|This Month's Totals and Average
After rain overnight, morning broke with sun and no wind - lovely day. On the move by 09:30, heading for Saindbury's. Unfortunately, no moorings at the shop so decided to take a mooring at Baker's Quay and walk into the shopping centre for coffee.
Returning from coffee, Pat wrote the cards she had purchased and popped back off again to post them. We then elected to have a slightly early lunch before moving again.
After lunch, we let go again and returned towards Sainsbury's. The berth was still full so we stopped at the pontoon immediately east of High Orchard Bridge and walked round to do the shopping.
We had intended to head back to Quedgeley after the shopping, but the admiral decided we would stay put overnight, do some washing in the afternoon, and service tomorrow morning before departure. The sun had disappeared and a slight breeze picked up (forecast for possible thunderstorms later).
Up promptly, intending to get going. Unfortunately, it turned into one of those mornings where one is constantly tripping over oneself! Finally on the move late morning, and moved ahead, through the junction swingbridge to the services point, where we got soaked with rain. The visitor moorings at the junction were again full. Having serviced, we headed back through the bridge and back to Quedgeley (with lunch on the move), mooring at the better berth this time although it also was busy. Quiet afternoon apart from some chores.
Once again, the wind had picked up again by breakfast. Leisurely start to the day, then went for a walk along to the junction. We were disappointed to find that the Cotswold Canals Restoration Trust information centre is only open Sat, Sun, Mon (we may try to come back later in the trip). Noted that all moorings were fully taken up so, although car parking is good, it may not be a good place to arrange to pick up our friends (without a potentially long walk). Went for lunch at The Stables . Walked off the lunch returning to "Paws" for a quiet afternoon.
Another lazy start. Pottered while the rain showers were about, but planned to move once fair. Clear by lunchtime so got on the move. Took a leisurely run southwestwards, passing under Rea and Sellar's swingbridges (both high enough not to require operating), and Parkend (which required swung). We noted several places where we could moor if needed (we seem to remember having problems on our trip here in 2015). Approaching Saul Junction, we saw that it appeared busy so, not wanting to get caught without a mooring, we moored short of the junction - not ideal but possible (vegetation a little tall). The strong breeze continued throughout the day, but eased during the evening.
Although the wind dropped overnight, it picked up again after breakfast. Occasional light showers. Quiet day apart from a few necessary chores. 'Crafts' afternoon - knitting for Pat, while I built a belated birthday present from Pat (Lego!). Kept an eye out towards the vegetation opposite as we found that there must be a kingfisher nest - a lot of coming and going of 2 parents with food.
Very heavy rain overnight, but it had cleared to occasional showers by morning. Wind was still strong. Leisurely rise, then I went to collect my parcel while Pat finished getting ready. Moved off mid-morning and passed under Llanthony Bridge (all bridges on this canal are CRT operated), then immediately pulled in at the services berth.
Having finished, we let go and moved ahead, under the High Orchard Bridge, and immediately right onto the mooring at Sainsbury's. Did the necessary shopping, then had lunch aboard.
Let go after lunch for the short run round to Quedgeley. Passed through Hempsted Road, Nethridge and Sim's swing bridges, then moored for the afternoon. After mooring, we found it was not our intended mooring, but it was still suitable. Managed to get chains behind the angle-girder attached to the pilings, so safe.
Had a few very heavy showers during the day, but we were conveniently inside at the time . The wind remained strong throughout.
Slept in! Busy getting breakfast when we got a phonecall from Fhi in Italy - poor signal for past few days so wanted a catch-up . Pottered for the rest of the morning.
Went for a walk in the afternoon, round the dock and to the Quayside Retail Outlet. Coincidently happened to 'bump into' Rachel, so we're to get in contact by phone tomorrow.
A mixed bag of weather - increased wind, heavier cloud with some sun, no actual rain although it threatened it.
