the Viqueen, YellowPerilViking Aground, Viking Afloat hire base for diesel and by the time we had got out of Worcester and found somewhere half decent to moor, it was 3.30.  Now moored at Tibberton.  The weather has been mostly hot, cloudy and very humid, with a couple of showers of rain – not pleasant at all.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

SDC10849Blockhouse Lock

SDC10850Squeezed in amongst the Yellow Perils for diesel

6.7 miles and 16 locks

Sunday, 26 June 2011

River weather…

This morning we left Stourport and locked down the two staircase locks onto the River Severn.  We hadn’t been going long when the sun came out and it became very hot.  This is ‘river weather’ for Windsong – all the time last year we spent on the Thames the sun beat down, and again this year in April when we were on the Weaver, so ‘river weather’ has entered Windsong’s vocabulary!  We arrived at Lincomb Lock to find that there was a planned power outage, and their generator had broken down!  Three large cruisers and three narrowboats were waiting.  To add insult to injury for the gin-palaces, the locky could only open one gate manually so anything over 10 feet wide couldn’t get in!  Shame!!  Two narrowboats went in and down the lock ahead of us, and we jumped in front of the cruisers and joined the other waiting narrowboat for the next trip down.

We passed the entrance to the newly restored Droitwich Barge Canal, due to open next weekend.  Rumour has it that 60 plus boats are booked to travel up it over the weekend – it’s going to be busy, glad we are doing this stretch now.  We had a lovely trip down the river and are now moored in Worcester.

SDC10840Waiting for Lincomb Lock

SDC10841River weather – blue skies and blazing sun!

SDC10842The start of the Droitwich Barge Canal

SDC10846Our mooring in Worcester

SDC10843 Dragon racing training

SDC10848Worcester Racecourse, just up the bank from our mooring

12 miles and 7 locks


We entered Stourport yesterday morning in a very strong wind, watered and then managed to secure a mooring at the end of the basin, in front of The Tontine, which we think used to be an hotel and is now being converted into apartments and town houses.  Just over from us was moored Beacon’s No 11 boat, Fruit of the Vine, but nobody was on board. We met up with Lesley and Joe from nb Caxton (and yes, Lesley, I have read your comments on your blog !!) who are moored there for a few months while their new boat is being built nearby.  Lunch was had in the Hollybush and a good old natter and catch-up.  Rog and Joe then went up the High Street to buy incontinence pads (no, not for me!) to soak up our diesel leak and Lesley and I set off an a hike to take Cassie, Fletcher and Floyd (their two black labs)for a walk.  Well, it was a hike for me, but a mere stroll in the park for Lesley who has been known to walk 12 miles and more in a day!  Up hill and down dale we went up on the common in Stourport.  I had to have a sit down and a cuppa when we returned, but Lesley went on to cut the grass around their mooring – that girl has more energy than she can use up in a day!  We later went out for a curry and yet more nattering and a good time was had by all.

SDC10830nb Fruit of the Vine

SDC10835Our mooring

SDC10833The basin by night

1.5 miles and 1 lock

Friday, 24 June 2011

Cookley to Bullocks Lane…

The sun was shining brightly this morning when we got up, but as soon as we put on our boots ready to set off, the clouds rolled in again, and that is how it has been most of the day – cloudy and humid with the occasional short spell of sunshine.  We stopped at Sainsbury’s in Kidderminster to top up the shopping as we don’t know when we will be able to do a decent shop again.  After I had put the shopping away and left to prep the lock, Rog had a visitor, Irene from nb Free Spirit, a fellow blogger.  They sent us a message last night to say they were only a mile or so in front of us.  Sorry I missed you, hopefully we will meet again in Stourport.  We are now moored near Bullocks Lane Bridge, just short of Stourport.  We want to go down onto the Severn and moor there, so we thought it best to wait until tomorrow morning.

DSCF0046In Debdale Lock, overshadowed by a sandstone cliff

SDC10821Awaiting entry to Kidderminster Lock – this is the view one way…

SDC10820And this is the view the other way!  What a contrast!



SDC10824                  SDC10825

 SDC10826   The above are all part of a mural underneath the bridge which carries the traffic in the earlier photo – showing boys through the years, starting in the 1920s and ending at the present day – and very good they are too!

SDC10827One of the old carpet factories, now home to Debenham Design

SDC10828Caldwell Lock

6.1 miles and 6 locks


I’m having problems today answering comments on the blog, usually when signed in it automatically selects my profile for me, but it won’t even let me do anything today!  So if you’ve commented, I’m not ignoring you, honest, I’ll catch up with the comments when it sorts itself out!!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Stewponey to Cookley…

Another uneventful journey today.  The Staffs and Worcs is very pretty along this stretch, with locks in some lovely settings, not much in the way of views though, as it is very overhung by trees or bordered by rocky cliffs for most of the way.  Moored now at Cookley, as to go further would take us into Kidderminster.  We will probably take advantage of the canal-side Sainsbury’s tomorrow.

SDC10810Meadows, backed by confer plantations near Dunsley Hall

SDC10811Hyde Lock

SDC10813Whittington Lock

SDC10815Stone post marking the county boundary between Staffordshire and Worcestershire.  It was unveiled in 1999, and we last passed this way on the day of the unveiling – so it’s 12 years since we were down this way.



SDC10818Austcliff – passing very close to the rock wall

4.4 miles and 4 locks

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Fancy seeing you here!…

Today was a day of meetings – not bloggers, but people we have met along the way.

We stopped at Greensforge Lock services to ‘do the necessary’ and were just filling with water when a familiar looking boat drew up behind us.  It was nb ‘Plan B’, who’s owners, Peter and Diane, we first met at Crick when we were deciding who to ask to build Windsong.  Plan B was built by Heartwood, who were our chosen builders at the time, and we were shown round her so we could see a boat that was a couple of years old.  As most of our readers will know, we didn’t go with Heartwood in the end we chose Beacon Boats instead although we did keep in touch with Heartwood.  We then met Peter and Diane again in the winter of 2009 as they were moored at Pilings.  We had a catch-up while they were watering.  They are going the same way as us so we may meet up again.

We started looking for a mooring spot early on today. The Staffs and Worcs is very overgrown and overshadowed by trees, and we needed an open spot to get a telly signal tonight as we didn’t want to miss ’The Apprentice’. We stopped about 12.30 just between Stourton Junction and Stewponey Lock. We went for a little walk up a few locks on the Stourbridge Canal, and there we met our next set of acquaintances – Nigel and Lorna on nb Goosander, whom we met in Manchester earlier this year and again a couple of time since. We helped them down a few locks, nattering all the way, but they had to continue on to Kinver for an appointment with Wilson’s about some seat covers. We will hopefully catch up with them tomorrow.


SDC10796Peter and Diane, and nb Plan B

SDC10797Spotted hidden behind trees at Greensforge Lock – an old warehouse or a pumping station? Anyone know?

SDC10799Very overgrown – BW could do with getting the vegetation cut back

SDC10801Stourton Junction

SDC10802Lorna and nb Goosander

SDC10804Tiny little arm, tucked away behind the first lock on the Stourbridge Canal, at the bottom of someone’s garden – what a lovely peaceful mooring that must be

SDC10805Circular spill weir, all the locks hereabouts have them


SDC10807The old Toll House – used to be a canal crafts and gift shop, now sadly empty

SDC10808Stewponey Wharf

4.3 miles and 4 locks