Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Stratford 2011 - Birmingham to Kingswood Junction

Stratford 2011
Birmingham to Kingswood Junction
15 May 2011

17 miles - 19 locks - 10 hours

Its good to have a private mooring on tap in central Birmingham, and its lovely to see Nick and Victoria as we pass through. Thanks guys.

Indigo Dream

After my excess of red wine it was a fitful night and we finally ground into action at 9.00am, but we didn't go far. No sooner had we started than we stopped outside the ICC and I legged it up Broad St to the Sainsburys Local store for a range of supplies to satisfy Belle's new foraging initiative.

The next start was no more successful. Nick had warned us of the vicious wind funnel beside the Cube but did I listen? Did I heck. I rounded the corner hugging the right hand side and bam! - the wind slammed into us and even powering along the boat crabbed at about 30 degrees and I missed rattling a sleeping Alvechurch boat by inches.

The Steaming Spires of Birmingham University

There is a new feature on the Worcester Birmingham - the Selly Oak Aqueduct. This new structure offers fine views over the university with its dreaming chimneys (not quite the same  ring as the dreaming spires of Oxford - but then this is Birmingham). 

Brandwood Tunnel is a known trouble spot for stone throwing kids and we were warned of inbound attacks as we approached. I saw then scramble behind a wall and decided to play cat and mouse, so I stopped in mid channel out of range and waited. Eventually they emerged to see what was happening and found themselves looking down my telescopic camera lens. That was enough for them - they scuttled away into the trees and I zipped into the tunnel without incident - result!

Communal lunch - bloggers of the world unite

Half an hour further on at Warstock, we passed a boat and as we came level we simultaneously recognised each other - it was Richard and Sue with Indigo Dream en route to the BCN Challenge. We have been following each others blogs for years and corresponding through the comments pages but had never actually met. Too good an opportunity to miss, so we moored up there and then and shared an impromptu lunch. Its times like this when I really love blogging.

Spring Syrup

We hit the top of the Lapworth flight at 5.00pm, the time when sane boaters are thinking about calling it a day. Not us, not this time. We pressed on, following 12th of Never, a share boat from Gailey and a very slow ABC hire boat. All the way down Belle was out and about foraging for this and that to make Spring Syrup: sugar infused with Blackthorn and Elderflower flowers - a surprisingly potent perfume! We were greatly relieved to see the other two boats pull over at the foot of the main flight leaving us free to press on to Lock 20, emerging at 8.00pm in need of a mooring. These may be few and far between in Lapworth, but there are plenty out on the Grand Union - away from the railway track too.

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