An earlier than usual start, today - long day ahead. Off the berth by 08:15 and headed to Diglis Lock. Sunny start to day. Descended, and continued the river journey south. No improvement on the scenery, unfortunately. Passed Upton, the mooring very quiet today, and the junction with the River Avon at Tewkesbury, before descending Upper Lode Lock onto the semi-tidal Severn (it becomes tidal if the tide goes above 7.6m at Sharpness). Lunch on the move. Cloud had built by lunchtime, and there were a few spots of light rain. Continued on again for Gloucester Lock. Noted more wildlife here - kingfisher, egret, great crested grebe, cormorant, a (possible) mink swimming across the river. Also heard a cuckoo. The River Severn splits just north of Gloucester, with only one channel navigable.
Arriving at Gloucester, we ascended into the basin and moored immediately next to the lock on a pontoon. Very tired, we settled in for the remainder of the afternoon.
Up promptly and prepared "Paws" for getting on the move, and for river work. Took fuel, although not low, so that we would definitely not have to look for it on Gloucester & Sharpness. Let go and moved across to clear the services, then set off through the basins and descended the 4 narrow locks (2 staircases, each of 2 locks) out onto the river, headed south.
Not a lot of flow on the river, but we made good time. Countryside view rather boring as all one can see are the high banks with trees. Spotted our first kingfisher for the season. Descended Lincolme , Holt and Bevere Locks (electric, and manned by staff). Finally arrived in the outskirts of Worcester, passing the racecourse (there was a meeting on) and the Cathedral. Managed to squeeze into a space on the preferred pontoon just south of the junction for the night.
Another very hot day, and we were glad to get moored up, and inside with in the shade.
Slept very well, with another long lie. Took our time getting going, and went for a walk through town. Had brunch at Mimi's (bistro & bar at the Swan Hotel) - excellent as always. Did a small amount of shopping on the way back. No lunch required today .
Quiet afternoon making shorter-term plans for the next few days - hope to meet up with Rachel & Phil (friends from the e-coffee at All Saints), then on for a period of genealogy research in the Frampton area.
Up and on the move promptly on a warm sunny morning. Moved forward to Wolverley Lock and descended, then continued down Wolverley Court Lock and into Kidderminster. Moored outside Sainsbury, and went for a major storing. On return, we had lunch before moving on.
Moved forward to Kidderminster Lock, descended and continued through the town, noting "Ursinity" moored outsidde Tesco, but no sign of Derek & Ann. Caldwell and Falling Sands Locks follow at about 20 mins each. Just before Bullocks Lane Bridge (9), we came across "Hope", moored for the day charging batteries in the sun. Had a longer chat with James & Emma (we look forward to having coffee in Stourport tomorrow), before continuing the longer run into Stourport. Descended York Street Lock into the basin and cleared the loo at the services point before mooring up at our paid pontoon at the marina (£15 per night including electricity and water). Once settled in, took water and had a late dinner, shattered after the hot weather again.
Slept soundly Thursday night, then long lie Friday morning. Very lazy day. Had a chat with Derek & Ann on "Ursinity" as they passed, headed for Stourport. Poor internet, so sat and read books for most of the day, chatting to walkers on the towpath. Rang Limekiln Chandlery at Stourport and obtained a berth for Mon/Tue.
The forecast rain arrived on time Saturday morning, and lasted well into the night. Another quiet day, but Pat did some baking (bread).
Another quiet day Sunday. Although the rain had actually cleared, we elected to stay over another day. One or two necessary chores. "Hope", the boat moored ahead of us for the past 3 days, moved off - in a brief chat as they left, it transpired they had become BCF members over the phone the previous day (unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to exchange names - hopefully we'll meet up again somewhere.
After a good night's sleep, I was feeling fit again. Leisurely start, getting away mid-morning. Steph & Phil walked down to the locks and assisted us through - our grateful thanks (and happy birthday to Steph). Descended the 4 locks in record time to Stourton Junction, turning left onto the Staffs & Worcs Canal. The scenery changes to a treed avenue between large estates and farms, with locks coming singly between 15 mins and 1 hour. Descended Stewponey and Hyde Locks (the paddles on Hyde Lock were so stiff we could only lift then about 1/3 - reported to CRT), then stopped above Kinver Lock for the usual services.
On the move again, descended Kinver, Whittington and Debdale Locks and moored up before Wolverley Lock mid-afternoon. We had an 'incident' leaving Kinver Lock - a bottle (we think balanced on the bridge parapet) landed on the roof, shattering and spreading glass and beer all over the roof and side. The sun was blazing down, and we were glad to get into some shade (and ice cream from the tearoom at the lock). Swept up the glass and washed down to metalwork once it got cooler.
