Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Gas St to Stoke Prior

Gas St to Stoke Prior
Worcester Birmingham
Sunday 30th May 2010

16 miles - 30 locks - 8 hours

We left a sleeping Birmingham at 7.30am after a surprisingly quiet night, creeping past towering flats and the partly occupied Cube. Then it was out to the site of the new aqueduct at Selly Oak with an alarming wiggle in the canal.

Flats at Sherborne Wharf

Mt Truth cooked up one of his legendry breakfasts at Bourneville, stoking us up for the forthcoming efforts at Tardebigge hill just down the cut. But  before we got there we passed through the Wast Hill Tunnel, which included no less that five oncoming hireboats who nervously hugged the wall an the face of our approach.

Tardebigge Locks

The Tardebigge's bark is worse than it's bite, with it's well spaced and easily operated locks yielding to our efforts and allowing a passage through in a creditable three hours. Along the way the sun came out and blessed us with a perfect summer afternoon.

Radio Tardebigge

Lock numbers

The Tardebigge clearly has a strange influence on it's inhabitants. Several are keen radio enthusiasts with small forests of ariels suspended above the lock cottages. One has to wonder if they spend their evenings talking to each other on the short wave.

Waterside wedding

We moored up opposite the Queens Head Inn which was hosting a wedding party, whilst at the same time remaining open for locals. This is an odd pub with aspitations. It was all very modernistic and the loos even contained individual cotton hand towels - a far cry from the spit and sawdust which usually accompanies the canals.

Queens Head Inn

At one point  the happy couple came down  the towpath to have some photos taken on a narrowboat which was pushed across the canal. The resulting spectacle made an interesting diversion from the fishing which was a dead loss.  The wedding party continued late into the night but I was dead to the world and oblivious to the noise.

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