Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Back to where it all began.

We've had a lovely few days travelling down the Staffs & Worcs. There have been plenty of boats out  and about and the weather has been pretty kind to us.

We travelled through Gailey on Sunday morning and onto the summit pound. We soon found ourselves travelling through the chemical works which had plenty of new looking signs prohibiting mooring adjacent to the site. Was it because of Health & Safety, instances of vandalism and theft or are narrowboaters the latest threat to national security ?? 

Turning right at Hatherton Junction, we soon passed nb Tycho, an ice breaker originally built by WJ Yarwood & Sons. 

We are soon at Pendeford Rockin, a narrow channel hewn through a seam of sandstone. Luckily there are a few passing places as we met an oncoming boat towards the far end and tucked ourselves in to allow it to pass.

We spent the night out in the country alongside Dimmingsdale Reservoir. We were passed by John Jacksons coal boat nb Roach, loaded to the gunwales with solid fuels and looking and sounding magnificent.

We were away quite early on Monday as we had a rendezvous arranged for dinner. We arrived at Bratch Locks behind another boat, but we were both allowed to pass through straight away. The lock keeper on duty happened to be a fellow retired cop, so he appreciated our boat name straight away. The top gate of the middle lock had been damaged over the weekend whilst there wasn't a lock keeper on duty and was now leaking very badly. In fact a 70' boat would have had 'fun' due to the amount of water pouring in. The lock keeper thought that if it got any worse the flight would have to be closed.
Bratch Top Lock 
The stretch down to Kinver is very enjoyable with the locks coming at regular intervals. The cottage at Hyde Lock is particularly quaint. The front 'gate' has been very tastefully replaced by lock gates and paddle gear.

We moored at Kinver just as the heavens opened. Our friends Christine & Alan on nb Tickety Boo arrived an hour later from Stourport, looking rather wet. Having dried off, they came aboard for drinks along with their lovely new dog, Cameo, who Jasper took an instant liking too !! We then adjourned to The Vine pub for dinner, which was most plentiful and then back to Tickety Boo for coffee. A most enjoyable evening which was a mini celebration as they had received the all clear from their surveyor on a house in Evesham.

We said our goodbyes this morning to Christine, Alan and Cameo. The stretch between Kinver and Kidderminster is probably our favourite stretch of canal. It holds a lot of memories as it was part of our first ever canal experience when we hired a yellow peril from Viking Afloat in Worcester some ten years ago. Some of the properties along here are stunning and the sandstone cliffs are spectacular.

Whittington Lock
We stopped at Kidderminster for a quick visit to Sainsburys, located very handily next to the towpath. The church at Kidderminster has formed the back drop to many photos in its time, to which we added today.

There has been a lot of regeneration since our first visit here in 2005, but sadly today the area alongside the canal is clearly a haven for the local drug dealers who blatantly ply their trade.

Once out for Kidderminster the scenery is once more picturesque again. We passed under the Severn Valley Railway hoping to catch a glimpse of a steam train, but sadly not today.

We have moored above Stourport tonight and will head down onto the river tomorrow. 


  1. I love that canal. It is my current favourite. Did you stop and have those great burgers at the pub almost cut into the cliffs on the canal side at a lock called........ bugger I can't remember, but it was great there.
    Lisa xx