With the forecast of rain over Saturday and Sunday, we elected to stay put here over the weekend and move again on Monday.
The mooring last night wasn't too bad - there was low footfall and cyclist traffic during the evening (we seemed a novelty to those who passed), although there was one socially-challenged youth who rode his trail-bike past 3 times! The factories shut down around 18:00, but started just after 06:00, and left their vent fans on overnight. It wasn't the quietest mooring we've been to, but it was quieter than the centre of Birmingham.
Up early to attack the Stourbridge Flight (16 Locks). Left the mooring and moved the short distance to Leys Junction, then continued downhill (no Volunteers on this flight), Pat still driving. A very hot day, but we were making good time despite all the locks being against us. A dog-walker with a windlass joined us around Lock 10 and went ahead setting locks for us.
Clearing Bottom Lock, we had lunch on the move as we moved into more wooded scenery, but I must have got a touch of sunstroke and felt faint so Pat did an emergency stop above the Stourton Flight and moored with the assistance of Phil & Steph from (I got inside in the shade!).
Although I felt better later in the afternoon, we decided to stay put for the night. Had a long chat with Steph & Phil.
Mostly cloudy, but bright, this morning. "Esme" was once again on the move before we were up. As a result of our chat with Sheila, and the texted news last night, we have decided to explore a new (for us) short section of canal - the Fens Branch - today, then go straight to Stourton tomorrow.
Leaving Merryhill, we moved the short distance round the corner, to the top of the Delph Flight (originally cut (1779) as 9 locks, but rebuilt in 1858 as 8). We descended the flight in record time with the assistance of a Volunteer, leaving the flight, and the Dudley Canal, at Black Delph. Continuing onto the Stourbridge Canal, we headed between more-modern houses and older factories for the 40 minutes to Leys Junction.
Our new adventure begins......
Turning right, we steamed slowly up the navigable part of the Fens Branch as far as Brockmoor Junction. The branch was cut as a navigable feeder from the Fens Pools but is now effectively un-navigable above Brockmoor; the Stourbridge Extension Canal leaving at Brockmoor is derelict. We managed to wind (turn round) at the Junction and moored up for the day just north of Leys Junction. [Brockmoor Junction is an IWA Silver Propeller Challenge location]
Lovely sunny morning, but not too hot. "Esme" departed as we were having breakfast. We took our time getting on the move but, by mid-morning, we were headed westwards on the Dudley No.2 Canal. I feel this section of canal can't make up its mind whether it is derelict industrial or suburban scrubland - there are still the reminders of its past, but it is starting to have a semi-'natural' look. As we passed Brewin's Tunnel (the tunnel was demolished to a cutting), we noted Pat & Sheila on "Fair Fa'" so had a short stop for a catch-up since we met on the Ouse. Noting the end of the old "Two-Lock" shortcut at Blackbrook Junction , we continued to Blowers' Green and Parkhead Junction where we stopped for services (there are services at Merryhill, but these are easier used).
Once finished, we joined the Dudley No.1 Canal at Parkhead Junction, heading south, descending Parkhead Bottom Lock (north goes up three locks to the Dudley Tunnel). Continuing on to Merryhill, noting the other end of the (derelict) "Two-Lock line", we moored behind "Esme" on the embankment above the shopping centre.
We received a text during the evening from our friends in Stourbridge to say that they would, unfortunately, be unable to meet up as we pass. We will, therefore, not be diverting along the Town Arm but heading straight towards Gloucester.
Slept in, then had a very lazy day. One or two essential chores. Hire-boat "Esme" joined us just before lunch, and we had a long chat with Rog & Viv. Sunny with occasional cloudy spells throught.
Quite a disturbed night, unfortunately - our neighbours came back from the pub at 23:00 and ran their engine for an hour, then socially-challenged youths were shouting around the area at 02:30. Oh well, happens occasionally . Hopefully quieter night tonight at Bumble Hole Nature Reserve.
Up usual time and prepared to move. Pat took a walk to the local shop for essentials (after falling asleep yesterday afternoon). I moved off the mooring, allowing hire-boat "Esme" to get alongside, and took "Paws" to the services berth at Cambrian Wharf. Did the needfuls, and Pat rejoined me there.
