Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A Long Day…..

But a good one. It was bright and sunny this morning as predicted, but my it was cold first thing!

Frosty Morning

R’n’R’s weather station was showing -4° this morning.

Carol and George passed us at around 09:30, and we followed on about ½ an hour later.

Our first lock of the day was 1½ miles away, but first we had to negotiate the tight left hand bend below the frowning bulk of Austcliffe.

Austcliffe Bridge, red brick, wide and low like most on this canal.

Under Austcliffe.

It must have been interesting if two working pairs met here….

The first lock of the day, Debdale.

It’s got a recently renovated lock house alongside, and an interesting room cut into the rock on the offside. A storeroom, maybe?

That sandstone ridge is still squeezing us towards the River Stour, and we duck under a bit of it, through the 65 yard long Cookley Tunnel.

Cookley Tunnel

The village’s main street sits astride the canal, on top of the ridge.

The village of Wolverley is just over a mile further on. Small it may be, but it has a very ornate church, standing proud on an outcrop of the red sandstone.

Wolverley Church from the canal.

As I filled Wolverley Lock I spotted a large log, partly submerged, near the top gates. (George had already rang to tell me about it, but I’d left the phone inside).

That wasn’t going to escape, so I slung a rope under it and hauled it out onto the lockside.

Captain’s Log

I stopped emptying the lock with Seyella half-way down so I could roll it onto the roof. It was too heavy to lift it up.

Waiting for the attentions of the saw…..

Leaving Wolverley, Kidderminster starts to make it’s presence felt, with light industry and new housing along the canal. We caught up with R’n’R outside Sainsbury’s, and Carol and Mags did a bit of shopping while George and I sat on R’n’R’s deck with the hounds in the warm sunshine. Then we made a quick visit to Maplins, just across from the supermarket. I was successful, getting a printer lead, but George couldn't get an antenna adaptor for his new wireless dongle.

Around 1 we set off again, just around the corner was Kidderminster Lock, but here we hit a snag. One of the ground paddle rods had been bent, preventing the closure of the sluice and effectively rendering the lock inoperable. A BW crew was in attendance, and we had just over an hour to wait before they’d got it fixed.

Grunts, curses and a big hammer…

Still, we had a very picturesque spot to wait in.

St. Mary and All Saints looms over our temporary mooring.

With time now getting on, we didn’t hang about through the town, following R’n’R’s wake down through Kidderminster, Caldwell and Falling Sands Locks, taking us back out of the built up area.

Pratt's Wharf, below Falling Sands, used to have a short branch canal with a lock dropping down to the River Stour.

Pratt's Wharf Bridge

The river is on the left (east) now. We crossed it at Kidderminster Lock. The river was made navigable from Pratts Wharf to a large ironworks at Wilden, about a mile downstream. Very little remains of the lock chamber and navigable channel.

We pulled over after what seems like a long day, just above Bullocks Bridge, about 1¼ miles from Stourport. It would have been dusk by the time we’d reached the town, watered both boats and found moorings. Tomorrow, as they say, is another day.

Locks 6, miles 8

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