Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rainy Stourport

There were some keen boaters around this morning. By the time we moved off at just before 9, no less than 5 boats had already gone by, heading down to Stourport. I think they’d seen the same weather forecast as us, rain moving in in the afternoon. It wasn’t wrong, either!

Shortly after we got off we passed from Staffordshire to Worcestershire, marked by a boundary post erected by the canal society.

Boundary Marker.
That ridge of red sandstone makes it’s presence felt again at Austcliff, ominously overhanging the navigation on a sharp left bend.

The first lock encountered was another couple of miles further on, and the convoy of 5 had all gone down bar one, so we only had a short wait. There were three waiting to come up though.The lock cottage has been empty for some time. It’s good to see that it’s finally getting refurbished.

Debdale Lock Cottage.
The canal continues to wind down along the Stour valley, through Cookley Tunnel with the village perched on the top…..

Cookley Tunnel

And on down to Wolverley.

Wolverley Lock
At Wolverley Lock there’s a big pub, The Navigation, and on the opposite side The Old Smithy is a tea rooms, right alongside the lock landing. The smell of bacon butties made my taste buds go into overdrive, but I resisted the temptation.

You can't keep a good tree down....
Another lock and the outskirts of Kidderminster are introduced by a rash of new houses.

New developments flank the canal

We pulled over near Bridge 17 for a quick trip to the handy Sainsburys, then round the corner to Kidderminster Lock, in the shadow of St Mary and All Angels.

Approaching Kidderminster Lock.
Leaving the lock under the main road is not quite so edifying….

The canal leaves the town behind at Caldwall Lock, then reaches Falling Sands Lock ½ a mile later. This lock is named for the loose ridge on the west bank, and used to have a lock house, no trace of which remains. It still has it’s narrow cast iron tail bridge though, with a slot through which the tow rope could pass.

Falling Sands Lock
It was here that the rain came on, and has been pretty well continuous since.
There used to be ironworks along the length of the canal, now remembered only in place names. Greensforge and Wolverley Forge Bridge are examples.
There used to be a large foundry down in the river valley at Wilden. It’s now an industrial estate. It used to be accessed from the canal under this towpath bridge at Pratt’s Wharf, down a now derelict lock.

Pratt’s Wharf.
The rain came on quite heavily as we came into Stourport, so the camera stayed under cover. We moored above the deep York Street Lock at around 14:30, on our own at first, but there’re are several boats here now.
We’ll see what the weather does tomorrow before making a decision about dropping down to the river. After a couple of long days we might just be due a day off….

If you’re up on the Leeds and Liverpool and heading west you’d better get a move on…..

From BW -
Lock 30 Holme Bridge Lock Gargrave to Lock 85 Railway Lock Wigan

Monday 2 August 2010 until further notice

Due to a prolonged period of dry weather, we will no longer be able to sustain the supply of water to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. As such, the canal will close on 2 August 2010 from Lock 30 (Gargrave) to Lock 85 (Railway Lock) on the Wigan Flight and navigation will not be possible along this stretch of the canal.
This is in order to protect the integrity of the canal and reservoirs and safeguard the aquatic habitat.

All flights will be locked West of Holme Bridge Lock (30) and East of Railway Lock (85) Wigan will be padlocked and stop planks will be installed at the top of each flight from 2 August 2010.

Please be advised that the current restrictions on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal will remain in place for the remainder of the canal.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated of any significant changes as and when they occur.
Please be advised that pounds will naturally drain once the feed from the reservoirs is no longer in place.
We advise caution when accessing your boat during periods of low water and that you regularly monitor and adjust your mooring ropes.

Please follow instructions of BW staff at all times.

An update will be issued on Monday 9th August 2010.

British Waterways apologises for any inconvenience this may cause.

Enquiries: 01942 405700

I guess the fishermen will be pleased.....Roll

Oh, and Steve. Just Heaven looked fine.

Locks 7, miles 9¼

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