On the move (proper) for the day, spun "Paws" round in the basin, and headed along the New Main Line. Turned right and headed westwards.
A day of changes of canal name - 7 different canals under their old original names. The Brindley Place mooring is on a loop of The Birmingham Canal (now known as Oozells Street Loop) with its original terminus at Old Turn (the "roundabout"). Between there and Cambrian Wharf is part of the Newhall Branch (whose terminus was over where Snow Hill station now sits). The Birmingham Canal used to run westwards from Old Turn in several twists, straightened during its history forming Loops (Oozells Street, Icknield Port, Soho, Cape etc), some are navigable, others now derelict. We took the straightened route. As we passed, we noted the Boulton & Watt Foundry , with its canal dock entrance. At Smethwick Junction, The Birmingham Canal bent right and rose through 3 three locks - this is now known as the Old Main Line - we continued ahead onto the Smethwick Bypass. From the Old Main Line (at the higher level), the Wednesbury Old Canal dropped through 3 locks returning it to the lower level and meeting the Bypass at Bromford Junction. This continued to Pudding Green where the Wednesbury Old Canal veered right towards Walsall. Telford created a new Junction at Pudding Green and an "island" line straight to the bottom of Factory Locks at Tipton. We turned left off this line at Dudley Port Junction onto the Netherton Tunnel Branch, exiting onto the Dudley No.2 Canal at Windmill End, mooring at the grassy area opposite the Nature Reserve information point.
We only met one boat on the main line, and one in the tunnel - very quiet. A mostly sunny day, with occasional light showers. Quite breezy.
We both slept in after the two days locking (when out of practice ). Took a walk into the centre for shopping at the Bull Ring Market and St Martin's Market before returning to "Paws". On the way out, had a lovely chat with Steve & Caroline on "Emmaus" (they are from Australia, but moor the boat in Droitwich).
I took a walk across to the CRT Welcome Station in the afternoon. Pat had intended to go to the local Sainsbury's but ended up falling asleep in the chair.
Walked up to Zizzi's for our delayed dinner from yesterday. Great food as usual.
Still no phonecall this morning from our friends in Solihull, so we continue with the next part of our cruise - heading out the south of Birmingham for Stourbridge.
Up and on the move promptly, but the single-hander ahead of us was on the move first. We turned "Paws" at the winding hole and returned to Aston Junction, turning left and attacking the Farmer's Bridge Flight (13 Locks). We caught up with the single-hander at the 1st lock. Having ascended, he pulled over and let us go ahead - in return, we drew a paddle as we left each lock to assist him. All the locks were against us at this stage. We finally met a boat coming down at Lock 8 so the remainder were with us (apart from the inevitable leakage to drain at most locks). We found the paddle-gear stiffer than we had ever found in the past. Clearing Top Lock, we pulled in for services at Cambrian Wharf before heading across to our preferred mooring at Brindley Place. The morning had begun bright and sunny, but had clouded over and slight rain started by the time we had moored up.
Had intended to go out to Zizzi's for dinner, but when we attempted to book, they had no spaces early evening. Dinner aboard, and a booking placed for tomorrow.
A windier morning, today, but without the overnight rain forecast. Having not received a phone response from our friends in Solihull, we have to assume they are away. Rather than ascend the Garrison Flight, we are hedging our bets and going up the Aston Flight, (still leaving the opportunity to descend Ashted if they ring today).
Prompt start, heading west through Curdworth village and Minworth, ascending the three spaced-out locks. Lunch on the move after Minworth Top, the scenery becoming more industrial/urban all the time as we passed the suburbs of Tyburn, Erdington and Bromford. At Salford Junction (underneath Spaghetti Junction on the road), we turned 2nd-left and started up the Aston Flight (11 Locks). After meeting other boats coming down at Locks 9 and 8, the remainder of the flight were in our favour (apart from removing a small amount of leakage). At the top (bottom of the Farmer's Bridge Flight), we turned left onto the Digbeth Branch and moored by the winding hole (facing down the Ashted Flight in case we get a phonecall this evening).
Apart froma a couple of very light showers, it was mostly sunny for the day, but not too hot for locking. Just after we had moored for the night, however, there was a heavy shower - we would have been soaked if still working!
Beautiful sunny morning. Generally pottered until coffee-time, then logged into the on-line coffee get-together hosted by All Saints Church, Doncaster. Great to catch up again with our friends at the church, although sorry to hear that Stephen is still unwell with no diagnosis yet.
Once we signed off, we had a quick lunch, said goodbye to Steve & Julie as they left, then let go and started the climb into Birmingham with the Curdworth Flight (11 locks). A slightly slower passage today as Pat wanted to practice (again) at her driving. All the locks bar 2 were against us (and those were down because of leaks on the lower gates/paddles). Noted the great blot on the landscape as the works for HS2 progress.
Cloud slowly built over the afternoon, but it grew muggy instead of cooling (forecast is for rain overnight).
Pottered for the morning, Pat took a walk to the local shops. Just before lunch, let go, moved forward to the Junction and winded, heading back out to Bonehill. Moored again just before Sutton Road Bridge and had lunch.
After lunch, I walked down to Ventura Retail Park again to collect the last part of my meds (they were in).
Arriving back aboard, we let go and I again reversed back to Bonehill winding hole and turned "Paws". Returned back to Fazeley Junction and turned right, stopping outside Fazeley Mill Marina for water, loo and rubbish. Once ready, we continued south as far as Kingsbury Water Park, mooring between the winding hole and Curdworth Bottom Lock. Had a lengthy chaat with Steve & Julie aboard shared ownership boat "Warwick"
A generally overcast day, the early dampness slowly clearing.
Heavy rain set in overnight, but had eased a little by breakfast. I took a brisk walk up to St Paul's Church for the Pentecost service, followed by a 'picnic' lunch (for Jubilee) in the hall afterwards (they had intended it to be in the grounds but the weather diagreed). Returned to "Paws" mid-afternoon for a quiet evening.
Up early on a cooler, dull morning with more wind. On the move promptly, returning to Fazeley in the hope that my script will arrive at the Post Office this morning (closed Thur/Fri due holiday, half-day today, then closed tomorrow). Reversed back to the marina entrance and winded before heading south again, returning through Whittington and Hopwas to Fazeley Junction. Moored at the Junction for a quick walk to the Post Office while watering. Surprisingly, the letter had arrived!
Finished watering and winded at the Junction, heading back out to Bonehill. Moored by Sutton Road Bridge.
After a bite of lunch, walked down to Ventura Retail Park for shopping and to get my meds dispensed. Tried both ASDA and Boots for the meds (ASDA were short on 4 items, Boots only short on 1 - to collect on Monday).
Arriving back at "Paws", I reversed back to Bonehill winding hole and turned, then headed back into Fazeley, mooring opposite Peel's Wharf for the night.
Beautiful sunshine for the 1st two days of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee holiday. Passing traffic even busier!
Had a couple of very lazy days. I did some tidying of data and a little background work on our family tree project, preparing for when we get down to Frampton.
In the middle of the afternoon on Thursday, we heard a tawny owl calling.
As the script for my meds would only be posted today, we decided to take a detour out to Kings Orchard for a couple of days. Full services would, however, be required before that. Let go and headed to the Junction, turning left. Dropped Pat on a raiding party for shopping. I stopped for a chat and catch-up with David & Mary ("Kew") as I passed, before going to Fazeley Mill Marina for fuel and gas, then moved outside to take water, clear the loo and dump rubbish. Pat rejoined me at the marina.
Once ready, we set off again, back to the Junction, turning left towards Fradley. Headed out past the farm at Dunstall (the new housing estate is coming on slowly), through Hopwas (the moorings at the village were very quiet, although the pubs were busy)and past the farms at Tamhorn and Hademoor to Whittington. On again past Huddlesford Junction and "The Plough" inn (very busy), mooring up on the north side of Kings Orchard Marina. This mooring filled completely up during the afternoon. Noted extensive groundworks between the canal and the A38 - suspect this may be from HS2 work; if so, this mooring may become degraded by noise pollution.
Quite a mixture of weather, today - sunny at times, with scattered light showers. Traffic very busy in both directions.